Women protesting in Kabul were attacked by Taliban fighters near the presidential palace on Saturday. Eyewitnesses reported that they used tear gas and beat women protesting for equal rights and democracy. They had signs that read, among other things: “We are not the women of the ’90s.”
The Taliban ruled the reign of terror in the years 1996-2001, and in their version of Islamic law, women were virtually denied the right to vote and had no access to education or work.
The current Taliban are still radical Sunnis, but they have tried to appear conciliatory after the sudden fall of the capital, Kabul. They argued that women’s rights should be respected according to their interpretation of Islamic texts.
Most scholars of Islamic law agree that the founder of the religion Muhammad (570-632) revolutionized women’s rights in his day. But Islamic law has since been interpreted quite differently, usually at the expense of women’s legal status. The Taliban version of 20 years ago turned women into second-class citizens who could no longer be a part of public life. The Taliban leader, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanik, who is expected to serve in the new government, said recently that women will play a role in society.
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