Banning the education of Taliban girls is against national and religious principles | Education

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Spring has arrived in Afghanistan, and Afghan children are returning to their schools to begin the new academic year. Girls beyond grade 6 in a large part of the country, however, are failing in their education and remain uncertain about their future.

Two years ago, on a spring day like today, the hopes and dreams of Afghan schoolgirls were crushed by the small Taliban government.

On March 21, 2022, the Taliban pledged to reopen all schools in Afghanistan, apparently ending a temporary ban on girls going to high school since they returned to power seven months ago.

Two days later, when many girls were preparing to go back to school, the authorities changed the decision and banned girls over 12 from going to public schools. In an attempt to ease the crisis, the Ministry of Education said the closure would be temporary and schools would reopen after implementing policies that would ensure “Islamic principles are part of Afghanistan’s culture”.

Six months later, with no plan to reopen secondary schools for girls in the future, the government issued a new law banning girls and boys in Afghanistan from higher education.

The move prompted many researchers and experts around the world, including myself, to call on the Taliban leaders to reconsider their decision. We pointed it out “Depriving Afghan women of education will not help anyone” and laws against these teachings are against the very foundations of Islam.

Unfortunately, the Taliban did not listen. In March, exactly two years after a temporary ban on girls attending high schools and universities, another academic year in Afghanistan began without women and girls.

The hopes and dreams of teenage girls, who believed that the suspension of their education was indeed “temporary” and that they would return to their classrooms when things “improve”, must have started to fade.

As we enter the last week of Ramadan, it is a good time to think about the importance of not going back on a promise. Leaders who claim to fulfill God’s will are responsible for fulfilling the promise they made to millions of innocent Afghan schoolgirls who are oppressed and deprived of their God-given right to education.

The Taliban’s views on this matter are at odds with secular and religious views.

Afghanistan, a war-torn country just emerging from four decades of conflict, needs all hands on deck to pull the country out of the economic abyss it finds itself in.

The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in 2021 and the resulting uncertainty caused many Afghan professionals to leave, creating a critical brain drain. The last thing this country needed was for their new leaders to continue to disrupt and undermine any hope of recovery by excluding half of the population from participating in education, and thus the recovery effort.

Excluding girls from education is also at odds with the Taliban’s goal of a gender-separate culture.

How can women volunteer for medical care when there are no trained female doctors in the country? According to the World Health Organization, 24 women will die every day in Afghanistan from pregnancy or childbirth in 2020 – one of the highest rates in the world.

Although the numbers are a significant change from what happened in 2001 when the Taliban came to power, experts fear the situation could worsen, and the Taliban’s record of reducing women’s education in schools and universities is not helping either.

From a religious perspective, the Taliban leaders must realize that they are responsible before Allah SWT for pushing ignorance on the young generation so that they can claim their own victory.

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in their former avatar from 1996 to 2001, women’s education was banned across the country as were many forms of employment.

This time, the Taliban assured the people that they would do things differently and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past. The Afghans believed that. They put their trust in the Taliban.

This trust, “Amanah”, is something that the Taliban should appreciate and not destroy in pursuit of political gains.

A group that claims to be following the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Amin, should not appear to be breaking the Amana of the people.

The Taliban’s refusal to allow Afghan women and girls to re-educate is a serious mistake that prevents the government from gaining international recognition and finding reliable partners that can support the economic and infrastructure development of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s important geostrategic location has made it receive a lot of attention from major world and regional powers throughout its history. In many cases, this turns into a long conflict and leads to a security crisis that overshadows all international negotiations and dealings with Afghanistan.

If they want to bring stability and build a better future for the country, the Taliban should try to increase the international interest in Afghanistan beyond security and divert the attention of the world and the country to development issues.

Such a change would not only create the conditions for international activities and initiatives that would create jobs and alleviate the suffering of millions of Afghans living in difficult conditions but would also help end Afghanistan’s isolation and pave the way for integration. of the world.

By allowing another academic year to pass without solving the problem, the Kabul Government is showing a worrying lack of awareness of what should be a straightforward process to create conditions in which girls are allowed to return to school.

Therefore, it is showing to the outside world, including the Muslim world, that it cannot be trusted and is putting an end to any development that can end isolation.

Any further delay in this matter will undoubtedly reflect negatively locally, regionally, and internationally on the Taliban and their efforts to project Islam at work in today’s social problems.

It is time for the Taliban to resolve this grave problem and prove to its people and the world that it is a reliable leader, and one that cares for the future women and daughters of its nation.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect Al Jazeera’s influence.

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