KABUL: Former President Hamid Karzai said that the Burqa is not the Afghan culture and it has come to Afghanistan probably 200-300 years ago, and countryside women don’t wear” it.
In an interview with CNN, Karzai said that covering faces is not Hijab and the use of the Burqa is not Afghan tradition.
The former President was also critical of the Islamic Emirate’s decision to ban female students in grades 7-12 and said that the Afghan people will never accept the decision to ban girls from going to the school.
According to Karzai, the “unfortunate” decision about the girls’ schools “hurt Afghanistan deeply.”
“The issue of girls’ education is fundamental for the dignity of Afghanistan, therefore, there is no compromise, therefore the call is very clear on the Taliban government and the current government. That the Afghan people will never accept that decision. That the best for them and country is to have girls back to school as soon as possible,” Karzai said “… I denounce it in the strongest word and want the Taliban to allow girls go back to school as soon as possible–tomorrow… and I could be stronger than that.”
He said that Afghanistan has been a Muslim country for 1400 years and that the covering of the face isn’t Hijab but a tradition “in some countries, not Afghan tradition.”
The Afghan tradition is a “huge chador, a huge scarf on the head,” he said.
When asked if the new decision of the Islamic Emirate regarding covering the faces of female presenters on TV should be obeyed, he responded:
“No, they shouldn’t, no they shouldn’t because that has got nothing to do with Hijab- that has got nothing to do Afghan culture either. They should not obey this. The Taliban leadership must resent this decision, whoever made this decision. It hurts Afghanistan, it hurts Afghanistan’s reputation, and it is not Afghan at all.”
The former president has repeatedly called for the reopening of girls’ schools beyond grade six.