Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-20-06

Possible Return of Taliban’s Religious Police Threatens Afghan Women's Rights

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet have approved the reestablishment of the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The Afghan Parliament will consider the proposal when it reconvenes later this summer. Initiated by the Taliban, the Vice and Virtue Department sent religious police to patrol the streets where they brutally punished Afghan citizens for disobeying the Taliban's interpretation of Sharia law.

Women were particularly affected by the religious police as they were publicly beaten for such arbitrary offenses as wearing white shoes, showing their wrists or ankles, or going outside their home without a male relative. Women were also prevented from attending school, working, or being seen by a male physician, while women doctors and nurses were banned from working.

It is not clear what powers the proposed Vice and Virtue Department would have. Nader Nadery of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission told The Independent, "It will remind people of the Taliban. We are worried that there are no clear terms of reference for this body." The Minister for Haj and Religious Affairs, Nematullah Shahrani denied that the Department would have police powers, instead claiming that it's duty would be to "tell people what is allowable and what is forbidden in Islam…through radio, television and special gatherings," reports The Independent.

This proposal comes at an especially critical time for Afghan women and girls as the burning and bombing of girls' schools has reached crisis proportions. Ahmed Rashid, a well known author and expert on the Taliban recently wrote in the Washington Post that "...every single day somewhere in Afghanistan a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban." Many districts have closed all of their schools according to a recent Human Rights Watch Report

"Afghan women and girls face increasing insecurity, and it's more important for the government to address how to improve their access to public life rather than limit it further," said Coursen-Neff of Human Rights Watch, "Reinstatement of this controversial department risks moving the discussion away from the vital security and human rights problems now engulfing the country."

Media Resources: The Independent 7/17/06; Human Rights Watch Press Release 7/18/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 7/12/06


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/19/2014 Woman on Life Support Revives Ireland Abortion Debate - Debate surrounding Ireland's ban on abortion has come up again following a current case involving a woman who is being kept on life support because she is pregnant. The woman's family wants her to be taken off life support, but doctors refuse because Irish law says they must do what they can to protect the 16-week-old fetus. . . .
 
12/19/2014 DC City Council Unanimously Approves Reproductive Health Anti Discrimination Bill - Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. . . .
 
12/19/2014 Incremental Gains for Women in Congress - When the 114th Congress is sworn into office on January 3rd, 2015, there will be exactly the same number of women in Senate as the year before, 20, and a record-high number of women in the US House, 84. . . .