Karzai Urges Leaders to Heed Clerics’ Call for Girls’ Education

Former President Hamid Karzai urged the Islamic Emirate to respect the call made by the Afghan clerics last week at a gathering held under the title of “National Dialogue of Afghan Scholars,” where they called for the reopening of girls’ schools.

Karzai said on Twitter that the demand of the Afghan religious scholars is the demand of the Afghan nation.

“The call of Hamid Karzai is the call of the people of Afghanistan, particularly the education of girls is the human and Islamic right of women,” said Shahzada Masoud, a close aide to Karzai.

The religious scholars said that there was no legal justification for banning girls above sixth grade from going to school.

This comes as the European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, cited the Communiqué of the Special Representatives and Envoys for Afghanistan, and condemned the decision of the Islamic Emirate to ban girls from going to schools.

“We reaffirmed a strong commitment to the Afghan people and condemned the decision to continue denying Afghan girls the ability to attend education,” the EU special envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson said.

This comes as Afghan religious clerics released a resolution consisting of 15 principles in which they said that the education of girls does not go against Islamic values.

“There is no diversity of view on the education of girls,” said Mawlawi Waheed Ahmad, a religious cleric.

The Ministry of Education said the decision about girls’ schools belongs to the leadership of the Islamic Emirate.

“The reopening of schools for those above grade six belongs to the leadership of the Islamic Emirate. Whenever the leadership of the Islamic Emirate order the reopening of schools, we are ready to open it,” said Aziz Ahmad Riyan, a spokesman for the ministry.

The Afghanistan Future Thought Forum in a statement voiced concerns over the closing of schools for female students above grade six and called on the Islamic Emirate to mull over the decision about the fate of the schools.

“I hope the schools will be reopened soon for girls because with each passing day they are losing a vital moment of their life,” said Fatima Gailani, head of the Afghanistan Future Thought Forum.

“They should consider the rights of the children and girls of this land and reopen the doors of schools,” said Tafsira Siahposh, a women’s rights activist.

The female students in grades 7-12 have not participated in school for more than 200 days.

Karzai Urges Leaders to Heed Clerics’ Call for Girls’ Education