The religious voices in Afghanistan are opening up against the ban on female education. Two prominent religious scholars on Saturday urged the Taliban to reconsider its decision and allow women back into educational institutions.
Abdul Rahman Abid, an Islamic scholar said girls should be re-admitted with separate classes and female teachers teaching them. Moreover, if the rules are to be followed to a tee, separate facilities can be built for them.
“My daughter is absent from school, I am ashamed, I have no answer for my daughter. My daughter asks why girls are not allowed to learn in the Islamic system. I have no answer for her,” Abid was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
Another scholar named Toryali Himat who is incidentally a member of the Taliban as well stated that women should be able to receive education up to the university level.
“Islam has allowed both men and women to learn, but hijab and curriculum should be considered,” said Himat before adding, “Corrective criticism should be given and the Islamic emirate should think about this. Where there is no criticism, there is the possibility of corruption. My personal opinion is that girls should get education up to university level.”
The scholars opining their rather rogue opinions comes in the backdrop of Acting Higher Education Minister Nida Mohammad Nadim issuing a threat that clerics should not speak against the government policy.
“You encouraged the people to rebel, so what is the result? The result is that rebellion against this (ban) is allowed. If people are encouraged to rebel against the system, will it benefit Muslims?” said Nadim, referring to Abdul Sami Al Ghaznawi, another scholar who batted for girls’ education.
Taliban banning female education
In December last year, the Taliban authorities sent a letter to all public and private colleges announcing the indefinite ban on Afghan girls attending educational institutions.
The reason cited for the ban was that women students had failed to appropriately observe gender-based religious restrictions.
“You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending the education of females until further notice,” read the letter.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day last month, the UN released a statement and criticised the Taliban for the umpteenth time for its archaic order.
“It has been distressing to witness their methodical, deliberate, and systematic efforts to push Afghan women and girls out of the public sphere,” said Roza Otunbayeva, special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UN mission to Afghanistan.
According to prominent human rights groups, the Taliban is the only country in the world where women and little girls are barred from entering educational as well as work institutions.
(With inputs from agencies)