Hazara-Shia Cleric Criticises Taliban's Mistreatment Of Shia Community

Saturday, 02/03/2024

Ayatollah Wa'ezzada Behsudi, a prominent Hazara-Shia cleric, criticised the Taliban for their actions against the Hazara community, during a meeting attended by the group’s officials.

He highlighted the Taliban's errors in killing Abdul Ali Mazari, a prominent Hazara leader; banning Ja'fari jurisprudence; and detaining Hazara women.

Behsudi attended the meeting at the request of Taliban intelligence officials. In his speech, he criticised the Taliban's violent behaviour towards Hazara-Shia women and their strict enforcement of the hijab.

He expressed his concerns about the Taliban's announcement of taking serious action and bringing in the military to impose their desired policies with regard to people’s personal lives.

He emphasised that while Afghanistan faces significant issues, the Taliban is focusing on trivial matters such as clothing and appearance.

The cleric noted that the Taliban's approach should be cautious and non-violent, stressing that they are not superior to biblical figures like Moses and Aaron, and the people are not like Pharaoh.

Behsudi identified three major mistakes by the Taliban in their dealings with the Shia-Hazara community: the killing of Abdul Ali Mazari, the removal of Ja'fari jurisprudence from the educational curriculum, and issues related to women and their honour. He stated that these actions have led to a lack of trust and distancing of the community from the Taliban.

Additionally, Behsudi highlighted the Taliban leader's reluctance to engage with Shia representatives. He criticised Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada for not meeting with Shia Ulema Council representatives, while a Pakistani cleric managed to meet all Taliban officials within two days. He stressed that such behaviour creates further discontent and alienation among the Shia community.

In his critique, Behsudi reaffirmed the community's commitment to Islamic values, including hijab, but opposed the Taliban's harsh and violent methods. He also noted that the Taliban's attempt to homogenise religious practices in Afghanistan is counterproductive and increases the rift between the regime and the people. He concluded by saying that declaring people of the Qibla as infidels does not resolve issues and is not acceptable.

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