Assessing the role of traditional religious centers in promoting peace in Afghanistan

Note: Abstract of my Article that I presented at the International Symposium on Herat School in Security II 20-21 June 2019 – Kabul

Afghanistan is a traditional Third World society with conventional religious institutions respected by the general public. The traditional domination of traditional institutions over socio-intellectual currents in Third World countries is an objective fact. This dominance is practically observed in today’s Afghan society. Mosques and religious schools play a paradoxical role in promoting war and peace in Afghanistan. On the one hand, religious schools and mosques can encourage Islamic extremist groups to move towards peace through peace propaganda.

On the other hand, these institutions can encourage them against the government with strong influence over the people. Mosques and religious centers are the most prominent social media in underdeveloped Islamic societies such as Afghanistan. The existence of more than 120,000 active mosques, led by 240,000 mullahs and muezzins and 13,000 religious’ schools in Afghanistan (24 million weekly mosque attendees) is a clear example of this large volume of forgotten institutions. Westerners and the Afghan government have never paid enough attention to mosques and religious schools and their impact on the growth of extremism in Afghanistan. Their lack of awareness has led to increased Islamic extremist thinking today. The majority of 99.99% of mullahs of mosques and teachers of religious schools consider liberalism and freedom to be equivalent to blasphemy and contrary to Islam. They propagandize against freedom and encourage people to oppose independence. This is a kind of blatant promotion of extremism. Westerners and the international community must confront extremist mosques and religious schools to reduce extremism. It is not possible to close them in Afghanistan, but it is possible to implement large-scale reforms using economic mechanisms.





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