Washington’s Afghan puppets as misogynistic as Taliban


This video from the USA says about itself:

Malalai Joya, former Female Member of the Afghan Parliament, founded an illegal school for girls when she was only 16 and has since founded more schools, health clinics, and an orphanage. She was elected to the national parliament at the age of 25, but was driven out by warlords—even facing four assassination attempts. She calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. BBC has called her “the bravest woman in Afghanistan.”

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Afghan clerics’ guidelines ‘a green light for Talibanisation’

Edicts released by Hamid Karzai issue repressive rules for women who, they declare, are subordinate to men

Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul

Monday 5 March 2012

Women are subordinate to men, should not mix in work or education and must always have a male guardian when they travel, according to new guidelines from Afghanistan‘s top clerics which critics say are dangerously reminiscent of the Taliban era.

The edicts appeared in a statement that also encouraged insurgents to join peace talks, fuelling fears that efforts to negotiate an end to a decade of war, now gathering pace after years of false starts and dead ends, will come at a high cost to women.

“There is a link with what is happening all over the country with peace talks and the restrictions they want to put on women’s rights,” said Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi, who warned that the new rules were a “green light for Talibanisation”.

The points agreed at a regular meeting of the Ulema Council of top clerics are not legally binding. But the statement detailing them was published by the president’s office with no further comment, a move that has been taken as a tacit seal of approval.

“Ultimately, I don’t see a way you can read it as not coming from (Hamid) Karzai,” said Heather Barr, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s probably not an extreme position for the Ulema Council, but it’s an extreme position for Karzai, and not compatible with the constitution, or Afghanistan’s obligations under international law.”

The clerics renounced the equality of men and women enshrined in the Afghan constitution, suggesting they consider the document that forms the basis of the Afghan state to be flawed from a religious perspective.

“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the statement says, according to a translation by Afghan analyst Ahmad Shuja. “Also, lineage is derived from the man. Therefore, the use of words and expressions that contradict the sacred verses must be strictly avoided.”

The statement drew criticism in parliament, where some politicians took it as a direct assault on the constitution and the wider government. If a ban on men and women working and studying together were implemented, it would in effect dissolve the legislature.

“The statement is against the constitution, against human rights and against women’s rights,” said Ahmad Shah Behzad, a member of parliament from western Herat province, who warned that Karzai risked being in dereliction of his duty to protect the constitution.

The clerics also appeared to condone violence against women in some circumstances.

“Teasing, harassment and beating of women without a sharia-compliant reason, as set forth clearly in the Glorious Qur’an, is prohibited,” the statement said, although it then called for punishment of those who assault women.

But overall, the statement marks a disturbing return to the language and ideology of the Taliban, said Nader Nadery, a former commissioner on Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission and an outspoken advocate for women’s rights.

In spite of its name, it is doubtful how “independent” from the Karzai regime and the NATO occupiers that commission really is. That even from that direction the guidelines are condemned says something.

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5 thoughts on “Washington’s Afghan puppets as misogynistic as Taliban

  1. Pingback: Afghan graffiti artists about war and oppression | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Afghan president backs strict guidelines for women

    Posted: Mar 06, 2012 5:54 PM Updated: Mar 06, 2012 6:34 PM

    By HEIDI VOGT
    Associated Press

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Afghanistan’s president on Tuesday endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women’s rights in the country.

    President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday remarks backing the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.

    Both the U.S. and Karzai hope that the Taliban can be brought into negotiations to end the country’s decade-long war. But activists say they’re worried that gains made by women since 2001 may be lost in the process.

    When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan prior to the 2001 U.S. invasion, girls were banned from going to school and women had to wear burqas that covered them from head to toe. Women were not allowed to leave their homes without a male relative as an escort.

    The “code of conduct” issued Friday by the Ulema Council as part of a longer statement on national political issues is cast as a set of guidelines that religious women should obey voluntarily, but activists are concerned it will herald a reversal of the trend in Afghanistan since 2001 to pass laws aimed at expanding women’s rights.

    Among the rules: Women should not travel without a male guardian and women should not mingle with strange men in places like schools, markets or offices. Beating one’s wife is prohibited only if there is no “Shariah-compliant reason,” it said, referring to the principles of Islamic law.

    Asked about the code of conduct at a press conference in the capital, Karzai said it was in line with Islamic law and was written in consultation with Afghan women’s groups. He did not name the groups that were consulted.

    “The clerics’ council of Afghanistan did not put any limitations on women,” Karzai said, adding: “It is the Shariah law of all Muslims and all Afghans.”

    Karzai’s public backing of the council’s guidelines may be intended to make his own government more palatable to the Taliban, or he may simply be trying to keep on the good side of the Ulema Council, who could be valuable intermediaries in speaking to the insurgents.

    But either way, women’s activists say that Karzai’s endorsement means that existing or planned laws aimed at protecting women’s rights may be sacrificed for peace negotiations.

    “It sends a really frightening message that women can expect to get sold out in this process,” said Heather Barr, an Afghanistan researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

    Shukria Barikzai, a parliamentarian from the capital Kabul who has been active in women’s issues, said she was worried that Karzai and the clerics’ council appeared to be ignoring their country’s own laws.

    “When it comes to civil rights in Afghanistan, Karzai should respect the constitution,” Barikzai said. The Afghan constitution provides equal rights for men and women.

    The exception for certain types of beatings also appears to contradict Afghan law that prohibits spousal abuse. And the guidelines also promote rules on divorce that give women few rights, a real turnaround from pledges by Karzai to reform Afghan family law to make divorces more equitable, Barr said.

    “This represents a significant change in his message on women’s rights,” she said.

    Afghan women’s rights activist Fatana Ishaq Gailani, founder of the Afghanistan Women’s Council, said she feels like women’s rights are being used as part of a political game.

    “We want the correct Islam, not the Islam of politics,” Gailani said. She said she supported negotiations with the Taliban, but that Afghanistan’s women should not be sacrificed for that end.

    Hadi Marifat of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, which surveyed 5,000 Afghan women for a recent report on the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan, argued that the statements show Karzai is shifting more toward the strictest interpretations of Shariah law.

    “In the post-Taliban Afghanistan, the guiding principle of President Karzai regarding women’s rights has been attracting funding from the international community on one hand, balanced against the need to get the support of the Ulema Council and other traditionalists on the other,” Marifat said.

    “The concerning thing is that now this balance is shifting toward the conservative element, and that was obvious in his statement.”

    Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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