Laws, rules and regulations aside: what's with these Taliban
guys? Are they worried they have so little control of themselves that if
they saw a woman walking down the street with her ankles (let alone her
knees!) showing, they'd all immediately scamper down the street after her
like a pack of dogs, attempting on all fours to sniff her ass?
Is it mass priapism? Sexual arousal without end that can't risk even the
slightest intimation of female sexuality, lest dire
Or, more seriously, is it that all their laws, rules and regulations
governing women are one more, in this case in extremis example of
insecure men fashioning a system to exert control over women? A system that
purports to be divinely based, and therefore impossible to challenge. And,
therefore, a system which can mandate death to any who oppose it.
Be assured, this is not an attack on the religion of Islam.
Islam contains many beautiful elements.
But let's face it, none of the world's major religions can be seen as the
be-all and end-all of morality. As far as I know, not one of them
unequivocally states that human slavery is wrong and therefore forbidden.
When written down long ago, the moral rules established in these religions
may have been advances over the moral rules then extant. But at least in
certain areas, the average human consciousness has gone way beyond holy
Similarly, certain rules, regulations, or "laws" of these
religions may also have become outmoded. Such would be the case were Islam
to really mandate the Taliban-like strictures on women.
But since the Taliban interpretation of Islam is not accepted by the vast
majority of the world's Muslims, it seems fair to say that the Taliban are
distorting, not upholding, the essentials of Islam.
So what? Can't people establish whatever religious
rules and rituals they want?
Sure, up to a point. If someone said that the only way to find God is to
stand on one's head eating strawberries while someone places radishes
between your toes, fine. Let them do it to their heart's content.
Who are we to say that even the most outlandish rule or ritual is not the
true course to divine knowledge? All such rules and rituals, and the persons
following or performing them, should be accorded the utmost respect and
But a forbidden point is crossed when either of two things occurs:
First, even a benign rule that in itself does no harm is wrong when
another is forced to observe it. So it's not, in itself, terribly harmful to
have a requirement that men not shave and grow beards. But it's wrong to
force all men to grow beards.
If you want to have a society which mandates observance of a set of
religious laws, then go somewhere with your followers and set up such a
society. But don't impose such a system on others for whom these religious
laws are nothing more than dictatorial fiats.
Second, and more seriously, is when the religious rules are inherently
harmful to those upon whom they are applied. In other words, does that rule
or law inherently require the denial of the fundamental human rights of a
Such would be the case with forbidding women to go to school or to work.
Besides crushing the aspirations of half of humanity, serious physical harm
occurs. For example, at one point, the Taliban system forbid male
doctors to treat female patients, and made it extremely difficult for female
doctors to work, or for their patients to see them. So the vast majority of
women were left without any medical care!
Even were a woman to voluntarily submit to such a system, it's inherently
harmful in its effect on children, especially girls, raised to believe in
the validity of their having such a severely curtailed role in life.
Could a God who is our Father really want half his children to cause the
other half to suffer so terribly?
And any discussion of the Taliban dictatorship would be incomplete
without mentioning who is most to blame for the plight of Afghanis subject
to the Taliban yoke: none other than the United States. The Taliban, along
with other mujahideen, received indispensable weapons, training and other
wherewithal from the U.S. government in order to allow the Taliban to fight
against, and ultimately kick out, Soviet forces which were occupying
Afghanistan at the time.
No rational person would hold any brief for life under Soviet occupation.
Yet had the Taliban never fought, Afghanistan would have become free of
Soviet control when the Soviet Union collapsed. No one can be sure of what
would have happened in Afghanistan at that point, but it's hard to imagine
that the result would have been worse than the current Taliban dictatorship.