Taliban official ‘compares women without hijab to sliced melon’

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From the Independent. 

A Taliban member reportedly compared women to “sliced melons” being sold in a market in misogynist and objectifying remarks to a journalist in a video that has since gone viral on social media.

The video, shared by a BBC Persian correspondent on Twitter, showed the Taliban member justifying the need for women to wear the hijab. It is not clear when and where the remarks were made, and The Independent could not immediately verify its authenticity.

“Do you buy a sliced melon or an intact melon? Of course the intact one. A woman without Hijab is like a sliced melon,” the unidentified Taliban member is heard saying in a local language.

It’s on a theme. Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali of Australia famously compared women to uncovered meat “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside … without cover, and the cats come to eat it … whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [the headdress worn by some Muslim women], no problem would have occurred.” And the woman without a hijab is the unwrapped sweetie (or candy if you are American) on the floor has been an Islamic parable for donkey’s years. 

Senior BBC journalist Suzanne Kianpour was among those criticising the misogynist remarks online. “When you think about the translation of the word he’s using while comparing women to sliced or intact melons ‘salem xxx ” it means ‘healthy’ – so basically the Taliban thinks women without hijab are unhealthy,” she said in a tweet.

After its lighting-fast blitz to Kabul last month, there have been multiple instances of Taliban fighters assaulting women in public spaces, including one fighter who pointed a gun at a woman protester at a public rally as recently as Tuesday. A Taliban spokesperson had earlier urged women to stay indoors, claiming their fighters were not yet “trained” to respect women and may assault them.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the Independent it is reported that

Women in Afghanistan will be prohibited from playing any kind of sport that will “expose their bodies” to the media, a Taliban cultural commission official has said.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, said that sport is not seen as important for women and that Islam does not permit women to risk exposing their bodies Mr Wasiq said: “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket.” 

“In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. . .  Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.” He said that “Islam allows women to go out on a needs basis such as for shopping” but he added that “sport is not considered a need”. 

“In cricket and other sports, women will not get an Islamic dress code. It is obvious that they will get exposed and will not follow the dress code, and Islam does not allow that.”

The officials at the Afghanistan Cricket Board have said that they have not been informed by the Taliban officially about the women’s cricket team’s future. But it has suspended its programme for girls. Meanwhile, speaking to the BBC, several members of the Afghanistan women’s cricket team said that the Taliban was targeting women players and had issued threats to them if they played again.

the Australian government has urged the International Cricket Council to take a stand against the Taliban on women in sport, describing the new regime’s stand as “appalling.”

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