Taliban directs Afghan shopkeepers to behead mannequins for being ‘un-Islamic’
A lot of controversial directives have been issued by the Taliban since seizing power in Afghanistan in August last year. For now, it has issued diktats curtailing the freedoms of women — from making hijabs mandatory in public to barring adolescent girls from going to school. Now, the Taliban government has dealt a rather bizarre order instructing business owners to remove the heads from mannequins in their stores.
The reason behind the move? According to the country’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, figures representing the human form violate Islamic law.
A video shared by news agency Agence France-Presse shows shopkeepers lopping the heads off mannequins in compliance with the new decree. Aziz Rahman, head of the ministry in the province of Herat, referred to the mannequins as “statues” and said that they should be deformed because they were un-Islamic.
Some tried to find a work-around to the decapitation order by covering the mannequins’ heads with cloth. But they eventually had to fall in line after being warned of “grave penalties”.
Business owners are far from happy. Not only do they fear losing out on sales, but defacing the mannequins in their stores has already cost them dearly.
“We have 15 mannequins in our shops and have been forced to chop off their heads. We have lost between 2-3,000 AFN ($19-28) for each of them. When there is no mannequin, how can we sell our stock to customers?” bemoaned a shopkeeper in Herat, as quoted by AFP.
Marzia Babakarkhail, a campaigner for Afghan women’s rights who now lives in the UK, told The Independent: “It is brutal. This is the kind of behaviour of children. Not of a government leading a country. This shows the nasty face of the Taliban.”
Babakarkhail alleged the new ruling was a tactic by the Taliban to “scare” Afghan citizens, especially women, in a bid to force them indoors and remain “silent”.
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“If the Taliban cannot accept a doll, how can they accept a woman with a voice to be in Afghanistan,” she added.