What is sharia law? And how is the Taliban using it in Afghanistan?

Marina Pitofsky; USA TODAY


  • Sharia “is defined very clearly by the Quran,” but interpretations have drastically differed.
  • The Islamic religious law can apply to the criminal laws of a country, laws on marriage and more.
  • “Sharia means literally ‘the path.’”

Days after taking over Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, the Taliban claimed it is dedicated to rights for women under Islamic religious law, or sharia law.  

In a Tuesday news conference, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said that the group is “committed to the rights of women under the system ofsharia (Islamic) law,” but he noted that women would study and work “within our frameworks.” 

“They are going to be working shoulder to shoulder with us. We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination,” he said. 

But the Taliban’s regime prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was especially violent toward women. Women seen in public without a male relative could be abducted and forced into marriage, and women who were sexually assaulted could be executed.  

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Categories: Sharia, Sharia Law, Shariah Law

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