Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Afghanistan)

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The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan (Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi An al-Munkar) was in charge of implementing Islamic rules as defined by the Taliban. It was first instituted by the 1992 Rabbani regime, and adopted by the Taliban when they took power in 1996.[1]

History[edit]

Established in 1996, the vice and virtue ministry received heavy subsidies and training from Saudi Arabia. When the Taliban took over Kabul, the committe announced a ban on sorcery and American-style haircuts[2] It was closed when the Talibans were ousted, but Shinwari, an outspoken advocate of orthodoxy and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan reinstated it in 2003, and renamed it the Ministry for Haj and Religious Affairs.[3]

In 2006 the Karzai regime submitted draft legislation to create a new department, under the Ministry for Haj and Religious Affairs, devoted to the "Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice".[1] . According to Ghazi Suleiman Hamed, Deputy Minister for Haj and Religious Affairs, the new Department would operate more benignly than the Taliban version.[1] The minister of Haj and religious affairs Nematullah Shahrani stated that the new department would focus on alcohol, drugs, crime and corruption, even though Afghanistan’s criminal laws already addressed these issues. According to Human Rights Watch, reinstating the virtue and vice department would have a negative impact on women rights, a major lever of development for the country.[4] Shukria Barakzai, a member of Afghanistan's National Legislature, saw in this draft legislation a reminiscing legacy of the Taliban era.[1] Felice D. Gaer, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, stated that the USA expressed a strong opposition to reinstatement of the ministry of virtue and vice, calling it a violation to religious freedom rights.[5]

Description[edit]

In the book Taliban by Ahmed Rashid, the ministry is referred to as the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Maulvi Qalamuddin, the head of the ministry during the Taliban era, preferred the English translation Department of Religious Observances.[6]

The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan was in charge of implementing Islamic rules (Hanafi principles) as defined by the Taliban. Its religious police raided the streets arresting women not fully covered and people listening to music.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Golnaz Esfandiari (2006-07-18). "Afghanistan: Proposed Morality Department Recalls Taliban Times". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  2. ^ Steve Coll (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin. ISBN 9781594200076. 
  3. ^ Claudio Franco (2004-12-07). "Despite Karzai election, Afghan conservatives soldier on". Eurasianet. Archived from the original on 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Afghanistan: Vice and Virtue Department Could Return". Htw.org. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "Afghanistan: Return of Religious Police a Step Backward". Uscirf.gov. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  6. ^ Rashid, Ahmed. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Yale University Press: New Haven, Connecticut. 2000. 105. ISBN 0-300-08340-8.
  7. ^ Golnaz Esfandiari (18 July 2006). "Afghanistan: Proposed Morality Department Recalls Taliban Times". Rferl.org. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 

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