• The plight of Hindus and Sikhs in Jalalabad
  • Taliban impose new code for non-Muslim Afghans
    Taliban ask local Hinuds to carry yellow stickers
    AFP, May 22, 2001

    KABUL, May 22 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban religious police have asked local Hindus to carry yellow stickers inside their pockets to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population, senior militia officials said Tuesday.

    Abdul Hanan Hemat, a senior spokesman for the Taliban Information Ministry said that the demand was only to save the Hindus from harassment during regular spot-checks when police herd Muslims into mosques to check their beards meet strict requirements.

    "It is only to differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Hindus should put a yellow piece of cloth the size of a thum inside their pockets," Hemat told reporters.

    He was quoting the Abdul Wali, chief of the religious police, officially known as the Minister for Fostering Virtue and Suppressing Vice.

    "This is only a demand from the Hindu community," Hemat, who also heads the official Bakhtar news agency, said. The demand was only aimed at Hindus as Sikhs were recognizable from their beards and turbans, he added.

    He said that the Hindus can flash their stickers to mobile religious police squads patrolling the Kabul and other major cities to ensure women are fully covered from head to toe by the traditional burqa garment and that men attend prayer meetings and do not trim their beards.

    The spokesman denied reports that the Taliban's ultra-puritanical movement had ordered the Hindus to raise yellow flags on their rooftops.

    Predominantly a Suni Muslim country, Afghanistan has a small Hindu and Sikh minority.

    It officially has no Christians as the Taliban, which controls most of the country, have ruled that any Afghan converting to Christianity would be sentenced to death.

    Taliban seeking "fatwa" to enforce dress code for non-Muslims

    AFP, May 21, 2001

    ISLAMABAD, May 21 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban regime was considering a separate dress code for the minorities to distinguish them from Muslims, a report said.

    Maulawi Mohammad Wali, in charge of the ministry for fostering virtue and suppressing vice was quoted as telling the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that non-Muslims should wear a dress which can identify them easily.

    His ministry was seeking a "fatwa" or religious edict for that purpose from Islamic scholars, the Pakistan-based private news agency said.

    Wali denied reports from New Delhi that the Taliban had already issued a new decree imposing fresh restrictions on Hindus living in Afghanistan, AIP said.

    "Once we receive the Fatwa, we will formulate a law and implement it across the country," he added.

    Under the proposed legislation non-Muslim Afghan citizens would have a distinct badge or stitch a cloth of specified colour onto their dress to identify their religion, he said.

    The aim was to spare non-Muslims, particularly Hindus and Sikhs when religious police squads force people to close their shops at the time of prayers and herd them to mosques, AIP said.

    Wali said the Taliban had assigned the yellow colour for Hindus living in the militia's southern stronghold of Kandahar a few years ago but its implementation remained partial.

    "We now want to prepare a uniform policy so that distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims becomes easy in all Afghan cities," he said.

    He said non-Muslims had "no right" to worship in open areas, but should do so at places assigned for this purpose.

    Claiming that his ministry was bringing the people to the right path, he defended the Taliban regime's ban on music and restrictions on Muslims not to trim their beards.

    AIP said he dismissed the possibility of any relaxation of the tough Taliban rules.

    "Our policies are in accordance with Islamic tenets," he was quoted as saying.

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