Taliban targeting of girls school in eastern province stands against Islamic tradition

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SHAFAQNA – At least three schoolgirls have lost their lives and eight others sustained injuries in a mortar attack by the Taliban militant group in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost.

The Afghan Ministry of Education announced in a statement that a mortar round slammed into a primary school in the Bak district of the province, which is located some 140 kilometers (87 miles) southeast of the capital, Kabul, on Monday.

Taliban militants have banned female education in the areas where they hold sway, depriving thousands of girls of their right to education. The number of girls enrolled in schools has dramatically dropped in those regions due to the threats as well as actual attacks.

It is crucial to understand here that the Taliban is pursuing a policy which stands in opposition and negation of Islamic tradition. Islam encouraged both men and women to get an education.

And Allah taught Adam all the names…” (2:31)

The first verses of the Quran began with the word:

“Read. Read in the name of thy Lord who created; [He] created the human being from blood clot. Read in the name of thy Lord who taught by the pen: [He] taught the human being what he did not know.”(96: 1-5).

And: “Are those who have knowledge equal to those who do not have knowledge?!”(39:9).

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi said at a conference in 1993 at the First Annual Conference of the Ahlu ‘l-bayt Assembly of North America: “The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) has also empha­sized the importance of seeking knowl­edge in different ways:

(a) Time: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”

(b) Place: “Seek knowledge even if it is far as China.”

(c) Gender: “Seeking of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim”

(d) Source: “Wisdom is the lost prop­erty of the believer, he should take it even if finds it in the mouth of amushrik.”

The Prophet did not only preach about importance of knowledge, he also gave examples of promoting knowledge. In the very first battle between the Muslims and unbelievers or Mecca, known as the war of Badr, the Muslims gain victory and caught seventy kuffars as prisoners of war. One of the criteria of releasing the POWs devised by the Prophet was that those who were literate among the pris­oners could go free if they teach ten Mus­lim children how to read and write.”

The framework of Islamic thought represents a comprehensive view of life and the universe.  A Muslim is therefore required to acquire both religious and worldly knowledge.  In fact, Islam advocated knowledge at a time when the whole world was engulfed in ignorance.  In a matter of years the early generation of Muslims became a learned and refined people, for Islam had awakened in them the faculty of intellect.  Those early Muslims understood from the teachings of their religion that useful knowledge is necessary for the benefit of the self and of humanity.  Hence, they pursued it to such a degree that they surpassed other nations in development and productivity and carried the torch of civilization for many centuries.

Muslim history abounds with examples of scientific and cultural ingenuity.  Muslims inherited the knowledge of the nations that came before them, developed it and placed it in the context of a precise moral framework.  Muslim scholarship made a vital contribution to the enrichment and advancement of human civilization.

While Europe was still in the dark ages, religious Muslims were making great advances in the fields of medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, literature, and history documentation to mention but a few.  Many important new procedures were transmitted to medieval Europe from Muslim regions, such as Arabic numerals with the principle of the zero vital to the advancement of mathematics and the use of algebra.  Sophisticated instruments, including the astrolabe and the quadrant, as well as good navigational maps, were first developed by Muslims.  Only after people lost sight of their religious beliefs and obligations did the scientific achievements of the Muslim world cease and fall into obscurity.

Similarly, Islam does not now oppose any modern inventions that are beneficial to mankind.  It is sufficient that they be used in the name of God and for His cause.  In reality, machines, instruments and devices have no religion or homeland.  They can be used for either good or bad objectives, and the way they are used can affect much of the earth’s population.  Even something so simple as a glass can be filled either with a nourishing drink or with a poison.  Television can provide education or immorality.  It is up to the user to decide, and a Muslim is commanded to make good use of all the means at his disposal while being prohibited from causing harm to himself or others.  Failure to use the proper means toward benefit is, in effect, a deprecation of Islamic teachings.

The Taliban has warned Afghan parents against sending their daughters to school. The extremists have destroyed tens of schools over the past several years.

Also, hundreds of thousands of children in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar cannot go to school due to the presence of Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the area.

The spokesman for Nangarhar’s Directorate of Education, Mohammad Asif, said Daesh extremists have forced the closure of 58 schools, leaving some 300,000 boys and girls out of classrooms.

Nangarhar has been witnessing a rise in the presence of Daesh terrorists in at least seven of its districts in recent months.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity nearly 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Although the 2001 attack overthrew the Taliban, many areas across Afghanistan still face violence and insecurity.

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