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What Length Will Some Go To Stop Girls From Getting Education?

What Length Will Some Go To Stop Girls From Getting Education?

In the U.S., we often find ourselves complaining about the quality of our schools.  Whether we spend enough per student, whether teachers are teaching too many students at once, whether the cafeteria food is healthy enough, or if there are enough attention paid to languages, art and music, or extra curricular activities.

Sadly, in Afghanistan, the bigger worry appears to be “who is trying to poision young girls to keep them from getting an education?”

From the BBC:

More than 80 schoolgirls have fallen ill in three cases of mass sickness over the past week in northern Afghanistan, raising fears that militants who oppose education for girls are using poison to scare them away from school, authorities said Sunday.

The latest case occurred Sunday when 13 girls became sick at school, Kunduz provincial spokesman Mahbobullah Sayedi said. Another 47 complained of dizziness and nausea on Saturday, and 23 got sick last Wednesday. All complained of a strange smell in class before they fell ill.

None of the illnesses have been serious, and medical officials were still investigating the exact cause. The Health Ministry in Kunduz said blood samples were inconclusive and were being sent to Kabul for further testing.

Sayedi blamed the sickness on “enemies” who oppose education for girls. Presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said any attempt to keep girls out of school is a “terrorist act.”

The Taliban and other conservative extremist groups in Afghanistan who oppose female education have been known to target schoolgirls. Girls were not allowed to attend school when the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan until they were ousted in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Of course, things could progress much further in the effort to terrorize young girls out of an education.  Violence in female schools in some areas of Pakistan has increased drastically, and as of last year girls were barred from attending school all together.

“More than 30 percent [of the] girls dropped out of educational institutions in 2006 and 2007 due to speeches of [militant leader] Mullah Fazlullah on his FM radio against girls’ education,” said an official in the Swat education department, who asked not to be named to avoid becoming a target for militants.

“Half of the remaining girls dropped out or could not attend their studies due to attacks on their schools and colleges.”

Officials estimate that militants have blown up or burned 134 schools and colleges in the past year alone, more than 90 of them institutions for girls.

“Most of these schools are totally destroyed. Only 15 or 16 among them were partially damaged and could be repaired,” the education official said.

Attending school has its own dangers as well, as many remember from the infamous incident in Saudi Arabia in 2002 when 15 young girls died in a school fire when they were refused escape from the burning building because they were not wearing proper head covering.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that although the Taliban claim their religion does not allow for the education of girls, that in fact isn’t in the Quran.

Cleric Sayed Omer Munib, a member of the nation’s top Islamic council, said there was no justification in Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to prevent girls from studying.

“Nowhere in the Quran does it say that girls do not have the right to education,” he said. “It says that ‘people should be educated.’ This means girls, too.”

But education provides a girl with independence; the ability to read and write allows her to communicate with people outside of her own family, and to learn and reason.  And it seems there is nothing that terrifies those who need to dominate and subjugate woman than a girl who might be able to have some semblance of independence.

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93 comments

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4:38PM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

In the Koran there are passages about respecting women and being kind to women. If women(and men) are kept from being educated they can spread their hatred more rapidly. A boy must get permission from his mother before he joins the military there. The less educated, and thus more in poverty, the more likely she will be to say yes, and yes to the 600 dollars they pay them to sign up.

1:08PM PDT on May 12, 2010

One of the first Muslim universities to be built was built by a woman. It's amazing that so much insecurity has built up over the centuries by the male gender. The more power they gain in their governments and amongst the community, the more insular they get in their thinking and the more backwards they get in their actions.

There was a time before the Renaissance where Europe was learning from the advanced sciences and architecture of the Muslims who came. It's sad that over time the countries governed by Muslim rule have reached a stand still and a move backwards.

Mohammad would shake his head at the way women have been treated.

4:58PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

ALL radicals are dangerous whether they call themselves atheist,
Muslim. Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, etc. What makes them dangerous is their violence whether it is spontaneous or premeditated.

2:54PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Women are powerful.

3:01AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

When girls among the Muslims get educated and think and reason, household tyrants tremble for their power.

2:35AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Michelle K. : please go and learn some FACTS about Islam before you make such untrue statements. Where did you get your info? Inflaming hatred solves nothing and only makes problems worse.

12:38AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Renee S and Judith - Thank you for stating the truth .i.e Its NOT the Religion but the People to blame as they are truly ignorant and misinterpret the Holy Quran to suit their own needs and desires which in itself is a major sin they are commiting in the sight of ALLAH (as we Muslims call GOD).

God Bless you and your families.

12:34AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Renee S and Judith - Thank you for stating the truth .i.e Its NOT the Religion but the People to blame as they are truly ignorant and misinterpret the Holy Quran to suit their own needs and desires which in itself is a major sin they are commiting in the sight of ALLAH (as we Muslims call GOD).

God Bless you and your families.

12:21AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

They are a power hungry and ignorant lot who perpetrates such disgusting acts against human beings. GOD says in the QURAN if you save one life its like saving a whole nation. The QURAN encourages ALL Muslims irrelevant of gender to gain knowledge. Who are these men to make their own laws by stopping women from getting an education???

Cleric Sayed Omer Munib, a member of the nation's top Islamic council stated "Nowhere in the Quran does it say that girls do not have the right to education," he said. "It says that 'people should be educated.' This means girls, too."

Please people read and reread what the the member of the Nations top ISLAMIC Council said about EDUCATION in THE QURAN. Those who are once again condemning and Blaming the Religion ISLAM also need to go back to school and get educated. Overlooking and pretending NOT to believe as true what Cleric Omer Munib said about education of women in the QURAN does not invalidate his statement but portrays how Ignorant you yourselves are. . If you wish to stay IGNORANT and stagnate your knowledge gud luck to you.

May ALLAH (as muslims call GOD) Bless All Mankind with Luv for one another.

12:05AM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

It puts me off religion when they are all fighting agaianst each other year in year out. I believe in God but not all the violence in the race to be""top religion'". Aren't they all worshipping the same God.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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