Minister promises crackdown on amulet sellers
KABUL (Pajhwok): The lynching of a woman in Kabul has motivated the government and people into a campaign against superstitions, a cabinet member said on Saturday.
Farkhanda, 27, was murdered by a mob on March 19 after she criticised a cleric in Kabul for selling amulets. But people, who took part in or witnessed the incident, accused her of burning the Quran -- a charge rejected by the Ministry of Hajj.
A fact-finding commission, led Maulvi Mohiuddin Baloch, said their investigation shows the young woman was innocent and that there were no signs of her burning the Quran.
Speaking in the Wolesi Jirga, Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs Faiz Mohammad Osmani and the acting minister of justice, Syed Mohammad Hashimi, hinted at a serious of plans to introduce reforms.
A number of parliamentarians called for launching a crackdown on amulet sellers and the prayers leaders who were propagating against the authorities despite being paid by the government.
In order to prevent the loss of innocent and precious lives, they suggested, the government should implement the Shariah and convince clerics into preaching peace and reconciliation.
“Farkhanda has been killed for her bold espousal of a cause. No signs of the Quran burning have been found at the site,” Osmani informed the lower house, saying the murder had prompted the rulers and the masses to wage a struggle against false notions.
He revealed a delegation had been appointed to prevent clerics, mosque leaders and shrine custodians from selling amulets -- a practice that spawns fallacies.
For evicting the so-called faith-healers, the team has already visited Shah Do-Shamshera and Abul Fazal shrines in Kabul. Today, it inspected the Kart-i-Sakhi shrine in the capital.
“Our objective is to cleanse sacred places of occupants. We want the people to cooperate with our efforts,” Osmani remarked, promising his ministry would soon set up a radio station and a TV channel to promote awareness among the masses.
He also spoke of plans for reforming the ministry, “where a number of people have been working for years in the preaching section but don’t know what preaching means. We have to get rid of them.”
According to him, of 160,000 mosques across the country, only 50,000 are registered with his ministry. Prayer leaders and other workers of 3,700 of the mosques are being paid by the ministry.
People with doctorates, masters and other degrees were also working at these mosques, he said. He urged the Wolesi Jirga to allocate more funds for his ministry to raise the salaries of prayer leaders and others.
The ministry, he said, would soon start registering the rest of mosques and the process would go ahead in coordination with religious scholars. Mullahs and preachers would have to sit tests.
Osmani said there were some prayer leaders who preached against the government, but those who wanted to tell the truth faced security challenges from insurgents.
He urged the ulema not to talk about divisive issues. “I will try to personally go to a mosque every Friday to see things first-hand.”
Abdul Zahir Qadeer, Wolesi Jirga’s first deputy speaker, directed the Ministry of Hajj to make plans to hire new prayer leaders. He insisted on a thorough investigation into Farkhanda’s killing
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