A news report from CNN says that Taliban leaders are instructing Afghanistan’s religious police “to be more moderate,” although Christian leaders point out that the Taliban’s approach still amounts to religious tyranny.
“We [act] with accordance to Sharia law,” Mawlavi Abdullah Mohammad, director of the Ministry of the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, told CNN. “Firstly, we inform people about good deeds. We preach to them and deliver the message to them in a nice way; the second time we repeat to them, again; the third time we speak to them slightly harshly.”
Mohammad told reporters that the Taliban has issued a new booklet that gives guidelines for religious police. “We abide by laws and rules,” he said. “We give advice, but to grab someone’s hand, to beat him up, to send them notice or to send them a warning letter, is against the Emirate’s policy. If anyone has done this, it is a self-assertive act.”
Matias Perttula, director of advocacy for International Christian Concern, points out that Taliban claims of moderation ring hollow.
“While the Taliban can tell the world that their approach to enforcing their extremist views on Islam will be moderate, the fact remains that they are still enforcing it on all people regardless of their religious disposition,” Perttula said. “This is religious tyranny. The people of Afghanistan deserve better. The Christians of Afghanistan deserve better. All religious minorities and those who disagree with the Taliban deserve better. Being nice at first makes no difference if, in the end, they force it on all who don’t want to live under their extremist Sharia dictates.”
Meanwhile, Mission Network News (MNN) reports that the Taliban is limiting media access, including access to Christian websites. But Christians are doing their best to get around the restrictions, in some cases finding ways to put sites back online that the government has taken down. MNN also notes that satellite television cannot be blocked, and Christians can exchange videos and other files through Bluetooth without connecting to the Internet.
Above: Afghans gather outside the passport office in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 6, after Taliban officials announced they would start issuing passports to its citizens again.
Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Alamy Stock Photo