In my search for answers as to the problems regarding islam, I found a website created by Afghani women who had suffered from the rule of a group of
fundamentalist islamics known as the Taliban. On the site was a listing of the rules that were imposed, which I think bears some consideration by
those islamics who are not fundamentalist, as those who love their female friends and family members, would not be happy if these things became the
norm, rather than the exception. So rather than state my own opinion about islamic religion, I provide for you the experiences of islamic women who
suffered under fundamental islam. This is a copy and paste from the RAWA.org site. RAWA stands for Revolutionary Association of the Women of
The following list offers only an abbreviated glimpse of the hellish lives Afghan women are forced to lead under the Taliban, and can not begin to
reflect the depth of female deprivations and sufferings. Taliban treat women worse than they treat animals. In fact, even as Taliban declare the
keeping of caged birds and animals illegal, they imprison Afghan women within the four walls of their own houses. Women have no importance in Taliban
eyes unless they are occupied producing children, satisfying male sexual needs or attending to the drudgery of daily housework. Jehadi fundamentalists
such as Gulbaddin, Rabbani, Masood, Sayyaf, Khalili, Akbari, Mazari and their co-criminal Dostum have committed the most treacherous and filthy crimes
against Afghan women. And as more areas come under Taliban control, even if the number of rapes and murders perpetrated against women falls, Taliban
restrictions --comparable to those from the middle ages-- will continue to kill the spirit of our people while depriving them of a humane existence.
We consider Taliban more treacherous and ignorant than Jehadis. According to our people, "Jehadis were killing us with guns and swords but Taliban
are killing us with cotton."
Taliban restrictions and mistreatment of women include the:
1- Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors
and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.
2- Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).
3- Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.
4- Ban on women being treated by male doctors.
5- Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious
6- Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.
7- Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.
8- Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.
9- Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage. (A number of lovers are stoned to death under this rule).
10- Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).
11- Ban on women talking or shaking hands with non-mahram males.
12- Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).
13- Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)
14- Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.
15- Ban on women's presence in radio, television or public gatherings of any kind.
16- Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.
17- Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.
18- Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."
19- Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.
20- Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.
21- Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".
22- Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.
23- Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.
24- Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.
25- Ban on female public baths.
26- Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").
27- Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.
28- Ban on the photographing or filming of women.
29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.
Apart from the above restrictions on women, the Taliban has:
- Banned listening to music, not only for women but men as well.
- Banned the watching of movies, television and videos, for everyone.
- Banned celebrating the traditional new year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban has proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.
- Disavowed Labor Day (May 1st), because it is deemed a "communist" holiday.
- Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.
- Forced haircuts upon Afghan youth.
- Ordered that men wear Islamic clothes and a cap.
- Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.
- Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.
- Banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. The violators will be imprisoned and the birds shall be
killed. The kite flying has also been stopped.
- Ordered all onlookers, while encouraging the sportsmen, to chant Allah-o-Akbar (God is great) and refrain from clapping.
- Ban on certain games including kite flying which is "un-Islamic" according to Taliban.
- Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.
- Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.
- All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".
- Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just
like what did Nazis with Jews.
- Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.
And so on...
Now to be fair, not all fundamentalist islamics believe the same things as the Taliban, but the similarities are close enough to give one pause.
Let's take, for example, Sharia Law. What is it? What does it mean and what does it do?
Here's one person's perspective:
Why is sharia law in the news?
An Islamic court in Nigeria yesterday upheld a sentence of death by stoning for a woman accused of adultery. The case is the latest in a series of
sentences passed under sharia law - a set of religious laws adopted over the past two years in northern regions of Nigeria, which have predominantly
Sharia law, which derives from the teachings of the Koran and from Sunna (the practice of the prophet Mohammed), is implemented to varying degrees in
different Islamic countries - from the beheadings of Saudi Arabia, to the relatively liberal social mores of Malaysia.
What is sharia?
The word sharia means "the path to a watering hole". It denotes an Islamic way of life that is more than a system of criminal justice. Sharia is a
religious code for living, in the same way that the Bible offers a moral system for Christians.
It is adopted by most Muslims to a greater or lesser degree as a matter of personal conscience, but it can also be formally instituted as law by
certain states and enforced by the courts. Many Islamic countries have adopted elements of sharia law, governing areas such as inheritance, banking
and contract law.
What does sharia decree?
Sharia offers a code for living governing all elements of life, from prayers to fasting to donations to the poor. It decrees that men and women should
dress modestly, which in some countries is interpreted as women taking the veil and the sexes being segregated.
"Sharia governs the lives of people in ways which are not governed by the law," says Lynn Welchman, director of the Centre for Islamic and Middle
Eastern Law. "Over 50 countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, and you can expect there will be some form of compliance with
sharia - either in people's personal lives or enforced through the courts by the state. A lot of states in the Middle East are taking more elements
of sharia into their state laws."
What are Hadd offences?
Within sharia law, there is a specific set of offences known as the Hadd offences. These are crimes punished by specific penalties, such as stoning,
lashes or the severing of a hand. The penalties for Hadd offences are not universally adopted as law in Islamic countries.
Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, claim to live under pure sharia law and enforce the penalties for Hadd offences. In others, such as Pakistan,
the penalties have not been enforced. The majority of Middle Eastern countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, have not adopted Hadd
offences as part of their state laws.
Hadd offences carry specific penalties, set by the Koran and by the prophet Mohammed. These include unlawful sexual intercourse (outside marriage);
false accusation of unlawful intercourse; the drinking of alcohol; theft; and highway robbery. Sexual offences carry a penalty of stoning to death or
flogging while theft is punished with cutting off a hand.
"This is a system of criminal law which has become a potent symbol of Islamisicing the law," says Dr Welchman. "But there is the question of
whether it's actually applied in the countries which have adopted it. There is supposed to be a very high burden of proof, but that clearly often
doesn't happen in practice."
So it isn't just a personal practice, but a total package of government, laws, social behaviors, private behaviors and so on. To lay to rest that
these events are isolated, all one has to do is look at any predominantly islamic country with Sharia Law in full force (there are variations, some
muslim countries have degrees of Sharia, meaning some are more moderate, however, this is becoming less the norm and more the exception these days).
Check out this page, also by RAWA, outlining the events to date since the fundamentalist islamic Taliban originally took over: