UAE, Pakistan, MWL denounce Taliban’s university ban for Afghan women

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The United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and the Muslim World League (MWL) have added to the international outcry over Afghanistan’s Taliban-run government’s decision to suspend university access for female students.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and his counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, discussed the decision in a phone call, state news agency WAM reported on Thursday.

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The two top diplomats emphasized that Islam as a religion devoted significant attention to women, granted them a privileged position, and safeguarded their rights.

They affirmed the need to guarantee women's rights, as well as the importance of full and equal participation of women and girls in all aspects of life.

The two ministers underscored during the phone call their firm position in support of security, stability and peace in Afghanistan and called for the advancement of international efforts aimed at building a more sustainable future for the Afghan people.

The Taliban’s decision on Tuesday to revoke the rights of women to attend university has garnered regional and international backlash.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, also denounced this decision, as it “contradicts the guidance of Islam and the consensus of the scholars of the Islamic nation”, Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA reported Thursday.

He further said that the decision “violates international and human values, depriving Afghan women and girls of their legitimate right to education, and the Afghan people in general of their female competencies to contribute to their prosperity and development.”

Dr. Al-Issa also expressed, on behalf of the MWL and its global academies, bodies and councils, full solidarity with Afghan women and girls and the Afghan people as a whole in the important issue of education as a basic priority by Islamic law.

He called the Afghan caretaker government to reverse this decision, and then take the path of unanimity of Islamic scholars of their various sects in this important matter.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry also called on the Taliban to reverse the move, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The Taliban’s ban on university education for women is contradictory to “giving Afghan women their full legal rights, foremost of which is the right to education, which contributes to supporting security, stability, development and prosperity for Afghanistan and its brotherly people,” the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA.

Stephane Dujarric, United Nations spokesperson, also said: “It’s another very troubling move and it’s difficult to imagine how the country can develop, deal with all of the challenges that it has, without active participation of women and the education of women.”

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, said he was “deeply dismayed” by the announcement, adding: “Afghan women deserve better. Afghanistan deserves better.”

“The Taliban have just definitively set back their objective of being accepted by the international community.”

Read more:

Taliban women university ban ‘grave step backwards’: UK

Saudi Arabia urges Taliban to reverse university ban for Afghan women

US, UN condemn Taliban suspension of women from universities

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