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Taliban defy world outcry. . .
By Zafarul-Islam Khan

Afghanistan seems to have unlimited capacity to surprise the world. First they, with the help of many, including the CIA, defeated one of the superpowers leading to its disintegration and emergence of the other superpower as the sole master of the world. As soon as they made it to Kabul they started fighting each other to the point of bombarding their own capital. Outsiders thought that once the Taliban emerged as victors the internecine tribal and clan-based war will end, but no, that war continues and the new regime refuses any compromise with other powers on the Afghani soil. As a result of the on-going war and turmoil millions of Afghanis are still living as refugees in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran while another one million are facing slow death due to starvation inside their own country according to UN estimates. The Taliban regime could end the country’s misery quickly by coming to terms with its adversaries but several meetings in Pakistan and elsewhere have proved futile due to Taliban’s refusal to compromise and share power.

Drug cultivation and trafficking is another problem area which blemishes the Taliban record as poppy farming is said to be regarded as permissible under Islam! Another problem area is Taliban’s support of terrorism in neighbouring countries under a misguided notion of ‘Jihad.’ This is further complicated by giving shelter to Usama Ben Laden and his men who are wanted by many for their acts of terrorism including his own country Saudi Arabia which was one of only three countries in the world which recognized the Taliban regime. Their refusal to hand him over for trial has led Riyadh to derecongnize the Kabul regime.

Now, as if all this misery was not enough for Afghanistan whose majority has not seen anything in their lives save war and destruction, came the edict to destroy ‘idols’ in order to purify the country of all manifestations of shirk! The act is justified by Prophet Abraham’s destruction of idols and the Prophet’s destruction of the idols in the House of Allah in Makkah after its conquest in 8H (629 CE) This justification is utterly misplaced for many reasons including the fact that Muslims in Afghanistan were not worshipping these idols and there was no fear that this could happen ever and that the Prophet destroyed the idols that were later placed in the mosque Abraham built and there was no question to retain them once all Makkans embraced Islam. Islam gives iron-clad guarantees to the Ahl al-dhimmah, non-Muslims in a Muslim state, to worship their gods and to retain their places of worship. This right is enshrined in the Shari’ah and was actively practiced all these centuries. The temples, synagogues and churches found in the world of Islam, stretching from Morocco to Indonesia are living testimony to this fact. Many of these lands were conquered during the time of the Rightly Guided caliphs who allowed the conquered people to retain their places of worship and idols. There are religious minorities in Afghanistan which respect the ‘idols’ Taliban are destroying utterly violating their religious rights. Moreover, there are millions of people around the world who hold those statues in respect; others consider them part of the common world heritage. This act is wrong both in the light of the teachings of Islam and goes against the world brotherhood and harmony which we must seek with other countries, peoples and nations. It destroys the goodwill which each country has to enjoy and afford others in a world which is a large village today.

It was due to this sense of alarm and outrage that the MG took the initiative to issue a statement by leading Muslim intellectuals from all over the world (p. 3). The text was prepared and consent obtained via telephone and email within 24 hours before its release late on 3 March.

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