At the 29th December meeting of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for a global campaign to unite the Islamic world against the Taliban in response to the ban on girls’ education. Although the Taliban provide a religious justification for the decision to the university education ban for women, the OIC Secretary-General has called the university education ban against Islamic Sharia.
With 57 member states, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the world’s second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations.
IOC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha slammed the Taliban for preventing the education of girls and women, and dismissing female faculty members “on the pretext that this contradicts Islamic law”, reported the OIC official Twitter feed.
He called on the academy to “quickly launch a global campaign to unite scholars and religious authorities in the Islamic world against the Taliban government’s decision to prevent girls from education, including university education, and its other repercussions, and to explain the true teachings of Islam, which calls for the education of girls”.
Afghanistan’s civilians, women’s rights activists and political figures welcome the OIC stance, considering this action a measure to remove the “mask of religious sanctity” from the face of the Taliban and saying that the mobilization of the scholars of the Islamic world can create a collective mechanism against the misogynistic actions of the Taliban.
Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), calls this action of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation an effective measure for the removal of the “mask of religious sanctity” from the face of the Taliban.
“Undoubtedly, the recent stance of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is a good move, but the Taliban is an extremist, proxy group, was trained based on a different definition of the teachings of Islam,” On Friday, December 30, Mr. Nabil told Hasht-e Subh. “I don’t think there will be any change in its practices and believes. But this OIC action removes the mask of religious sanctity from the face of the Taliban.”
Mr. Nabil added: “The minds of the Afghan public will be more abstracted, especially the traditional society who thought that the Taliban are the defenders of the Islam.”
Religious and political experts also suggest that the mobilization of Islamic scholars can create a collective mechanism against the misogynistic actions of the Taliban. Abdul Ahad Hadef, an expert on religious and political affairs, says that although the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has not taken any actions in the past several years to achieve the satisfaction of the Afghan people, its new stance against the Taliban is important. Mr. Hadef states: “This organization can collect the opinions of all the scholars of the Islamic world and present them as a general and institutionalized theory, so that the rest of the opinions or fatwas and positions are placed on an individual level and the Taliban cannot take a stance to confront.”
Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Higher Education under the Taliban administration issued a letter to public and private universities to suspend the education of women until further notice. A few days after the issuance of this order, the Minister of Higher Education of the Taliban put forward non-hijab, traveling without a mahram, activities of girls’ dormitories and mixed classes for girls and boys as reasons for suspending girls’ education in public and private universities.
This action of the Taliban has captured global headlines. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Nations and many other international organizations have condemned the decision of the Taliban government and asked for its reversal.
However, women’s rights activists describe the Taliban’s goal of misogynistic actions as tactical political pressure against the international community and call for diplomatic counter-pressure against the Taliban regime.
“The Taliban’s view on women’s issues is not a religious view, but a political agenda, given that women are actually hostages to them,” said Munisa Mubarez, a protester and women’s rights activist. “Therefore, I do not hope that this campaign can have an effect on the Taliban, as the Taliban do not impose these restrictions on the basis of religious beliefs, but on the basis of their political interests. The more serious the interaction is to the detriment of the Taliban, the more this group wants to secure its political interests using the tool of religion,” she added.
“The Taliban know that what they are doing is not based on Islamic Sharia law,” Mrs. Mubarez detailed. “The Taliban know that learning science is obligatory, but they continue because their view is political and religion is a means to secure their personal interests and business. Therefore, since organizations and countries have the role of issuing announcements and giving advice, I consider diplomatic pressure to be more effective.” According to her, the campaigns, declarations and tweets of the institutions are a reminder to the people, but their impact is not enough to change the Taliban.
Another number of women’s rights activists and citizens welcome this decision of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and call it promising. Nawida Khurasani, one of the women’s rights activists, told Hasht-e Subh: “Given that the Taliban consider Islam as their authority, while this group works against the religion of Islam for its own political interests, we support and welcome the action taken by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to prevent the un-Islamic actions of the Taliban.”
Fatema, a resident of Kabul, also detailed: “Taliban’s misogynistic actions have made life difficult for women. Taliban have always sought to exclude women by protecting Islam. If the Organization of Islamic Cooperation takes action against the Taliban, there will be no room left for the Taliban’s unreasonable excuses, and these actions will increase the hope of women to get their rights again,” she added.
In the past 16 months, the Taliban have imposed numerous strict restrictions on women. Three weeks after the establishment of the Taliban in Kabul, a group of women’s rights activists protested in Kabul and Herat in defense of women’s rights. The Taliban dispersed the protesting crowd with aerial shots and tear gas and prevented them from continuing their demonstration. Although after that, various groups of women protested, but finally the Taliban made the conditions of the protest even more difficult for women after arresting and torturing dozens of women protestors in Kabul.
The Taliban’s misogynistic actions are not limited to the new orders issued in the last two weeks. These actions include a wide variety of restrictions, ranging from removing women from the cabinet, banning women from sports, making female employees stay at home, making hijab mandatory for women, banning women from traveling without a mahram, banning girls from education, banning women from driving lessons, making hijab mandatory for female TV presenters and other bans.
In addition, the Taliban have banned women from going to public bathrooms, hair salons, public parks and places and activities in the last year and a half. Although the imposition of these restrictions has resulted in the reactions of citizens, political figures and the international community, but the Taliban have not paid any attention to these reactions. Prohibition of girls’ education and suspension of women’s work in non-governmental institutions are the latest Taliban restrictions on women, which have been met with strong reactions.
Al-Azhar University in Egypt has also said in a statement that closing universities doors to girls by the Taliban is “contrary to Islamic Sharia”.
For the Taliban, it doesn’t matter what the human value accepted by the international community and Islamic principles explain, they only follow the orders issued by their chief mullah.