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Banners promoting women dress code spark backlash

AT News

KABUL: Recently, a cleric in western Herat had banners installed across the city promoting strict Muslim hijab for women. And since the unveiling, Mawlawi Mujib Rahman Ansari has received a flurry of backlash from the public.

Ansari, head of Herat’s Gozargah mosque and a prominent cleric in Herat city, has always been critical of women’s dress code and has been seen threatening to take matters into his own hands if authorities failed to address an increasing disregard to compulsory hijab.

No reaction has so far been reported from the government of Afghanistan, which prides itself on promoting modern values and women’s achievements.

But, some across the country have criticized the cleric on social media for his move toward extremism and misogyny in these politically tense times. Women have called on the government and law enforcement agencies to prevent from the plague of fundamentalism and misogyny across Herat city.

A female student in Herat lashed out at cleric Rahmani’s self-styled promotion of Hijab and said that “such behavior emanating from a religious scholar is sinister in an Afghanistan which is a misogynist and patriarchic society”.

Some scholars heaped scorns on the controversial banners, arguing such vulgar and hideous homilies will not do anybody any good, rather they will tarnish belief in religion and scholars and promote violence.

This is not the first time Rahmani has called for strict hijab. In a Friday sermon, he had said women should stay at home and refrain from outing except for emergency situations. In his other sermons, he said most women will end up in hell.

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