Monday, September 20, 2010

Election, Islam, Women Participation


By: Zabihullah Noori

While the Afghan government and international community was encouraging all Afghans—the women as one potential group of voters in particular—to exercise their rights to vote and have their elected representative in the Afghan Lower House, the Taliban tried to disrupt the process in as many possible ways as they could.

The Taliban issued night letters, threatened people to death and warned them not to participate in the elections or their fingers will be cut off.

The Taliban targeted women groups and spread messages calling women participation in the process un-Islamic. To combat these wrong and misinterpreted messages of the Taliban, the Afghan Independent Election Commission tried every method they could. The commission did not step back from any possible way of encouraging women voters to participate in the election and cast their votes, from airing dramas and promotional programs via media to organizing round tables and group discussions in the village level.

Some of the methods were repetition of stuff that had been aired in previous elections. The only new stuff in this election that worked really well was the use of mosques as a place for discussion and the use of religious elders and local women associations as carriers of the election messages.

Trying to be innovative in spreading the awareness about citizens’ political rights, a local NGO in Afghanistan used Islamic teachings and women to women connection to raise women participation in the parliamentary elections, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. Unlike most production companies who create western looking backgrounds and use 3D and graphics for their promotional and commercial advertising, the Development and Public Awareness (DPA) used media and mosques to run this campaign. The organization’s another positive method was the distribution of posters that carried election related Islamic messages. The DPA campaign also included TV clips and group discussion in broadcast media.

Since all Afghans have very deep belief in Islamic faith, they can be persuaded to do any action as long as it is in line with Islamic teaching.

The series produced and aired by DPA talked about the time of prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and how prophet’s wife was running business and taking part in social affairs.

I decided to do a quick sample survey; therefore, I asked some twenty women who had seen the promotional stuff and said they were doubtful about their rights in Islam.

According to these women, if such quick promotional stuff continues to air in TV it will not only help them learn a lot more about their Islamic rights, but will also encourage young girls to pay more attention to their social lives in line with Islamic rules.

Among all election awareness campaign, the DPA initiative was outstanding because it connected the dots among religion, social ties, women and election.

All twenty women said they are going to vote in the upcoming elections, because it was their social and Islamic right.

Photo credit: usawc.state.gov

2 Comments:

Anonymous rafi said...

I truly enjoyed reading your article covering a wide range of issues from the view point of Islam about the less represented segment of our society - the women which published on the earlier occasion of the elections' campaign.In fact , you had a gift for those female eligible voters bound on vulgar superstitions under the name of Islam re-gratefully in the traditional society of Afghanistan. Keep it coming such useful articles.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous rafi said...

I truly enjoyed reading your article covering several issues from Islam view point about women's rights. In fact you had a gift for those eligible women who were bound on vulgar superstitions while confusing Islamic granted rights with their incorrect perceptions in the deeply rooted traditions society of Afghanistan. keep coming such good articles.

10:43 PM  

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