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Kabulpress comments on the Afghan government’s “Rape Law”

More evidence of re-Talibanization of Afghanistan/ Just as Karzai has said he will review the constitutionality of the Personal Status Law, so should Barack Obama and the United States Congress review the decision to send more troops and funds to support this Afghan government.

Thursday 9 April 2009, by Kamran Mir Hazar, Robert Maier

The world is appalled once again by the Afghan government. This time it relates to the recent passage of “The Afghan Shiite Personal Status Law,” which dictates all manner of restrictions on women including sexual activity within marriage, when they may leave their homes, and when they can be educated or employed. For people around the world, it recalls the darkest days of the Taliban when Mullah Omar and his gang of despots forbade women medical care, employment, education, and walking in public without a male escort.

The question on so many Western minds is: Why are billions of dollars and tens of thousands of military troops supporting a government that has so little regard for the world’s human rights conventions. Would the West be so generous to North Korea? Cuba? Iran? Somalia?

The truth behind the “Afghan Shiite Personal Status Law” is a story of manipulation by the autocrats that run the Afghan government. It goes well beyond the reasons for global outrage now aimed at Afghanistan. Consider the following:

The law consists of approximately 250 detailed restrictions that apply to Shia only, and invade their personal privacy. It is so-called “Sharia Law” written by Mullahs with alleged dark pasts of violence, human rights violations and perverted sexual activities.

The law as a tool of oppression against Hazara Shia

95% of the Afghan Shia minority are ethnic Hazaras, and Hazaras have no desire for Islamic Sharia Law. These Sharia Laws were written by the Afghan Pashtun Sunni majority to restrict and discriminate against the Hazara Shia. These laws were written by the same people who created and promoted the Taliban thirty-five years ago, and have re-gained control of the Afghan government from the Presidency to the Parliament to the Supreme Court. The German News outlet, Deutche Welle, recently quoted a Taliban spokesperson congratulating the Afghan government for passing the law.

The Afghan Shia have historically supported basic human rights and equality of the sexes. Such personally invasive statutes contradict the beliefs and actions of the progressive, democracy-minded Afghan Hazara Shia culture.

Afghanistan’s only woman governor is a Shia Hazara. Afghanistan’s only woman mayor is a Shia Hazara. The head of the Afghan Human Rights Commission is a Shia Hazara. The only woman to reach the finals in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol,” Tolo-TV’s “Afghan Star” was a Shia Hazara woman. Hazaras women do not wear full-body covering burkas. Hazaras support women’s education, employment, property ownership, and equality in marriage. Its culture promotes literacy for all, free speech, artists, poets and musicians. It supports religious diversity and welcomed Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. The destruction in 2001 by the Taliban of the Bamiyan Buddah sculptures, which were on Hazara land, was a pointed strike against the cultural tolerance of the Hazara.

The Hazara Shia have been a targeted by the Pashtun Sunni for hundreds of years. Under the Sunni majority—as in Iran—the Hazara Shia have been subject to genocide, forced immigration, theft of their property, the kidnapping of their women to be sold as sex slaves, and been denied education, employment and travel.

The Hazara Shia are such strong supporters of democracy, because they have been so victimized by Islamic theocracies. They want nothing to do with Sharia. Leading Hazara Shia Mullahs convened in Kabul during discussions regarding the Personal Status Laws, and rejected them completely. They were ignored by Karzai and the Parliament, even though the Hazara Mullahs represented 95% of the people affected by the law.

The most extreme Sunni Mullah theocrats view the Shia not as Muslims, but as infidels who should be killed, have their property confiscated, and women enslaved.

The dark history of Ayatollah M. Asef Mohseni, promoter of the law

Mullah M. Asef Mohseni, an elderly white-bearded ayatollah, who blames the spread of AIDS on soap operas and music videos on Afghan TV, has been the primary proponent of the Personal Status Law. He is ironically a Shia, but is from Pashtun Kandahar, the cradle of the Taliban, and represents the 5% of the Iranian- related Shia who are much closer to their theocratic Sunni Pashtun brethren than the democracy-oriented Hazara. To say this is a Shia-motivated law is a fraud.

Mohseni’s past has aligned closely with the Taliban and been supported by Iran’s theocracy. He is an example of how far the Afghan government leans toward Taliban rule. Mohseni was the leader of the military mujahidin group Harkat-e-Islami during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He allied with Gulbaden Hekmatyar and the warlords who wrote the 1993 Afghan constitution which led to the near destruction of Afghanistan and rise of the Taliban.

Mohseni and his puritanical militia were accused of war crimes during and after the Afghan Civil War. He has repeatedly stated his opposition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He has fought against women’s rights and free speech initiatives in Afghanistan. He supported the Taliban movement and urged Shia not to resist it. Mohseni heartily approves of a man’s having four wives, and he promotes the right of elderly men to marry young girls— with no age restriction.

Mohseni’s own sexual abuse controversy

During the Afghan Civil War, Mohseni became the focus of a public controversy when one of his field commanders sent his ten year old sister to Mohseni to be instructed in the Koran. The commander was later killed, and many claim Mohseni was involved— after Mohseni married the girl when she turned fourteen. Numerous documents discussed this controversy, including a television news program.

The West re-examining it’s support of Karzai in light of re-Talibanization of Afghanistan

It is obvious that this Personal Status Law was written by the Afghan Parliament to codify Taliban-like restrictions on the unwilling Hazara Shia. It was promoted, written, and signed by autocrats in the Afghan government who have historically oppressed the democratically-minded Hazara Shia. It is another step in the second Talibanization of Afghanistan that has included many other internationally recognized violations of human rights, and violates many human rights tenets of the Afghan Constitution.

Perhaps this is the one step too far and mirrors the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddahs that finally woke the West to the moral bankruptcy of the Taliban. Given this and other recent government actions, which have included imprisoning journalists, gagging the media, ignoring widespread political corruption, embezzlement, and drug running, it is not surprising that the EU and NATO are now resisting sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Just as Karzai has said he will review the constitutionality of the Personal Status Law, so should Barack Obama and the United States Congress review the wisdom of sending more troops and funds to support this Afghan government.

If the new military initiatives are being undertaken to prevent a Taliban takeover, perhaps it should be considered that the Taliban have already taken over. The sad evidence is mounting. It is time to stop feeding the fire with gasoline, and start putting it out.

Forum posts

  • Hazaras: Afghanistan’s Outsiders

    Set apart by geography and beliefs, oppressed by the Taliban, the Hazara people could be Afghanistan’s best hope.

    By Phil Zabriskie
    Photograph by Steve McCurry

    At the heart of Afghanistan is an empty space, a striking absence, where the larger of the colossal Bamian Buddhas once stood. In March 2001 the Taliban fired rockets at the statues for days on end, then planted and detonated explosives inside them. The Buddhas had looked out over Bamian for some 1,500 years. Silk Road traders and missionaries of several faiths came and went. Emissaries of empires passed through—Mongols, Safavids, Moguls, British, Soviets—often leaving bloody footprints. A country called Afghanistan took shape. Regimes rose and collapsed or were overthrown. The statues stood through it all. But the Taliban saw the Buddhas simply as non-Islamic idols, heresies carved in stone. They did not mind being thought brutish. They did not fear further isolation. Destroying the statues was a pious assertion of their brand of faith over history and culture.

    It was also a projection of power over the people living under the Buddhas’ gaze: the Hazaras, residents of an isolated region in Afghanistan’s central highlands known as Hazarajat—their heartland, if not entirely by choice. Accounting for up to one-fifth of Afghanistan’s population, Hazaras have long been branded outsiders. They are largely Shiite Muslims in an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim country. They have a reputation for industriousness yet work the least desirable jobs. Their Asian features—narrow eyes, flat noses, broad cheeks—have set them apart in a de facto lower caste, reminded so often of their inferiority that some accept it as truth. more....

    View online : Hazaras: Afghanistan’s Outsiders

  • It’s such a shame that backward people like Mr. Mohseni and his followers, terrified that women might get out of grip, still treat them as personal possessions. It’s simply disgusting, inhuman, shamefull, degrading, primitive, and international pressure and women’s own pressure from inside Afganistan, together with ONGs must fight for theirs rights and abolish this absurd law. It was simply created to oppress women.

    Sex inside marriage is something that should not be regulated by law. Please ask Mr. Mohseni what would he feel like if the law were the other way round: men would only be allowed to have sex when their wives chose to, even if that meant once a year !!!

  • mr muhseni and other religouse leader are trained and then send it to
    Afghanistan by CIA and American to destroy this country from head to tail .

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