“I’m raising my voice. I’m standing with my sisters… My protest will continue even if it costs my life,” said Ismail Mashal- a professor in Afghanistan who made headlines for tearing up his degree certificates on live television to protest the Taliban’s ban on university education for women, vowing to fight the decree even if it costs his life.
Mashal told news agency AFP at his office in Kabul on Saturday (December 31). Mashal said that as a man and as a teacher, he was unable to do anything else for women. “I felt that my certificates had become useless. So, I tore them.”
Mashal, 35 , has been a professor of journalism for more than ten years at three universities in Kabul and also runs an educational institution for men and women. He resigned from the three universities after the Taliban administration imposed the ban on women students.
The authorities justified the ban by saying women were not observing a strict Islamic dress code.
However, Mashal dismissed the justification and told AFP “They told us to implement the wearing of hijabs for women — we did that. They told us to segregate classes — we did that too.”
The professor pointed out the Taliban has not given a logical reason for the ban and that the ban has no basis in Islamic sharia law.
”The right to education for women has been given by God, by the Koran, by the Prophet (Mohammed), and our religion. So, why should we look down on women?” Mashal further told the news agency.
The ban on university education for Afghan women has been condemned globally with countries urging the Taliban to reverse it.
Apart from this, the Taliban have also imposed a ban on women working in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). This order too has been condemned worldwide with a demand to reverse it.