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Afghanistan: Taliban orders beheadings for shop mannequins

Taliban orders beheadings… for MANNEQUINS: Afghan clothes stores are told their dummies’ heads offend Islam

  • Taliban ordered shopkeepers in Herat province to remove mannequin’s heads  
  • They said models are ‘idols’ which are banned under their strict version of Islam 
  • Initially, shopkeepers were told they had to dispose of mannequins completely 
  • But after complaints it would ruin business, Taliban ruled only heads had to go

The Taliban has begun beheading shop mannequins in Afghanistan for offending their strict interpretation of Islam.

Shopkeepers in the western province of Herat were told to hack the heads off their mannequins after Islamist officials ruled the statues were ‘idols’.

Idolatry, or the worshipping of idols, is considered a grave sin in Islam which bans the worship of anyone or thing other than Allah – considered to be the only God.

Taliban rulers in the western province of Herat have ruled that mannequins are ‘idols’ and must be beheaded to avoid the risk of people ‘worshipping’ them (file image)

The ruling was issued this week by the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Herat, which is responsible for administering the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islam. 

Initially, the ministry had ordered shops to remove the mannequins completely but shopkeepers complained, saying it would destroy what little business they have left.

After listening to the complaints, Sheikh Aziz-u-Rahman – head of the ministry – ruled the mannequins’ heads should be cut off instead.

But business owners say hacking their mannequins apart still represents a significant financial loss at a time when Afghanistan’s economy has more-or-less collapsed.

Abdul Wadood Faiz Zada told Italian newspaper Repubblica: ‘The heads of the mannequins should be covered, not removed. 

‘Each mannequin costs $100, or $80 or $70, and beheading them will be a huge financial loss.’

Mohammad Yusuf added: ‘The Taliban have not changed, there will be restrictions once again. 

‘They have not gained international recognition, but should they obtain it, they would bring back even stricter limitations.’

The Taliban has been slowly cracking down on the freedoms of Afghans since taking power this summer, including banning women from large sections of public life (file image)

The Taliban has been slowly cracking down on the freedoms of Afghans since taking power this summer, including banning women from large sections of public life (file image) 

Since recapturing Afghanistan over the  summer in a rapid advance behind the back of withdrawing American troops, the Taliban has been slowly restricting the freedoms of its population while claiming to the world that it has ‘reformed’.

Women and girls were immediately confined to their homes for ‘safety’, while the Taliban set about largely removing them from workplaces and schools.

In recent weeks, the Islamists also banned women from taking long-distance road trips without a male guardian and said they must also wear a veil while in the car. 

At the same time, they banned all music in vehicles and said that ‘intoxicating’ substances were also prohibited.

Drivers should also stop their vehicles at prayer times in a ‘proper place’ so that prayers can take place, the ruling added.

Afghanistan, propped up for two decades by support funds from western nations and aid money, has all-but collapsed since the Taliban retook control.

Aid money has dried up, and while western nations have promised billions in funding, they are still wrangling over ways to get in into the country without handing it to the Islamists.

The UN’s food programme warns that up to half the population are now facing starvation before the end of winter, as economic catastrophe combines with drought to plunge huge numbers into poverty.

Aid agencies are reporting that families have begun resorting to desperate measures to afford food, including putting children to work or – in some cases – selling babies to afford bread and other basics.