Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Reminder About Who We Are Fighting and Why

If you have forgotten what and who we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) will be happy to remind you. What follows is a list of the laws enacted by the Taliban (especially those that applied to women) while they were in control of Afghanistan. Remember, the Taliban was inspired by Saudi Wahhabism and were in essential harmony with the beliefs and ambitions of bin Laden's al-Qaeda. The Sunni Islamists desire to instill THIS version of Sharia (Islamic Law) on every nation they can subdue . . . including Western Europe and the United States.

Read the following list of "laws" and be reminded as to who we are fighting, what we are fighting and why. It is far more than a "War on Terrorism." It is a war against THIS:

Taliban restrictions and mistreatment of women include the:

1- Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.

2- Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).

3- Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.

4- Ban on women being treated by male doctors.

5- Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)

6- Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.

7- Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.

8- Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.

9- Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage. (A number of lovers are stoned to death under this rule).

10- Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).

11- Ban on women talking or shaking hands with non-mahram males.

12- Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).

13- Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)

14- Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.

15- Ban on women's presence in radio, television or public gatherings of any kind.

16- Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.

17- Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.

18- Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."

19- Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.

20- Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.

21- Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".

22- Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

23- Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.

24- Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.

25- Ban on female public baths.

26- Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").

27- Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.

28- Ban on the photographing or filming of women.

29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.

Apart from the above restrictions on women, the Taliban has:

- Banned listening to music, not only for women but men as well.

- Banned the watching of movies, television and videos, for everyone.

- Banned celebrating the traditional new year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban has proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.

- Disavowed Labor Day (May 1st), because it is deemed a "communist" holiday.

- Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.

- Forced haircuts upon Afghan youth.

- Ordered that men wear Islamic clothes and a cap.

- Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.

- Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.

- Banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. The violators will be imprisoned and the birds shall be killed. The kite flying has also been stopped.

- Ordered all onlookers, while encouraging the sportsmen, to chant Allah-o-Akbar (God is great) and refrain from clapping.

- Ban on certain games including kite flying which is "un-Islamic" according to Taliban.

- Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.

- Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.

- All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".

- Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.

- Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.

And so on...

How interesting to think how many of these rules were broken by Jesus as he spoke with women in public and enjoyed friendships with them both within and outside his circle of disciples.

How interesting to consider the words of the Apostle Paul,
All who have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus.
In the Christian faith men and women seek to experience mutual submission in marriage as also taught by Paul (based on the example of Jesus).

The Jewish and Christian scriptures clearly teach that women and men are equally created in the image of God. Clearly they play different roles and these differences pose many challenges that need to be culturally as well as spiritually addressed.

Even so, it is the clear understanding of the United States and its Foundational Documents that
all men (now clearly understood to mean 'all human beings') are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness . . .
Sharia, as understood by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and every other radical Islamist sect or group (including the Shi'a Islamists operating out of Iran) is in direct opposition to our Western understanding of human rights and freedoms.

Personally, I will never be at peace as long as one woman or one girl lives under this evil form of oppression. It is a violation against God's plan of creation. Under the guise of the "Law of Allah" it is, in fact, blasphemy for a Christian or a Jew.

My Presbyterian heritage states,
That truth is in order to goodness, and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness, according to our Savior's rule, "By their fruits ye shall know them" And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, we are pursuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise, it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.(Book of Order G.10304)
It is indeed of consequence what a man's (sic) opinions are.

The proof of this is clearly seen in the Taliban's view of women.