Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 21st, 2018

Afghan Government Should Regulate Religious Teaching Institutions and Places of Worship to Avoid Exploitation

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Afghan Government Should Regulate Religious Teaching  Institutions and Places of Worship to Avoid Exploitation

Afghanistan is among the countries whose populations have the lowest literacy rate in the world – in case of Afghanistan – based on news outlets - it currently stands at around thirty seven percent, but I haven’t got access to any solid source to prove it statistically. Now, this percentage stands for the ability to read and write. There is no matrix available to show hard facts and figures about the percentage of people having solid, standard education. Most of the students attend Madrassas or religious schools in rural areas. These schools are managed, organized and thought by poorly educated Mollahs and Mawlawis, who hardly have any solid knowledge about Quran. They follow hundreds of year old syllabus whereby learning by rot is emphasized rather than teaching and learning by reasons or scientific proof. In such an environment, it is the duty of Government to put stringent measures and standards for recruitment of teachers and managers for these religious schools. Manipulation of religious sentiments and instilling wrong, heretic religions teachings in minds and souls of students who study in these religious schools have recurrently taken immense toll on Afghan society retrospectively. This phenomenon automatically renders most of the people of Afghanistan – especially those living in rural areas - impressionable and susceptible to destructive impacts on their lives of these biased, sentimental and heretic religious beliefs across the country. Fanatic, so called religious groups, for example Daesh, are the products of such biased, so called religious teachings. 
Politics is all about rallying people around a single slogan, so called cause or objectives. History is filled up with cases in point whereby large number of people are rallied around a single, so called cause, built up furious force and unleashed unforgettable miseries on humanity – sometimes at a very large scale. Examples of such destruction and killing are World War1, World War2 and genocide in Rwanda – which are unforgettable historic human tragedies. With advancement of knowledge, technique and know-how in all areas of human society, hostile Governments target soft, susceptible areas in the enemy countries. Religious sentiments and beliefs are most vulnerable areas which could be targeted so easily to manipulate the entire members of the society towards achieving undercover aims.
History is filled up with episodes of such undertakings by countries at war with each other. Afghanistan has been the victim of such undertakings by her adversaries throughout the history.
In late nineteen century, the than British Empire had funded, organized and supported undercover programs to mobilize in revolt, rural populations of Afghanistan against the Kabul regime of the time, and successfully achieved goals. Example of such undertakings is the toppling of Amir Amanullah Khan kingdom by rug, religious groups who revolted against him based on false dissemination of information about the then Queen Surayya. A British spy master, who masqueraded as Mollah and led prayers in one of the most significant Mosques in Kabul, Pule Kheshti Mosque, for twenty-five years, had disseminated nude photo-shopped photos of Queen Surayya among the people. This was done at a time when it was forbidden for women in Afghanistan to walk with bare face – let alone without Chadari (Afghan Abaya, which covers the body of a woman from head to toe). This was enough a cause for revolt under the name of religion and Jihad. In nineteen eighties, once again Afghanistan came under attack by these religious groups. Afghans were rallied around jihad and religious slogans to organize, support, train and equip them with lethal arms and attractive payment packages to fight against Afghanistan central government. The rest is history.
Yet once again! At a time when the whole international community is aligned around one single goal i.e. to stabilize Afghanistan, the only one single country – Pakistan – continues to exhaust her investment she made in bringing up another genre of religious groups, Taliban and Daesh, to use them in full scale against attempts to establish strong, central Government in Afghanistan.
Thus, an entrenched insurgency continues to take toll on Afghanistan Government and Afghan society for last twenty years now. According to Mr. Upendra Baghel, an erudite specialist in building state institutions, ‘religion is used as a tool so that people don’t see government failings’, referring to Pakistan state patronage of religious extremists. It is local saying in Afghanistan that ‘a snake should not bite you from the same hole twice’, but it seems Afghans are continuously being bitten from the same snake and the same hole repeatedly! It is the tipping point for Afghan leaders at the helm of affairs. They have the biggest responsibility on their shoulders to take heed of this problem.

Mohammed Gul Sahibbzada is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammed.g.sahibbzada@gmail.com

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