[Editor’s note: Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s masterpiece contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban, turns out to be an Afghan Chris Rock. On Sunday, he released a message asserting, contrary to all appearances, that his government is working to improve the condition of women in Afghanistan. The very fact that the condition of women in Afghanistan needs improving is all the evidence we need to establish that Akhundzada is not being entirely honest since the condition of women in Afghanistan is largely due to the actions of the Taliban. Akhundzada is apparently trying to capitalize upon the ignorance of Westerners in order to keep the foreign aid flowing, and given European and American officials’ eagerness to be fooled, it just might work.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that Akundzada’s message claimed “that his government has taken the necessary steps for the betterment of women’s lives in Afghanistan,” regardless of the fact that “women are banned from public life and work and girls’ education is severely curtailed.”
The shadowy Akhundzada, whom AP says is “an Islamic scholar” who “rarely appears in public or leaves the Taliban heartland in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province” and who “surrounds himself with other religious scholars and allies who oppose education and work for women,” said in his message for the upcoming Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha that under Taliban rule, women have been freed from “many traditional oppressions, including forced marriages, ‘and their Shariah rights have been protected.’”
That’s cold comfort. Under Sharia, men are superior to women and should beat those from whom they “fear disobedience” (Qur’an 4:34). Sharia also stipulates that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man (Qur’an 2:282). It allows men to marry up to four wives and have sex with slave girls also (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). Women have no equivalent right.
Sharia also rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter (Qur’an 4:11). It even allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (Qur’an 65:4). Islamic law devalues women to the extent that it says a man’s prayer is annulled if a dog or a woman passes in front of him as he is praying. (Sahih Bukhari 1.9.490).
As the Taliban adheres strictly to Sharia, being barred from getting an education and holding a job is the least of their worries. Akhundzada, however, insists in his Eid letter that “necessary steps have been taken for the betterment of women as half of society in order to provide them with a comfortable and prosperous life according to the Islamic Shariah.”
A comfortable and prosperous life? Really? Akhundzada “appears to have taken a stronger hand in directing domestic policy, banning girls’ education after the sixth grade and barring Afghan women from public life and work, especially for nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations.” These bans are viciously enforced: one Afghan earlier this month registered his disapproval of girls getting even a primary school education by poisoning eighty girls at two schools in a northern Afghan province.
Even before they were fully ensconced in power, the Taliban made their opposition to women working quite clear. Last May, Khatera Hashmi, a woman who briefly served as an Afghan police officer, recounted her ordeal at the hands of the Taliban, “I made the decision to join the Afghan police. The Taliban started calling and threatening me due to their opposition to a woman being police personnel. The incident happened in the early months of 2020 when the Taliban were rapidly advancing to take over Afghanistan. I was pregnant at that time. One day, when I was walking home from the police station, they attacked me. My body was struck by 9 bullets, in addition to 10 knife stabs. They also cut out my eyes after I passed out. When I awoke five days later, everything was pitch black. I had absolutely no vision. I was only able to work as a police officer for three months, and I wasn’t even able to view my first paycheck.”
Banking on your not knowing about such incidents, Akhundzada declared, “The status of women as a free and dignified human being has been restored and all institutions have been obliged to help women in securing marriage, inheritance and other rights.” Akhundzada has some job security: if for whatever reason his Taliban gig falls through, he can always hit the comedy club circuit. But what he’s really trying to do is keep the aid money flowing in.
The UN just cut a billion dollars from the humanitarian aid it sends to Afghanistan, and with good reason since most aid money sent there ends up in the hands of the Taliban. Old Joe Biden and his henchmen, however, are still sending hundreds of millions of our money to Kabul. With a man as dedicated to human rights as Hibatullah Akhundzada in charge, what could possibly go wrong?