PostHeaderIcon Islamic Reformation in Afghanistan

Furthering our recent discussions regarding the “Muslim Reform Movement,” here is another hopeful sign from a surprising venue. A MEMRI report entitled: MEMRI Scholar Tufail Ahmad To Counter-Extremism Conference In Kabul: ‘In Afghanistan, Islamic Reformation Will Begin When You Buy A Bicycle For Your Daughter’

Read the banner behind these folks:


On December 2, 2015, the Regional Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan held an international conference on “Counter Terrorism and Extremism in the Heart of Asia Region.” Counter-extremism experts from different countries including Russia, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Turkey attended the conference.

Ms. Roya Rahmani, the Director General of Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed the delegates by introducing the conference as a “step forward” in the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. The Process, which builds regional cooperation to help Afghanistan, was launched on November 2, 2011 at an Istanbul meeting of foreign ministers of 14 countries from Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia and Eurasia. At that meeting, the foreign ministers declared their “readiness to engage in sincere, result-oriented cooperation at all levels, which will not just help Afghanistan, but will also be beneficial to security and prosperity in the region as a whole.”

“Istanbul Process” launched four years ago? Who knew?

In his speech at the December 2, 2015 counter-terrorism conference in Kabul, Tufail Ahmad, Director of MEMRI’s South Asia Studies Project, discussed the nature of the emerging terror threat to Afghanistan and outlined a vision of how to foster the empowerment of Afghan women and build the cause of Islamic Reformation in the deeply religious country of Afghanistan. Ahmad’s key argument was that Islamic nations cannot hope to progress in modern times unless women acquire a central place in the public sphere of Muslim societies.

If the subject interests you, go read his speech. I found it fascinating, because in the current climate of ascendant Jihadists like Isis, it is easy to forget that there are in fact legions of modern, well-educated people in that part of the world, who reject outright the fundamentalist’s effort to drag their modernizing society back into the 8th century. They are less concerned with terrorist attacks on the West, than the specter of ‘extremist’ religious police enforcing Sharia compliance in their own cities. Our own Muslim reformists here in America, are probably motivated more by embarrassed concern for what Americans think of them and their religion, and the potential for backlash against them for Jihadist terror attacks. Those in Pakistan, Afghanistan, et al, want to be able to enjoy a modern lifestyle, without fear of being attacked and/or beheaded by the Taliban or their ilk.

In either case, it is only the barbaric violence of the fundamentalists, that affords them any success at all in their efforts. I suspect few intelligent educated people are actually persuaded by their religious dogma. The world is always awash with frustrated young rebels looking for a righteous cause. For those born into the Islamic ideology, Jihadism provides a convenient one.  ◄Dave►

5 Responses to “Islamic Reformation in Afghanistan”

  • Chris says:

    Probably a year ago I was driving and had occasion to hear an interview with the president of Afghanistan. Sorry I don’t even recall who the interviewer was. I do remember being impressed with his optimism and desire to advance his society and modernize thinking in the country. He stressed the need for continued cooperation with the US along business lines and security against extremism. What most struck me was the respect, friendship, and sincerity he seemed to display. He spoke of a time when they wouldn’t need US security assistance and when they could become a good trade partner.

    I wish him luck.

    • Agreed. I remember having the same sentiments regarding President Musharraf, and former Prime Minister Bhutto, of Pakistan several years ago. Of course, she was assassinated by the Islamists and now Musharraf in on trial for treason. The Islamists play rough with reform minded modernists. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • Troy says:

    I will start to believe it when an influential group proposes the absolute end of Sharia law. With Sharia intact, there is no reform, only “window dressing”.


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