Taliban's bizarre reason to ban beauty salons in Afghanistan

The ruling is the latest curb on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women

AFGHANISTAN-CONFLICT/ File: Afghan women learn how to read the Koran in a madrasa or religious school in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 8, 2022 | Reuters

The Taliban on July 5 banned beauty salons and ordered that all beauty and hair salons be shut down. The militant group governing the country, on Friday, gave a bizarre reason for the decision. They said the salons were banned because they offered services forbidden by Islam and caused economic hardships for grooms' families during wedding festivities, the Taliban have said. As per custom, the groom's family is required to pay for the pre-wedding salon visit by the bride and her close female relatives 

Taliban's decision to impose a ban on beauty salons drew concerns from international officials worried about the impact on female entrepreneurs.

The ruling is the latest curb on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, following edicts barring them from education, public spaces and most forms of employment. Women have even been banned from working for the United Nations. 

Sadiq Akif Mahjer, the spokesman for the Taliban-run Virtue and Vice Ministry, on Thursday, said, services provided in salons, like eyebrow shaping, the use of other people's hair to augment a woman's natural hair and the application of makeup, which would interfere with the ablutions required before offering prayers, went against Islam. 

According to a report by Khaama Press, over 60,000 women are on the verge of losing their jobs after the Taliban ordered the shuttering of beauty salons. Several women makeup artists are protesting the ban. They have requested for the order to be rescinded. 

"More than 12,000 women's beauty salons are active all over Afghanistan and all of them are women," Tolo News quoted Nadia Sultani, a makeup artist. "Women's beauty salons are the women's area. The head of every beauty salon is a woman. When a woman is working in a women's beauty salon, that is due to hardship and poverty," Raha Hassani, another makeup artist stated.

Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, they have passed about 51 edicts against women, including restricting their presence on social media.

A report to the UN's Human Rights Council last week by Richard Bennett, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said the plight of women and girls in the country "was among the worst in the world."

-- With PTI inputs

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