The Taliban and their burqa decree don’t represent Islam

The burqa – or veil as they like to call it – is now being forced on Afghan women in a clear symbol of oppression and misogyny

Faiza Saqib
Wednesday 11 May 2022 12:22
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<p>The Taliban takeover has transported Afghanistan back to the dark ages</p>

The Taliban takeover has transported Afghanistan back to the dark ages

Islam, a religion of peace, has been tainted by individuals that choose to label their cruelty as “Jihad” and justify the violence they cause in the world. It’s wrong and revolting and absolutely misleading.

Women have the highest status and respect in Islam, something that many men, due to their chosen ignorance, ignore.

The Quran says: “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness.” In fact, in many verses of the Quran, women and men are addressed as  “believing men and women” to highlight the equality of both in regard to their duties, rights and virtues.

Earlier this week, the Taliban, now known as the “Islamic Emirate” in a dire attempt to rename and rebrand their oppression, ordered that all Afghan women must wear a veil in public. If a woman does not abide by these rules, her male guardian could face jail for three days.

The Taliban takeover has transported Afghanistan back to the dark ages. The narrative that the “Taliban have changed” and the world needs to trust this new and improved version of their regime is nothing more than lies. Their false promises were soon revealed after their power was established. And yet, after all of those lies, why do we still give these men a platform and voice?

Last night, Piers Morgan had his “unmissable” interview with Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen. As Shaheen tried to offer several excuses on the new face-covering law, it was clear that the Taliban have not changed.

The women in Afghanistan are now facing stricter laws that take away their basic human rights. Children over the age of 12 can no longer attend school and Saheen’s response to this was: “We never said they are banned, they are under consideration. We want to work out a mechanism.” This is a laughable and degrading response as girls’ and women’s right to education has been taken away from them.

Since the Taliban gained power, they stopped issuing driving licenses to women and now, the burqa – or veil, as they like to call it – is being forced on women in a clear symbol of oppression and misogyny.

As I watched in complete dismay, I couldn’t help but shake my head in disgust. In response to Morgan’s question on why the new law had been laid down, Saheen responded: “Women have been observing hijab for centuries, they’ve been doing it voluntarily.” There is a lot that is wrong about his statement.

Yes, some women may choose to wear the hijab voluntarily on the basis of their faith, however, the decree that has been introduced in Afghanistan clearly shows that there is no choice for women. It’s a forceful law that takes away the “voluntary” element.

With their twisted ideologies stemming from a cultural desire for male dominance, the Taliban’s ignorant attempts to oppress women is all too familiar a narrative for women and girls in Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover saw women’s rights slowly disintegrate – girls were told to go home and not attend schools, they were told to act and be a certain way, and forcefully silenced when protesting against such oppression.

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The hijab, niqab and burqa should be a journey in which the woman chooses. It should never be forced on anyone. The same applies to women wanting to cover their hair or body in other faiths.

Policing a woman’s body is disgraceful and as women we have fought long and hard to move towards freedom, only to witness men taking that away from us. This week, we have seen India’s hijab row, to the Taliban’s burqa placement and lastly, Roe v Wade and women’s abortion rights.

Throughout history, we have seen an exhausting recurrence of men telling women how to live. From the very beginning, women and girls are taught about the roles we must fulfill as women and where we fall short if we do not, the toys we can play with, the way we should carry ourselves, and how we should speak or think.

We are tired. Women deserve to make their own choices without constantly being policed by men. Leave us to make our own decisions about the hijab. Let the voices of Afghan women be heard.

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