Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban Minister of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice insists that separating men and women is a fundamental Islamic value
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Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban Minister of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice insists that separating men and women is a fundamental Islamic value

JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul offers his observations on recent activities of the Taliban Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding his name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

The Minister for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said in a statement Tuesday that the Taliban are not against girls’ education, but men and women sitting together at a table is in contradiction to Islamic values. He further added that if the international community puts pressure on the Taliban for this reason, they will not leave their beliefs.

There have been reports that this ministry is looking into options to control the media, telecommunication, and other aspects of citizens’ lives. During the first Taliban-led government of Afghanistan in 1990s this ministry was one of the worst. Among other things, it publicly punished people because of Hijab and other small Islamic rules.

Until now, the ministry has gathered a number of times in the country and most recently there was a gathering in Mazar province. In this gathering the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Director for this province was introduced. During the gathering, the minister said that former politicians such as Karzai, Abdullah, and Muslimyar are the politicians who should be asked about their wealth since they are living under the Taliban rule at the moment.

In provinces like Nangarhar, Takhar, Kapisa, Nuristan, and Kandahar the ministry’s officials have sent letters to barbers and public baths stating that no barber is allowed to shave anyone’s beard. If caught, the barber will be punished.

There is no official report if they have punished anyone but according to my understanding, they are using most of their time to educate and inform the public of these policies.

The recent statements by the minister indicates one thing on the future education and higher education system in the country, and that is that there may be separate classes for girls and boys. Boys are girls were already separated in schools, but in the universities they attended the same class. This may be one reason behind the closure of public universities in the country.