16 May, 2022

Blog

Taliban-Style Islam Tyrannises Women

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

No sizable Islamic organisation, religious, political or social in Sri Lanka to the best of my knowledge has condemned the barbarism of what the Taliban is doing to women in the name of Islam. No Muslim intellectual has been brave enough decry this barbarism. Has anything been written in Colombo Telegraph, if so, I have missed it? If I am wrong on the facts, my humble apologies. When progressive Lanka is up in arms against the Gnanasara obscenity, set up to humiliate the minorities particularly the Muslims, it is a disappointment that Muslims do not rally to sturdily condemn the backwardness of Taliban oppression of half the population of Afghanistan in the name of Islam! Does it not enrage Muslim intellectuals?

Dear Islamic scholars and intellectuals, is this Islam? If women want to over their faces and bodies in black, blue or purple, let them; if girls don’t want education let them boycott schools and colleges; if wives enjoy being beaten and brutalised by husbands let them relish the S&M though it is more appropriate to take both to a psychiatric ward. I am not asking if this violence and repression is Islamic or not, probably it is not in keeping with the basic teachings; that’s not my point nor my expertise. It is a violation of human rights. Surely it the responsibility of world Islam and its intellectuals to lead the fight against but you worthies are falling short. Is not “speaking truth to power” the responsibility of the intellectual? Or is it your view that human rights are a colonialist tools (“orientalism”) to oppress colonial peoples? Edward Saeed would pour withering scorn on you if you said so. Don’t take my word and don’t listen to the Western media; go directly to the voices of Afghan women and interviews on Aljazeera etc. from Muslim countries. There are countless examples, here are four out of hundreds, but you don’t need them you know it all.

This cover-up is not peculiar to Sri Lankan Muslims. One does not hear of outrage and protest by Muslims in India, the Indian Subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Let’s write off the Middle East, Egypt and the Maghreb as they are still primitive societies in respect of thwarting repression and violation of women. Inner-familial issues are not a thing that I want to get involved in; my concern is when it involves laws, criminality, the state, and public or social affairs such as education and imposed dress codes. The failure of Muslim organisations and intellectuals the world over to take an unflinching stand against execrable practices is reprehensible.

[As a post-script I will comment on the freezing of $7 billion of Afghan people’s money by Biden. One half will be donated by the US for relief work in Afghanistan the other half distributed to the families of 9-11 victims. This is high handed and proves that your money in US banks is a tool in its hands to manipulate foreign policy and play you (individuals and institutions) for a sucker. Choose Euros, Yen, Yuan or GPB if you have even a small amount of foreign assets to park. It is very hard for foreign companies and Central Banks to avoid entanglement with pervasive dollar control of global clearing and banking systems, but it is amazing that China, Europe and gulf states were blind all these years. Now China is attempting to develop the International-Yuan and trying to close the stable door after the horse has fled! Good luck! It will take time, sweat and ingenuity].

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  • 3
    17

    Muslims have a right to wear the Abaya or whatever they please.

    How long can Sri Lankans impose their dress code on others?

    Only solution is one island, 3 mono ethnic nations with total relocation. Everyone’s aspirations will be met.

    • 8
      2

      Yes have a right to wear whatever they please in public places but have no right to forcibly impose their dress codes and forms of dress on others, especially foreign Islamic dress forms like the Abaya, Hijab, Burka, Nikab that have only arrived on the island from the Arabian Gulf recently, at local Hindu schools to deliberately to provoke and other public and private institutions where there is a dress code for everyone, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. Even in Islamic countries, these dress codes are adhered to and strictly enforced. You will not find women employees in Abaya, Burka, or Nikab running around in hospitals, banks, government departments, shops. The Hijab yes or a cloth covering the head. No one is saying no anywhere even in Hindu schools if Muslim teachers adhere to the dress code and come in the traditional Islamic dress of the land a saree with an end covering the head or another piece of cloth or Hijab covering the head. However definitely not an Abaya which by the way is only a loose outer garment that is removed generally when inside, a Burkha or Nikab or other forms of sack clothes and say it is my right to wear them when it breaks every form of dress code and the face or person cannot be properly identified.

      • 8
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        If you want all this and is your right please relocate to Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia or wherever you feel at home. You will not get an Islamic nation on the island, as there was never one, especially to immigrants from South India who largely arrived here as refugees a few centuries ago. Further being a Muslim is not an ethnicity but a religion. You are ethnic Tamils, who are Muslim by religion. The term ” Moor” given to you by the Portuguese does not refer to your race, ethnicity or origin but to your religion , as they only Muslims they encountered prior to their travels, where the Moors from North Africa who ruled tne

        Further being a Muslim is not an ethnicity but a religion. You are ethnic Tamils, who are Muslim by religion. The term ” Moor” given to you by the Portuguese does not refer to your race, ethnicity, or origin but to your religion, as the only Muslims, they encountered prior to their travels, where the Moors from North Africa ruled the Iberian peninsular for around a 1000 years. Most South Asian Muslims look similar to them, maybe some darker some fairer but still very similar, therefore called them also Moors.

    • 2
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      KD : The paid for Colombo NGO Human Rights lobbies will not condemn CIA-Saudi backed Wahabi Salafi Islam that was imported to the South Asian Region by Uncle Sam to Divide and Rule and Weaponize religion to fight socialist and communist de-colonization movements in Asia and Africa. No will they condemn the Covid Pfizer injection Project and mandates which is the biggest HR violation in the country at this time. They are US-EU funded!

      KD: Please Read the book: The ISIS is US: the Shocking Truth behind the Amy of Terror” by Washington Blog et al. Now the CIA is trying to stage a Buddhist -Islam “Clash of Civilizations” to Divide and Rule Asia.. since the Covid-19 Biowarfare Virus and Vaccine project is exposed!

    • 4
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      Gatam, 3 mono-ethnic nations? 74.9% Sinhalese Aryans, Lanka Tamils 1.2% Indian Tamis 4.2%, Moors 9.2%, others 0.5% as per the CIA report. In Malaysia 57.3% Malays, 22.9% Chinese, Indian and Indian Tamils 6.6% others 0.8% as per the CIA report (Is Malaysia not a 3 mono-ethnic nation?

      • 3
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        Sorry Gatam, Lanka Tamils 11.2%

        • 3
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          Even Singapore 75.9% Chinese, 15% Malays, Indian and Tamils 7.5% others 1.6% always the majority power ruling and they are the winners

        • 1
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    • 1
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  • 13
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    KD, I am in total agreement with you on this. Regardless of religion,politics and culture, people especially so called scholars, intellectuals not standing up against outright barbarism is absurd. This obviously makes me to question the integrity and genuineness of such people. Ganasara is better in the sense he doesn’t even pretend to hide, what he says or does in public. Even in the name of religion or culture , any gender discrimination, bias, exploitation, monopoly are not acceptable. This is just a observation in Karnataka. Majority of the Muslim men (except for very few working in religious institution) do not/ avoid wearing any religious attire including traditional skull caps but insist their female folks wearing Hijab and Burka on a daily basis. Can anyone explain this to me ????

    • 6
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      I will like to clarify, every religion I know of has such anomalies and my above statement pertains to the issue addressed here by KD.

    • 6
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      Yes, Muslims have a right to wear what they like but only in public places and in their own homes or the homes of their friends and relatives. Not in places of employment, where they enter a contract and are paid to dress and work in a certain manner, schools/universities where they are being educated, if there is a dress code and they are aware of this when they joined these institutions and other public/private institutions and government departments, where for security and other reasons there is a dress code to enter. People may refer to Catholic nuns, however, these nuns belong to religious orders and confine themselves to teaching and doing other charitable work voluntarily in Catholic schools and institutions ( eg hospitals and do not go around to other places and schools belonging to other religions and demand their dress code has to be observed.

      • 8
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        I say yes to headscarves/Hijab or a Turban as this shows the face and we know who we are dealing with. However definitely no to Abayas which is, in reality, a loose outer garment that is removed when indoors, Burkas, Nikkabs or whatever other stone age or medieval shrouds, wraparounds or sackcloths, be it Islamic, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, that has been designed to make a woman inferior, uncomfortable all in the name of culture and religion. We need to see whom we are dealing with and speaking to. Especially in service industries, like shops, banks, government departments, hospitals, schools not someone shrouded in some medieval garment that covers the entire body and face or just the eyes to be seen, all in the name of religion, especially if this form of dress is alien and in the first place never belonged to the local Muslim culture and was only recently introduced. Going around dressed in this fashion stating it is my religion or I want to be dressed in this manner at Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist schools is a definite no. What about the rights of the students and their religion? You can cover your head be modest and that is all that is required to observe your religious rights. Not dress in aline forms of medieval sack clothes and shrouds that had never belonged and state this is my right.

        • 6
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          Do that in your own time and place if you want to amongst your friends, family, and relatives, and do not impose on others in a multi-religious multi-ethnic society. We now use computers and travel by trains, buses, and cars to our work. Not use abacuses, ride on a bull, horse, or donkey and come to work.

          Yes, a Muslim customer dressed in a Burkha. Nikhab or Chadoor has a right to enter and be served in a government department, hospital/clinic, bank, shop, restaurant/hotel. police station or any other institution, as they are citizens, customers, or consumers who are paying for their services in one form or other money or taxes. However, if it is required that they show their full face including uncovering their headscarf or Hijab, either for security or for other purposes, they should comply and not refuse and usually, it is to another female as much as possible and I fully support this. However, as employees of all these institutions, they should adhere to the dress code. No employer or institution will ban wearing something reasonable like a headscarf. Hijab or turban.

  • 11
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    “Dear Islamic scholars and intellectuals, is this Islam? “
    Yes sir, it is.

    Soma

  • 7
    13

    Excellent article Prof Kumar David.

    We must collectively liberate the Muslim women from the clutches of oppression. They are very good looking and it’s a shame to see such beauty covered up. The denial of pleasuring eyes is scandalous.

  • 14
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    In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI provoked outrage in the Muslim world with a speech given at the University of Regensburg in Germany.
    During his address, Pope Benedict quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
    .
    How many millions of women since the advent of Islam have born in darkness, grown up in darkness and died in darkness.? Only to be used as a tool for procreation and satisfy the lust of men. Who is responsible for this colossal crime perpetrated on 50% of a sizable section of the most advanced species?
    .
    Evolved as an animal in the open natural habitat the most fundamental right of a human being is to move about in sunshine and hold the hand of one of opposite gender and walk under moonshine. Culturally evolved, the freedom to engage in art, music, dance and other forms of creative activities are fundamental rights of a human all of which are denied to Muslim women.

    • 8
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      From the depths of the intellect of my being, I declare all that you say is truth, Soma.

      • 4
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        Always.

        Soma

    • 9
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      Allah has blessed those who are fortunate to live in non-Muslim cultures. The freedom we have accorded them in our democratic society have been taken away by their own men folk and threatened/brainwashed them to tell us IT IS OUR FREE CHOICE. What a shame.

      Soma

  • 13
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    “No sizable Islamic organisation, religious, political or social in Sri Lanka to the best of my knowledge has condemned the barbarism of what the Taliban is doing to women in the name of Islam.”

    It is a sensible question to Muslim authors! Why?

  • 11
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    I have seen that when the Muslim women play cricket, or fly a plane as Pilots, etc, they do not wear hijab. It signals the slavery of women like in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. It appears that the ongoing controversy over the hijab is not a controversy but a conspiracy to push Muslim women back. “There is no contradiction between religion and education.” “In Islam, the purpose of religion is to enlighten men,” and after the Mutlaq ban – the practice of divorcing three times immediately – Muslim women feel liberated. “They have a sense of freedom. They continue their education. They join big business. The hijab controversy is a conspiracy.” As I see the issue of wearing Hijab promotes some sort of violence and is there any guarantee that weapons such as hand bombs, knives, etc, will not be hidden inside hijab robe at a time the world is facing terrorism. It should borne in mind that India never exported war, conflict or terror. India is best known for its Vedas, Meditation, Yoga and Wisdom. Westerners travel to India when they look to answer the big questions of life. I will be glad if someone can give a proper answer about the significance of wearing Hijab.

    • 2
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      AYATHURAY RAJASINGAM
      “It should borne in mind that India never exported war, conflict or terror.”

      Really?
      What did they do in those training camps in Tamil Nadu for LTTE?
      Tamil Nadu is a part of India. Isn’t it?

  • 11
    1

    Prof. David,

    I weigh in with great caution. We Christians (I and presumably you too) have issues to address first.

    Many Tamils insist that women wear a sari to church. Our home has seen endless fights over jeans. Catholics [sic.] do not allow women to be priests. But that is not a rights violation as people who do not like it are free to find a Church that allows it.

    A woman I know is sought by some Theological College Board Members to be dismissed as Principal. They argue that the Bible does not allow women to pray or speak in Church. This is the theology of the Brethren Church, a large and growing Church – I call them Taliban Christians – who also say women cannot have authority over men. The Brethren’s Sri Lankan top-dog, Kanagalingam Muraleetharan, is subtle. He only says he has theological objections to a woman being Principal. Interestingly, a part of Brethren theology is that men must be clean shaven. But their leaders fail to apply that to their moustaches.

    Fortunately, we can leave behind these Taliban churches to one we are comfortable in. Can Muslims leave their brand of Islam if they so wish?

    • 6
      1

      Jaffna man,
      It is true that Christians (and others too) have skeletons in their cupboards, and are hardly qualified to throw stones at Muslims.
      But Muslims do have a serious problem with regard to dissent within the community. A Buddhist can say anything he wants against the clergy, and at worst, the local hamuduruwo might deny him his services. But if a Muslim steps out of line, he is totally ostracised, the mosque being the centre of the community in a way that the church or temple isn’t. Whether this is good or bad ìs difficult to say. It definitely keeps Muslims together. But it doesn’t encourage free discussion about what is considered sacrosanct, even if these (like female circumcision or hijab) are clearly tribal relics. In the early 20th century, when Turkey, not Saudi Arabia, called the shots, there was a wave of modernization, but the politics of oil and Afghanistan put paid to that.

    • 1
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      Jaffna Man,
      I quote the following from your article above, “But that is not a rights violation as people who do not like it are free to find a Church that allows it”

      As some Sinhala racists claim If Tamils are persecuted in Sri Lanka, the Tamils are at a liberty to emigrate to Tamil Nadu.

      Do you honestly subscribe to this racist view?.

      I am of the opinion that instead, you have to stay where you are, and fight for justice and democracy!.

      Human dignity is far more important than escapism from injustice and tyranny!

      • 5
        1

        Why should the Tamils of Sri Lankan migrate to Tamil Nadu. Just because some stupid racists state this ? They were here long before a people called Sinhalese or the Sinhalese language evolved on the island around 7AD. This why even their Mahavamsa was written in Pali. Moreover it is the ancestors of most modern Sinhalese who migrated from Tamil Naud , therefore if anyone has to return it is them.

  • 11
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    Good column Kumar. A courageous and challenging position to take publicly.

  • 13
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    Dear Prof. David

    These people are sheer hypocrites, one law for them another law for the rest
    The barbaric acts carried out in the name of shariah law and Islam is appalling. Why the so called intellects are silent? In Sri-Lanka
    The short answer is ; they are two faced and bigots.
    The banning of hijabs in Kanataka universities caused mahem and I believe there was an article on CT recently on this matter

    • 8
      0

      RN, what I find absurd is when few young school going girls are threatened by mobs, you hardly find any Muslim male (not even students, class mates or colleagues) supporting them.(take a look at those pictures in media ). Out side the college premises it’s the girl students and their mothers who are protesting. But the very same Muslim men insist on wearing religious attire to school, which they avoid or not follow.

    • 1
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  • 2
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    [A]

    The Writer appears to be mystified by the fact that “No sizable Islamic organisation, religious, political or social in Sri Lanka to the best of my knowledge has condemned the barbarism of what the Taliban is doing to women in the name of Islam” and that “No Muslim intellectual has been brave enough decry this barbarism”.

    Here’s a short … and hopefully, sweet, explanation.

    It is reported in a Hadith book (Jami al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 2640) that the Holy Prophet (sal) has stated that his “Ummah will split into 73 sects.” This is common knowledge among all Muslims.
    The ‘brand’ of Islam being practiced by the Taliban is therefore perceived and accepted by Muslims as yet another one of the 73 sects.
    No Muslim will condemn the religious behaviour and practices of another Muslim unless such practices are proven to be contrary to Islamic laws.
    The position of women in Afghanistan may seem harsh by liberal Western standards, but are perfectly compatible with the ‘brand’ of Islam practiced by the Taliban.
    Therefore the Muslims of Sri Lanka have no basis to make any criticisms regarding the actions of the Taliban. [190]

    • 3
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      [B]

      The Taliban have already announced that under their administration the women in Afghanistan will enjoy the ‘freedoms’ as stipulated in (their brand of ) Islam. Criticism can then only be levelled at the Taliban if they fail to deliver this promise.

      A common error made by commentators on the subject of Afghanistan is projecting the views and lived-experiences of Kabul women as being representative of all Afghan women. With over 70% of all women living in rural Afghanistan, nothing could be further from the truth. Remember the slogan “Colombata Kiri, Gamata Kekiri” ? Until the Taliban re-gained control of Afghanistan it was a case of “Kabulta Kiri, Gamata Kekiri”
      Two recent articles titled ‘Many in Rural Afghanistan welcome an unfamiliar peace after Taliban victory’ (Wall Street Journal) and ‘The Other Afghan Women’ (The Newyorker) provide a non-Kabul view of life in Afghanistan after the Taliban.

      The definition of concepts such as ‘Freedom’ and ‘Human Rights’ are dependent on Place, Time and Form. It would be a grave mistake to consider the definitions offered by liberal ‘Western’ countries as some kind of universal yardstick to pass judgment on non-Western nations. One man’s freedom-fighter could well be another man’s terrorist.

      • 3
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        Attempting to change overnight the ways the Taliban treat the women is a non-starter. Equally difficult would be the task of attempting to persuade the Taliban to adopt a less-restrictive ‘brand’ of Islam. The unilateral decision of the U.S to freeze the money lying to the credit of the Central Bank of Afghanistan ($10 billion) flies in the face of their much-vaunted claim of being concerned about the ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’ of the Afghan people.

        • 8
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          ekelbroom, don’t you think this is how every religion in the world is justifying , all the wrongs including atrocities. What is special about the 73 sects. Every religion has anomalies which are man made for the purpose of exploitation, monopoly and politicization. Religion just like politics has lost it’s purpose. Now religious scholars are more into politics (just like Taliban,Hamas — doing politics) and vice versa, politicians are more into preaching religion. Undisputed fact.

      • 8
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        I agree in general with your view but when it comes to violence against women, abuse and exploitation, doesn’t matter who the victim represent or where they live.That is why Law is universal and does not take such factors into consideration. Chances are people who live in rural areas are suppressed in many ways that they do not have access to media, judiciary, support networks or in some the opportunity to express their suffering. They are the ones who are most vulnerable, made to believe, and conditioned to normalize such atrocities

    • 7
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      In that case Muslims should not complain about Ganasara because he too claims to be one of the sect. My question is does it also stipulate shooting Malala on the face, for demanding education ??? The position in Afghan is seen barbaric not just by Liberal West but people with empathy throughout world. I am sure Jews from Israel and RSS in India , are offering the same explanation.

    • 7
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      Therefore the Muslims of Lanka have no basis to make any criticism regarding the actions of not just Taliban, but their own men too.

      • 2
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        The Writer had expressed a sense of bewilderment at the total absence of any response on the part of the local Muslim community or for that matter the Muslim communities in other countries to the “… barbarism of what the Taliban is doing to women in the name of Islam”.

        My response that this is due to the fact that Muslim communities perceive the religious practices of the Taliban as yet another ‘brand’ of Islam was meant as an explanation for this phenomenon and definitely NOT an attempt at justification. The Taliban are practicing the ‘rules’ of Islam in accordance with their belief. If one is unhappy about the way women are being treated, then one has to change the Taliban’s brand of Islam. To compel the Taliban to adopt a more liberal attitude regarding women overnight amounts to impelling them to violate their own religious beliefs.

        But this should not be interpreted as a blanket approval by individual members of the Muslim community of the way in which the Taliban are practicing Islam. Many Muslims may chose to remain silent lest their criticisms be misconstrued as being anti-Islam.

        Other Commentators may have better(?) explanations for the ‘silence’ of the Muslims

        • 4
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          ekelbroom, THANKS for clarifying yet I am confused. I agree Taliban may have it’s own/self branding and continue with their atrocities, but that should not stop the rest of the Muslim communities around the world in condemning. Take the case of Malala, or hundred of school going innocent kids in Nigeria who were kidnapped by monsters, raped , impregnated and made into sex slaves, what is that stopping the rest of the Muslim community from condemning ?? It is pure barbarism and nothing to do with tradition, sect or branding. Similar excuse are given by RSS/ right wing, Christians, Catholics, SB , Myanmar Buddhist and many ,all over the world. You also said about giving time to Taliban, which is like giving another 70 years for Lanka expecting a change. If you look at Afghan there is less violence free period in their post colonial history. The response you provided is similar to what I heard from Muslims around the world.

          • 1
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            @chiv
            [A]
            What you and I and the rest of the world may describe as ‘atrocities’ may not be perceived by the Taliban as being such acts of abomination. It is all a matter of religious perspective.
            If the brand of religion practised by the Taliban, for example, advocates that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’, then under a Taliban administration one could experience the introduction and implementation of social ‘rules’ supporting this religious belief – all of which would be done on the basis of what the Taliban perceive as being in the best interest of their people.
            What right has the rest of the world to interfere into this matter and impose what they deem to be the ‘correct’ social rules.
            If the Aghan people resent the Taliban rule, then it is up to them to decide their future course of action.
            What the world sees and hears about the experiences and view-points of the Afghan people under Taliban rule depends on what the ‘international’ media choses to tell us and quite naturally, the voices that are loudest and most frequently heard shape our beliefs.

            • 2
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              [B]
              When the rulers of a specific country are faced with public opposition to one or more ‘rules’ that they may impose, they may react violently. Malala was the victim of such a situation. This does not mean that what happened to Malala is justified. She was a victim of circumstances, whose fate was exploited by the ‘democratic’ West to showcase the horrors of the previous Taliban rule.
              There were expressions of shame and horror expressed by individual Muslims at this tragedy, but you ask as to why Muslim Countries remained silent on this issue.
              Remember how George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis Policemen on the 25th of May 2020 by kneeling heavily on his neck while being restrained. While there was an outpouring of grief at this murder by individuals from all over the world, why did the ‘democratic’, ‘law-abiding’, ‘disciplined’ Western Nations choose to maintain a stony silence on this issue ? The answer to this and the answers to 1000’s of similar questions will provide you with the answer to the Muslim question.

              • 2
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                [C]
                I am still of the view that the Taliban must be given the time and the opportunity to implement their brand of governance. Over time they should come to realize that it would be in the best interests of their people and therefore of their country to ease some of the current ‘restrictions’. Throttling their efforts in this regard by freezing their national assets in the USA will certainly not help.
                During the decade of communist rule in Afghanistan, the women enjoyed ‘freedom’ as defined by Western democracy.
                The Western nations collectively helped the regional Warlords overthrow this Communist Government.
                Now the same Western nations are bemoaning the lack of ‘freedom’ for women in Afghanistan after getting their backsides kicked out of Afghanistan by the Taliban who did not fire a single shot for this purpose.

                Don’t you get the feeling that there is something not quite right about the whole issue ?

                I do

                Thank you, Chiv, for engaging in this fruitful discussion.

              • 2
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                Ekelbroom , Malala was not just A victim, if Taliban had it’s way there would have been thousand in Afghan and other parts of the world. ( Malala was shot not in Afghan but Pakistan). Yes Floyd was wrongly killed but what happened after is people including law makers in unison came out protesting condemned, the officer was sentenced by court, cases of such nature in past were reviewed and a law was passed hoping to prevent such wrongs in the future.

            • 2
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              Ekelbroom, thanks for keeping the discussion alive but you have now gone back to typical excuses given by extremists and those spectators who are in denial. You say it’s for Afghan people to decide the fate of Taliban which is same as Ganasara deciding the fate of you. ( same in Myanmar). But Taliban dosen’t stop within Afghan they cross borders into Pskistan and then try forcing their brand of barbarism on rest of world.You just can’t have both ways. If not for international media we won’t be hearing the injustices and the fate of those victims just like in Lanka and Myanmar.

              • 2
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                Ekelbroom just to reiterate , being so obvious from day one I stood firmly behind Dr.shafi. I have utmost respect for all religions including Islam.At the same time I do not see much of a difference between ISIS and Taliban brand of barbarism.

    • 3
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      Ekilbroom
       “Ummah will split into 73 sects.”??
      Shows the message is not clear – bad job by the last messenger.

      Soma

      • 3
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        Nice observation, Soma

        I do not know whether to laugh or cry

  • 6
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    Anyone can wear anything they like, as long as it is decent and meets the dress standards. Also as long as it is not forced on them. However, if certain institutions like the Armed forces, Nurses, Teachers, students in schools, banks, and other service employees like salespeople, etc have uniforms and certain dress codes it should be adhered to. However reasonable religious dress modes like the Hijab and Turban should be allowed in my opinion, as this does not affect anyone. The person and the face can be seen and recognized and does not affect hygiene or any sort of fear. Lots of women belonging to the Hindu, Christians, Jews, and other faiths also cover their heads. Why only pick on Muslim women for doing this? However, I draw the line on full face and body covering, unless the person belongs to a religious order like a Catholic nun, or other religious orders as this is their dress code. Isalm does not order Muslim women to wear Abaya, Chador, Burkha, Nikab or even the Hijab. Other than in western Asia and North Africa due to the intense heat, Muslim women in other parts of the world traditionally never covered their full bodies or wore abayas, Burkhas, Hijabs or ran around in swathed in uncomfortably swathed in black sackcloth.

    • 6
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      This is a very recent phenomenon with the rise of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, using their petrodollars and the influence that comes with it to spread Wahabism and their desert Arab culture and dress forms.

      A large number of guest workers, especially from the lower class to these nations also have spread this idea that to be a true good Muslim you have to follow Arab culture, their forms of dresses suitable to the desert. Lots of wars in Islamic nations some homegrown others started by the West, Russia, and the oppression of the Palestinian, have given rise to Islamic fundamentalism, in many parts of the Islamic world and societies. Whereby this austere rigid Arabic form of dress modes and customs and full-face covering for women, is becoming the accepted norm over the local form of Islamic dress like the saree in the case of Sri Lanka South India. Bangladesh or Shalwar Kameez or long skirt and blouse in North India. Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other parts of Central Asia or the Sarang Kabaya in Malaysia/Indonesia with a head covering that has been there for centuries. Now women wearing these traditional forms of Islamic dress are increasingly being marginalized by their own society and told to discard them in favour of the Abaya, Burkah, Chador, and Nikkab all originating from Western Asia.

      • 6
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        All religions tell us to be modest and be decent but never tell us to cover heads, wear sack clothes, walk around fully covered being uncomfortable, and frightening everyone else around us. 99% of the men who want their women to wear all these uncomfortable dresses will not dress in this manner but wear nice comfortable western clothes in light colours and walk around. Similarly many fundamental Christian Churches, especially the American varieties, go around preaching to many eastern Christians that to be a good real Christian, they must give up their traditional eastern customs, dress forms, and way of life and follow western customs. The founder of Christianity and all the first apostles were not westerners but were Jews from Western Asia.

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    Sri Lankan women are in a situation where hijab is necessitated given the behaviour of men in public places here, even in knowledge institutions and where even many men in saffron and shaved hair are no saints. The hijab is cumbersome to wear and running for it during the tsunami cost some female lives. When the women are engineers and scientists, the hijab is a safety risk requiring alternative methods to accommodate it at the work place especially labs using fire. There is also a rule that only the husband, father or brother can touch a Muslim woman so it is difficult to help her in case of accidents. The reaction from the men of the family is also feared.

    While it is a beautiful thing during worship in which angels participate and we want to honor them as the post-Babylonian Jews and later therefore the Muslims also see fit, at the workplace it is utter mental cruelty imposed on any woman. It is exploiting the ignorance of many women who are kept from education. I wonder whether there are confidential polls from hijab-wearing women asking whether it is all worth it.

    The sons of such women should now rise up and free at least their poor mothers.

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    Kudos to Prof for tackling a difficult subject.

    I think the liberation and achievement of equality should be more broad based than just the Muslims ………. if not, the Muslims will feel they are being singled out and take an intransigent posture and be not open to change …..

    Second- classing of women is everywhere …….. even in our own extended family ……… where more intelligent and capable women have to pretend to be inferior; not to ruffle male egos of husbands …………. not all men are as open to equality for women as Native Vedda! Ramona is witness.

    It’s like the idea that all citizens should have the same rights: even someone who obtained citizenship yesterday …………

    It should be made a tenet and repeated often enough …….then people come to accept without questions or qualifications …………

    If not, it becomes something others have to give/grant ………. like the majority “Sinhalese” giving equality to the minorities ……… or men to women …………..

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