With a potential peace deal on the table between the United States and the Taliban, Afghanistan faces a crisis of political stability, threatening its development gains, the survival of its civil government, and the rights that women have secured over the last two decades. If the Taliban’s history towards women were to repeat itself, it would be an overall betrayal of American foreign policy goals and Islam’s value for women’s rights. The reality is that majority of Afghans prefer to live in accordance with core Islamic teachings, which includes the equal treatment of women and men, as opposed to antiquated tribal customs. Going forward, the religion of Islam must play a larger role in the stability and inclusivity of the country, but it must do so in the form of strong Islamic jurisprudence as opposed to tribal conservatism and handpicked scripture.
In negotiating for a place within Afghanistan’s government, Taliban representatives have shown an openness to establishing comprehensive rights for women in the Afghan constitution provided that those rights are grounded on principles of Islamic jurisprudence. This is an opening for Afghan women, their allies, and WISE to provide an egalitarian framework of women’s rights – one that cites the authority of Islamic scripture and historical precedent rather than secular and excessively-westernized legal models.
‘WISE Up, Muslim Women Rights’ is crafted to resonate with the values of Afghan society which is aimed at filling an education gap that has hampered previous attempts to secure Afghan women’s rights. The toolkit will dispute the alleged Islamic value of any harmful archaic practices against women, liberate Afghans from the cultural norms confused with Islamic practices. It will assert the Quran’s true instruction on community and family conduct by showcasing thirty (30) Rights of Muslim Women which demonstrate how Islam liberated women to embrace a spiritual identity, reach the full potential of their individuality and entitled them to the universal values of equality, ethics and justice.
More than just providing a framework for legislation, Muslim Women’s Rights will serve as a ready-made resource with broad utility online and offline for the work of community activists, the creation of training modules for students, the guidance of women’s ministries, and other advocacy efforts across the country. WISE will partner with NECDO to build upon the success of its Imam Training program to reach its vast network of allies among Imams, youth, women and government leaders.
The knowledge gap on women’s rights under Islamic Jurisprudence must be addressed rapidly by training women advocates so their demands to secure their rights as defined in the Afghan Constitution are clear, realistic and resonant with Taliban’s understanding of Islamic law. NECDO will use technology mediated coalition building to convene its key stakeholders, male scholars, women activists and youth and will present the toolkit, Muslim Women's Rights to
1) enable Afghan men to articulate the rights of women in Islam and
2) empower Afghan women to assert gender equality as an intrinsic part of Islam, their rights to societal participation, financial independence, rights to education and career pursuit
WISE will partner with NECDO to design trainings aimed at shifting the Taliban’s narrative on Islam from violence and oppression to its authentic benevolence by
1) highlighting how Islam condemns violence and oppression and gives women the right to a safe, happy, and independent life
2) stress how Islam significantly increased the level of women’s agency and autonomy by affording them the rights to own property, to divorce, to an inheritance, and to socially participate. It will include examples of Muslim women in subsequent years, who served as judges, scholars, teachers, and religious and political leaders, enabling them to participate in the public affairs of the community.