The Sunday Review
Experts fear that the Taliban will order Afghan judges to enforce their interpretation of Sharia Law. This could lead to further violations of human rights.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Alaiqadar Amirul Momineen made the “obligatory” After meeting with judges, command “investigate the cases of thieves, kidnappers, and seditionists.”
“Those cases that have met all the Shariah conditions of limitation and retribution, you are obliged to issue the limitation and retribution, because this is the order of the Sharia… and it is obligatory to act,” Sunday, Mujahid tweeted
Kaheld Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic Law at UCLA and one of the world’s leading authorities on Sharia law, told The Sunday Review there’s a rich history of debate on the laws of Sharia and various interpretations of their meaning.
“Every point of law you’ll find 10 different opinions … Sharia is very open-ended,” He stated.
Sharia law is Islamic jurisprudence. “search for the divine will,” The Sunday Review was told by El Fadl. “Although, both in Western and native discourses, it is common to use Sharia interchangeably with Islamic law, Sharia is a much broader and all encompassing concept, according to a statement from El Fadl’s website.
The Taliban’s hardline implementation of the doctrine when the group was last in power from 1996 to 2001 included violent punishments, such as public executions, stoning, floggings and amputations.
El Fadl said that within the 1400-year tradition of Sharia, those punishments were rarely implemented because the majority of Islamic jurists throughout history didn’t interpret the law the way the Taliban currently does. “The Taliban have a particular approach to Sharia that one cannot ignore,” El Fadl said. “Anyone who doesn’t fit their definition can be possibly put to death.”
The Taliban took power in August and tried to present a more moderate image in order to gain international support. However, they have been tightening their grip on rights and freedoms over the past months.
Afghanistan’s women cannot work in all sectors, and they must be accompanied by a male guardian to travel long distances. Girls are prohibited from going back to secondary school.
Last week, women were stopped from entering amusement parks in the capital Kabul after the Taliban’s morality ministry said women’s access to public parks would be restricted.
During the group’s first stint in power, the Taliban banned most forms of music as un-Islamic, and this August, in echoes of the policy, Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi was dragged from his home and killed.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, told The Sunday Review the Taliban’s recent announcement regarding Sharia law was “worrying.”
“Since they took over as de facto authority, we expect them to abide by their promise to uphold existing human rights commitments made in Afghanistan,” Haq stated. “They have not been living up to the commitments. We will continue to press them on this. We are opposed to death penalty in all its forms.”
The security situation in the country has also deteriorated since the group’s takeover last year, with the nation growing increasingly isolated and impoverished.
The United Nations estimates that nearly half the population suffers from severe hunger. An estimated 43% of Afghanistan’s population is living on less than one meal a day, with 90% of Afghans surveyed reporting food as their primary need, according to a May report by the International Rescue Committee.