Picture is showing Female journalist interviewing Afghan Taliban Spokes Person Sohail Shaheen

Some issues are real, but many are concocted to get attention or to propagate one’s agenda. The recent scandal involving The Afghan Taliban’s spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, and Farahnaz Fortotan, a woman reporter, falls in the category of the latter. According to the reporter, she felt unsafe because Suhail Shaheen didn’t look at her. The hype on this issue is baseless.  We would have considered it a misunderstanding if Farahnaz had not been aware of Islamic injunctions of Hijab and Afghan traditions. But according to the reporter, she had worked in Kabul for twelve years before moving abroad. Therefore, it is unbelievable that she doesn’t truly know the reality. Well, why didn’t he look at her? Does he consider women lower than men? Does he hate them? These are misconceptions that radical feminists and Islamophobes spread across the Western world. But the reality is that The Afghan Taliban are a fervently religious group. They follow the strict interpretations of the Quran as every religious man in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan does. The Quran orders both men and women not to gaze at one another so that they don’t get sexual orientation towards one another. The aim is to make society free of extramarital relationships and safe for women. (Note: this order is not applicable to close relations like brother, sister, mother and father.) Suhail Shaheen was following his religion to the core. By not staring at her, he was giving her respect because in Afghani society gazing at a woman is considered disrespectful to her. Being a previous member of Afghani society, she must have known it. But she knew that her made-up story would sell well in the West. And exactly that happened. She is all around in news headlines. People are passing comments and hurling slurs on the Taliban. Some are accusing the patriarchal culture of Afghanistan without knowing the truth of the matter. In reality, this looks like a publicity stunt or ridiculous propaganda of pro-war groups against the Afghan Taliban and peace deal.


Writer’s view may not necessarily reflect views of the Moderate Thoughts Research Center.


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