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2001-12-03

Feminist Theologian Dr. Riffat Hassan On Women and Islam, As Afghan Women Struggle to Gain A seat in the Reconstructed Government of Afghanistan

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Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Northern Alliance leader who was Afghanistan’s last president before the Taliban seized power, said yesterday that his interim government in Kabul would allow a maximum of 200 United Nations peace-keepers to be stationed in the country. Rabbani insisted his party, Jamiat-i-Islami, was glad to send delegates to the conference in Bonn, even though "we didn’t have time to prepare fully". But he revealed differences with the other parties taking part in the conference.

According to the road map towards a peaceful Afghanistan drawn up by the UN’s special representative, LakhdarBrahimi, at the Bonn talks last week, an emergency Grand Assembly, or loya jirga, will lead on to an interim counciland a constitutional assembly until Afghanistan has a new constitution, a broad-based government and a national army.

Leaders at the talks say the new government will be broadly based and representative of Afghanistan as a whole,including its women, and to go to work immediately to manage Afghanistan and work with countries offeringreconstruction aid. At a conference last week at the City University of New York, called "Women for Afghan Women:Securing Our Future" women discussed their inclusion in a new government in Afghanistan. Dr Riffat Hissan, aPakistani feminist theologian, spoke at the conference.

Tape:

  • Dr. Riffat Hassan, feminist theologian and professor of the Religious Studies Program at the University ofLouisville, Kentucky who writes about religious conservatism and feminist theology as a means of combating injusticetoward women in Muslim.

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