UK Sharia Female Scholar Accuses Western Media of ‘Misrepresenting’ Taliban Stance on Women’s Rights
© AP Photo / Mariam ZuhaibAfghan women walk on the road during the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, May 13, 2021
© AP Photo / Mariam Zuhaib
Although the Taliban* vowed to provide Afghan women with all rights in line with Sharia and the country’s law, there have been reports showing that the situation in this field has worsened since the fall of Kabul to the militant group.
Khola Hasan, a UK Islamic Sharia Council scholar, has accused Western media of “misrepresenting” the Taliban’s views on women's rights, arguing that the militants’ recent posturing on the matter was a “good start”.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, she insisted that if Western countries would “give them [Taliban fighters] a helping hand […] maybe they could really progress”.
“Every single person that I know, as a Muslim, whether on social media, I don't know privately or personally but I know them on social media, or as friends, whatever, are celebrating and saying give them [the militants] a chance”, the scholar claimed.
When asked to comment on reports about women and children being beaten and whipped when passing through Afghan checkpoints, Hasan described Afghanistan as a “tribal society with tribal loyalties” and with “a lot of violence within the communities” amid decades of “occupation”.
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulTaliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.
Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
She urged the international community “to be very careful not to take small, minor incidents and make them into something huge”.
The scholar argued that “Western media loves misrepresenting Muslims”, adding, “The kind of language that came out from Western media when the Taliban took over - civil war, monsters, they're going to slaughter people, it's going to be awful, poor women, oh blah blah blah we're going to cry our eyes out, poor women are going back into Medieval times, and all the rest of it”.
She went on to claim that the issue “has been misrepresented for so long that I've got used to it, I don't even blink an eyelid anymore”.
After she was told the world had “seen this movie before” in terms of the Taliban’s promises not to crack down on women, Hasan said, “No we haven't because the Taliban have grown up”.
© AFP 2023 / WAKIL KOHSAR(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 18, 2021, a Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul
(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 18, 2021, a Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul
© AFP 2023 / WAKIL KOHSAR
“They were not exposed to the modern world, so what they were saying 20 years ago this was a myopic, insulated, small organisation, living in the mountains, very illiterate, very uneducated, not just about the world but about Islam itself […]”, the UK Islamic Sharia Council member claimed.
“They're learning. That's not an easy thing to do, to come from hundreds of years of one way practising your faith, and then suddenly exposed to different ways to think oh maybe we got it wrong. The problem is we don't give them a chance”, Hasan asserted.
The remarks followed former Afghan judge and activist Najla Ayoubi telling Sky News about an alleged incident involving an Afghan woman being set on fire because she was accused of "bad cooking" by Taliban fighters. According to Ayoubi, the incident took place as other women in the country are purportedly being forced into sex slavery for the insurgents.
21 August 2021, 18:34 GMT
This was preceded by the United Nations Refugee Agency reporting about recent human rights abuses across Afghanistan, with women not being allowed to go to work in some areas.
In a separate development earlier this week, two female anchors with Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) were reportedly intimidated and barred from performing their duties by RTA's new director, supported by the Taliban.
Since Kabul’s fall on 15 August, the extremist group has pledged they would not carry out any violence against women, and that they would not “seek vengeance” on those who opposed the militants during the 20-year Afghan war.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries