By Samuel Baid
AT the time of writing this article, Arab Muslim country Kuwait allowed women to enlist in military’s combat roles. The Kuwait Armed Forces tweeted “The time has come for Kuwaiti women to be given the opportunity to enter the Kuwaiti military side by side with their brothers”.
This is one example of how the Arab Muslim countries are racing towards progress and modernization taking their women along as equal partners with men. Muslim world’s leader Saudi Arabia is leading in this race without compromising on Islamic principles or violating Sharia.
There are no accusations against Muslim countries who encourage their girls’ and women’s participation in public and social life, sports, education and culture. Their enlightened balance between progress and faith is the demand of the time. As against this forward race in the Muslim world, the Taliban in captive Afghanistan are terrorizing the people on the point of gun to race backwards for what they claim glory of Sharia.
As against the impression, they had created at the peace talks with the United States in Qatar’s capital Doha in 2019-20, the Taliban remained as brute and savage when they captured Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, as they were during their un-mandated control of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, women and girls were their worst victims.
Women were divested of their jobs and consequently of their bread and butter and girls were told not to go to schools. Dawn’s monthly magazine “Herald” revealed in an investigative story that widows so rendered jobless and pennyles had to feed their children. A Taliban fiat wouldn’t let women stir out of the house without a male escort. But where there was no male in the house. The hunger of children forced these women to put on beggars’ garb to go out to earn by prostitution.
One trait of the Taliban which was hardly noticed by the international community during 1996-2001 was their facile way of telling lies while parroting Sharia. Two main promises made by the Taliban at the peace meeting with the US representatives in Doha were about inclusive government and the right of girls and women. Installation of exclusively Taliban male government was not at all the purpose of the Doha talks. Taliban bluffed the world into believing that they had become a gentle group.
However, on august 15, they killed the agreement on inclusive government by storming into Kabul like savage marauders who would not include any non-Taliban in the government. Since August 15, the Taliban have been pretending there was no agreement in which they committed themselves to an inclusive government in Afghanistan or to the rights of girls and women. They are not willing to loosen their grip over their exclusive government or compromise on their interpretation of Shaira-their mainstay-by treating girls and women as humans for the sake of recognition of their government – though recognition they must have.
More than the inclusive government the world is worried about the fate of women and girls after the Taliban captured Afghanistan. A month after barging into Kabul, Taliban Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akund issued a decree about women’s education and marriage. It ordered that all girls about 20 must get married and widows of Army men, if below 35, marry Taliban.
The decree tells parents to get their daughters married before they go to university. Also a male member must escort them to university. The decree creates an impression that the Taliban have in their scheme girls’ education upto the university level. But so far it seems the Taliban have no such plans. On the contrary, it seems to be their government’s agenda to stunt the mental and physical development of women and girls by keeping educated and trained women from their jobs and girls from schools and sports.
The Taliban, have banned sports for girls. In the past 20 years of freedom, girls had excelled in cricket, volleyball and football. Sports girls, who could not flee of Afghanistan, have burnt their bats and balls and are hiding from the Taliban. One of them was shot dead allegedly by a Talib. Vice President of Cultural commission Ahmedullah Wasiq said it was not necessary for girls to play.
The United Nations has condemned the Taliban’s breach of promise in respect of women and girls in Afghanistan. World’s media is full of this condemnation and is giving full publicity to Afghan women protests in and outside Afghanistan. Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani has condemned the Taliban’s moves on girls’ education as “very disappointing and step backwards”. He said at a Press conference in Doha on September 30 that Qatar “is a Muslim country, our system is an Islamic system (but) we have women outnumbering men in workforces, in government and in higher education”.
But such examples will not persuade the Taliban to compromise on their interpretation of Sharia of which demeaning women is a pillar. The Taliban can breakup if there is any compromise on this part of their Sharia. What keeps them together is their savage, negative attitude to life. Take away their savagery and negativity and there will be no Taliban and their Sharia. There will be no Taliban if you can divest them of anti-feminism.