Brief Outline of Afghanistan History:
1910’s-1920’s : Reform movements in Afghanistan
1933-1973 : Some reform, country remains fairly static
1978-1992 : Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
1979-1989 : Soviet Intervention
1992-1996: Islamist Mujanidin
1996-2001 : Taliban
2001-Present : U.S. Occupation, new government
The reason I chose to study Islamic Feminism and Afghanistan, is that for many people, these words do not belong in the same sentence. Afghanistan has come to be recognized as a country that follows strict and fundamentalist Islam, hindering the lives of women and even damaging their lives. Since I entered high school, Afghanistan has been known to me and my generation as a country ruled by the Taliban. Many of the stereotypes and stigmas Westerners put on conservative Islam stem from the images our media has covered regarding the Taliban rule. First, I will go through a brief explanation and summary of the Taliban organization to gain a framework.
The Taliban is an Islamic movement, which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996-2001. Most of the leaders, including the founder of the movement, Mullah Mohammed Omar, were simple Islamic religious scholars with limited education and little exposure to modern thought in the Islamic community. However, the word Taliban translates from the language of Pashtun to mean: religious students. After the fall of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1992, Afghanistan fell into trouble. The Taliban emerged at this time as a force that brought order to the chaos. Economic, social and political benefits came about because of the Taliban, which gained popularity for the group and for the movement. The United States was...
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...e. She announced on international television that her participation in this contest was a celebration of freedom and a message that Afghan women no longer must cower in submission (Newsday, Nov. 2003).
Also, in the 2002 state of the union address, President Bush honored Afghan woman Sima Samar for acting as a true Muslim Feminist. Samar, 46-year-old physician, operated secret clinics and schools for women despite death threats from Taliban. She was appointed Afghanistan’s first minister for women’s affairs, but had to resign due to death threats from conservative clerics. She is now the head of Afghanistan’s human rights commission, though she is under 24-hour watch by body guards, Samar publicly announces her belief that Islam does not promote lack of respect for women. She leads as a wonderful example that women can be leaders in Afghanistan, even post-Taliban.
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