Victorious Taliban set to impose strict interpretation of Sharia in Afghanistan
The Taliban have swept to power in Afghanistan after an astonishingly swift campaign ending yesterday as they took power in Kabul, the capital. There were chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as the US and UK mounted a mass evacuation effort to bring home nationals and those at risk.
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist movement. Its spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, called BBC World TV presenter Yalda Hakim, who was live on air to explain the rapid developments and appeal for calm. Hakim’s mother fled Afghanistan with her as a baby and sought refuge in Australia, becoming a journalist and then reporting on Afghanistan for a decade. In a forensic, wide-ranging interview, Shaheen said the Taliban would impose strict interpretations of Sharia (Islamic law), including corporal punishment and the enforced wearing of the hijab, but girls would be allowed to go to school. He denied reports of Taliban soldiers raping women and said stories of brutality during the Taliban’s campaign were faked by their opponents.
In a past article for Open Democracy, Sayed Hassan Akhlaq, an Afghan philosopher and prolific author now affiliated to the George Washington University, the Catholic University of America and Princeton, said: “The Taliban, like other sociopolitical movements, is not reducible to Islamic doctrines. The role of western policy in Afghanistan, the weaknesses and collapse of the mujahideen, the activities of neighbouring countries, the actions of those affiliated with the Soviet state, the mentality of Afghan people, tribalism and racism — all had a hand in shaping the Taliban. Today, all of those factors have proven far more significant than the impact of the diluted traces of Salafist theology on the movement.”
Vaccine denier Cardinal Burke on a ventilator with Covid-19
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Prayers in Plymouth after gunman shoots five dead
The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, has written a special prayer for Keyham in Plymouth and everyone who has been affected by the shooting of five people in a random attack by a lone gunman on Thursday night. The prayer was said at St Thomas’s Church in Keyham, by the priest, Father David Way, who told BBC news that he would pray for those who were killed, but his faith compels him to pray for mercy for the gunman: “As Christians, we have to love our enemies, and look with love on people who cause us harm.”
Israel recalls diplomat in protest at Poland’s Holocaust property law
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Bishop of Newcastle retires
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Transgender Canadian minister sues for wrongful dismissal
The Rev Junia Joplin, a transgender Baptist minister, has filed for wrongful dismissal after being sacked by Ontario Baptist Church after coming out in a livestreamed sermon in June. She alleges that she was subjected to an “unfair process” that led to the end of her employment.