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Erdogan condemns Taliban ban on female education as 'un-Islamic'

January 15, 2023 at 10:43 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on January 09, 2023. [Doğukan Keskinkılıç – Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye’s president has condemned the Taliban government’s banning of female higher education in Afghanistan, calling it “un-Islamic.”

Last month, Afghanistan’s Taliban government decided to suspend university education for women, as well as issuing a blanket ban on women’s education. That decision drew international condemnation, including from across the Muslim world and its political and religious leaders.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, in which he addressed an international conference on ombudsmanship in the capital Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined in the condemnation by saying that the ruling “is inhumane and un-Islamic”.

“There is no such thing in our religion,” Erdogan stated. “No one should define any ban like that based on Islam. Islam does not accept such a thing. On the contrary, we are members of a religion that says ‘seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave’.”

Read: Taliban orders NGOs to ban female employees from coming to work

He assured that he and the Turkish Foreign Ministry “will personally follow up on” the status of women’s education in Afghanistan and would not abandon it, promising to follow the issue until it is resolved.

On the same day as Erdogan’s remarks, Turkiye launched its extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during which a call was made to the Afghan interim government to review the ban on women’s education and their work within non-government organisations and the educational sector.

The OIC had also announced its decision to send a religious delegation led by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) to argue the case for female education – including at university level – as a fundamental right in accordance with the “noble Islamic shariah.”

Despite the blanket ban, there are still schools which continue to operate and to host education for girls in Afghanistan, as the strictness of the limitations reportedly varies depending on the province or area.

Read: The Taliban has to change its ways, because the equality clock is ticking