The Musawah movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family and the peer-led network of human rights defenders, Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights (SAHR), jointly condemn in the strongest possible terms the Taliban’s decision to ban women and girls from studying at public and private universities in Afghanistan indefinitely, and the order to close schools for girls above the sixth grade.
Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Afghan women and girls have been fighting against this gross gender injustice in a series of policies and decrees issued by the Taliban that deliberately oppress, harm and deny Afghan women and girls their basic human rights which mandate access to formal education.
We reject the Taliban’s claim of preserving women’s “honour” in the name of Islam in its defence of this appalling act of denying girls and women access to schools, universities and centres of learning and education.
This is in complete contradiction with Shari’ah which embraces justice (‘adl), beauty (ihsan), kindness, the common good and wisdom. Any laws or policies that coerce and confine women and/or men to limit their freedom of will to practice their beliefs are in clear violation of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The first word and the first ayat of the Quran is read (iqra’). We emphasize that Islam guarantees the right to knowledge for all people and the Qur’an mandates its pursuit upon all believers. This reality is reflected in Muslim women’s long-standing contributions to Islamic tradition in a diverse array of disciplines and scientific advancement from algebra and chemistry to policy and literature.
The Qur’an notes that all human beings, men and women, are agents of Allah, charged with realizing Allah’s will on earth (Al-Ahzab 33:35). As human beings of equal worth and dignity, Afghan women and girls are entitled to exercise equal rights to public and political participation, equal access to economic resources, equality before the law, and full autonomy in the economic, social, cultural and political spheres of Afghan society.
We send our deepest solidarity to Afghan women and girls, who continue to organize and raise their voices against those who justify violence in the name of gender justice and/or faith.
Afghan women are being erased from society as their rights are being taken away one by one. We refuse to stay silent as we witness this oppression of our Afghan sisters and raise our voices in complete solidarity. We call on Muslim religious and political leaders around the world to strongly condemn the Taliban’s decision and take concrete steps to end the acts of injustice and harm on Afghan women and girls. We fully support and encourage you to join the #LetHerLearn campaign spearheaded by women’s rights activists from Afghanistan.
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