Afghan women TV presenters told ‘more veil, less make-up’

Published: February 15, 2012
Afghanistan has instructed women TV presenters to stop appearing without a headscarf and to wear less make-up, officials said, raising fears about creeping restrictions on the fledgling media. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Afghanistan has instructed women TV presenters to stop appearing without a headscarf and to wear less make-up, officials said, raising fears about creeping restrictions on the fledgling media. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KABUL: Afghanistan has instructed women TV presenters to stop appearing without a headscarf and to wear less make-up, officials said, raising fears about creeping restrictions on the fledgling media.

“All the TV networks are in seriousness asked to stop women presenters from appearing on TV without a veil and with dense make-up,” the information and culture ministry said. “All women newscasters on Afghan TV channels are also asked to respect Islamic and Afghan values,” it added.

A spokesperson for President Hamid Karzai told AFP on Tuesday that the ministry took the decision after coming under pressure from the Ulema council, the country’s highest religious body of Islamic scholars.

Afghan media, essentially non-existent under the 1996 to 2001 Taliban regime, have enjoyed considerable freedom, with more than two dozen TV stations springing up in the decade since the 2001 US-led invasion.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Goraya Sb
    Feb 15, 2012 - 11:46AM

    Long Live The Afghan Muslims!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Sajid
    Feb 15, 2012 - 11:58AM

    Might as well call it a radio with a screen.


  • Maryam
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:20PM

    What’s so peculiar about that?


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 12:21PM

    Tell the men too who come on TV to Cover their faces .


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 12:36PM

    Those who have support in the masses can dictate the institutions and taliban have strong support among the masses within and outside the Afghanistan especially from the neighboring and Arab countries


  • Ansari
    Feb 15, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Hukum for men and women are different.


  • zaid hamid
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:01PM

    ban TV and promote radio.


  • Dr Omar
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:46PM

    Seriously reminds me of the dark ages in Europe! It’s ironic & hilarious that instead of concentrating on issues like poverty, education, health and laying out infrastructures (roads, water and electricity); the government and clergy are more interested in the amount of make-up a woman wears and the extent of her face coverage!

    In-fact the Ulema could also play a cruical role in uniting the numerous fractions in Afghanistan by preaching Islam’s universal message of tolerance and brotherhood and can seriously contribute in re-building this war torn country!

    It’s really amazing as to what passes for priorities!


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 4:59PM

    @Xoya: I agree the men should also cover their faces, as handsome and good looking men in swanky jackets and tight jeans ignite desire and bad sinful thoughts in the mind of women. And such act of men are corrupting the soul and and mind of women and inciting them to go on path of sin. This can not be permitted as they are also future mothers of boys and girls who will be the citizens of Ummah. So men should put only loose kurta pajama and cover their faces to protect the minds of women.


  • Akthar
    Feb 15, 2012 - 5:33PM

    In Pakistan too, we should adopt this dress code. There are many youtube video`s of Anchors of Pakistan and comments are really bad. So, we should also learn from afghans


  • u_too
    Feb 15, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Why dont they tell the men who watch tv to look away wen these women come


  • Tony C.
    Feb 15, 2012 - 6:46PM

    Perhaps Afghanistan should replace television with radio. I have noticed that the majority of Muslim men under the age of seventy cannot take their eyes off attractive Western women, particularly blonds, and they stare to the point of rudeness, even when the women are dressed demurely. It has become so bad, some Muslim tourist countries have inspectors to move the perverts on if they get out of hand. In a way it indicates that the Muslim men have a healthy libido, and nature has planned it this way so that the human specie can continue to grow. All that is required is to have some type of psychological counselling in place so that the men can learn to control their suppressed admiration for the opposite sex. Blaming women for the problem is quite uncivilized, I have noticed that the separation and/or divorce rate is quite high for male controlled Muslim women when they move to Western countries. They do not wish to be dominated and what Afghanistan is now doing to their women is a case in point. The reason America gets away with attacking Muslim countries is because half their population are females and they shiver with dread at the thought of male Muslims having control over them. Think about it.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 15, 2012 - 9:03PM

    What Ulema Council is doing in Pakistan?

    Just yesterday, female TV presenters of Pakistan were busy in talking on all the TV channels how people were celebrating Valentine’s Day in Pakistan with their Duppatas were hanging on single shoulder.

    Afghanistan and Pakistan are next door neighbours and both are Muslim countries.

    The Islam in Pakistan has less significance than in Afghanistan.


  • Pakistani First
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:04AM

    At all the people commenting that Pakistan should also adopt these medieval laws, may I suggest that you move to the west of the border. You can have burqa clad women to your hearts content. I’m all for morality and proper dressing but if you do not like a woman’s appearence then don’t look at her. Simple!
    Tells alot about our priorities when we are more worried about what women wear than our fledging economy or corrupt government.


  • Salam Bombay
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:48AM

    A backward thinking, highly dogmatic and absolute crap organization like Ulema council or for that matter any religious council should be banned all across the world. These insecure leaders are just trying to protect their weakness by telling women to hide their faces. How about you gouge out your eyes. Burrah mat dekho, simple. No sight , no temptations. Who gives Ulema the right to impose everything on women and allow men to do all they want ? But why am I cursing them ? Common people and citizens are the ones who give Ulema Council so much importance. They take their word as word from Allah. Such blind belief and unrestricted faith has given such Councils to decide the fate of their subject. So if people really do not like the suggestions of Ulema council, stop giving it any importance.


  • John B
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:42AM

    Both Afghan and PAK govt are making compromises with the religious orders on different scales and very likely soon it will be hard to distinguish between the two countries.


  • Freidun
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:56AM

    @Salam Bombay
    Right on bro. The Ulema Council are a bunch of perverted heathens married to multiple women half their age and these hypocrites are elevated on a pedestal by their cohorts i.e. the power hungry politicians. The nexus between politicians and the corrupt clergy in Pakistan and Afghanistan is destroying their respective societies. God save us from these Munafiqeen.


  • pakhtoon
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:59AM

    its our culture.


  • Tony C.
    Feb 16, 2012 - 5:28AM

    @Dr Omar:
    I can only, completely, agree with Dr. Omar. These men in the higher councils appear to have overlooked the fact that God/Allah created women with many assets that should not be under-utilized. It goes without saying that they were designed to be attractive to men. Also as a general rule they are kinder than men, less aggressive and more caring. All part of the original design. What I think is mostly overlooked though is the fact that women are at least as intelligent as the men. In Western countries where women are given equal opportunities teenage girls generally qualify for higher learning institutes in greater numbers than their male counterparts. If a country does not allow their females to develop intellectually they are wasting 50% of their human resources, and they become under-developed backwaters. Afghanistan is a clear example of this. What appears to have bypassed most Muslim men in the higher circles is that ten years ago the treatment of females by the Taliban Government flashed around the world and was watched in horror, by Western women, on television. This latest advice from the Ulema Council appears to be a reversion to the bad old days. After ten years of fighting, austerity, death and destruction the Council and the Government in Kabul have not learnt a thing My sympathy goes out to the Afghan people.


  • Feb 16, 2012 - 5:47AM

    So if you cannot marry young multiple women, they are perverted?


  • Feb 16, 2012 - 5:48AM

    @John B:
    They call it AfPak. We call it Muslim Ummah. InshaAllah your words will come true.


  • Dr Omar
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Its ironic that a religon that preaches peace and tolerance, emphasizes on gaining knowledge and enlightment and allows all of its followers (Men & Women both) equal opportunities to excel; is being reduced to a set of dogmatic and Medieval tribal practices by a few people for their own nefarious purposes.

    And even more scary is the thought that quite a few of the so called educated people consider these practices “Islamic” without ever reading up or looking at multiple frames of references!


  • afaqui
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:54AM

    why does the express tribune NOT write about Baroness warsi..a proud and practising cabinet member of Britain…Her meeting with the pope ..and the queen and the pope applauding her on her on her scathing attack on creeping secularism and atheism..she met the pepe in full duppatta and urged the christians to be proud and practising christians.


  • John B
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:34AM

    If that is what you want, so be it. PAK won’t be one country and punjabi and Sindhi women and men cannot tolerate it. I think I know more about PAK than you do.


  • Feb 16, 2012 - 10:48AM

    @afaqui: Only if you knew that secularism and atheism are poles apart…


  • Maxwood
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:01PM

    @ Ansari

    Good, May Allah mercy upon you. All things belong to Almighty

    @ VINOD

    as a civilized resident of this planet , one should adhere to basic antiquates and please I beg you not to insult Islamic Laws, as there are more than 1 Billion Human Beings belong to this very group (WHICH IS ISLAM), and by insulting Islamic Laws and history of this religion you are hurting the feeling of these people.

    Same is applicable to every individual.

    May we all have the knowledge and strengthRecommend

  • Veronica
    Feb 17, 2012 - 3:17AM

    Sigh… my feminist theory class had a very intensive conversation today about this kind of female oppression going on in the name of Islam. It’s really sad to see a story like this… to actually see this kind of thing being a reality, and not just some general stereotype of Islamic women.


  • Feb 17, 2012 - 7:15AM

    @John B:
    Diving us on ethnicity. Divide and rule. Nice try.


  • Feb 17, 2012 - 5:41PM

    @Maxwood: Dear Maxwood I repeat what I have said. Please tell me where do you find a word of insult to the great religion of Islam. It is a fact that right wing and dogmatic people of all religions including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam have been forcing women to follow dress codes on the argument that their freedom to dress ignites sin in the minds of men. These arguments if true? why are not applicable to the other half of human race that naked torsos of men in swimming suits and “handsome and good looking men in swanky jackets and tight jeans ignite desire and bad sinful thoughts in the mind of women.” Why on the same argument there should not be a dress code for men? Instead of answering the point you are using the same old rhetoric of insult to religion used by Hindu or other conservativesRecommend

  • Nirmit
    Feb 24, 2012 - 5:34PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    yes but Humanity and to exist as a free mind in society is more important than the religion. also because of this difference you are not under going a civil war…..imagine if would have born as a woman, how would you have felt…..Islam is just being used as a means to supress the women power and is a real irony that the instrument of creation, through whom God actually creates is treated with restrictions……


  • Nirmit
    Feb 24, 2012 - 5:49PM

    what sin women in Afghanistan have ever committed so that they should hide their faces!!!! are tehy responsible for the civil war in Afghanistan……..have they run killing agenda for last 22 years!!!…..have they deprived thousands and thousands from their home and their world…..have they made scores of children orphan!!!!……..

    All was done by men, motivated by their ambitions; still alas, they are free to move; it is not their lusty eyes which is a problem, but the woman’s bare face is the culprit…..hypocracy of pathetic order… must feel pity for the “Believer” if they think they are……I would be more happy to be an “non-believer” and hence be with the truth, the almighty, the Allah or Ishwar or God whatever one may believe in……..


  • Kashif Hameed
    Feb 27, 2012 - 5:58PM

    When muslims invaded spain the clergies in their churches were seriously involved in heated “Intellectual” debate as to how many angels can dance on the tip of a needle. Thats what we are doing now. why is extent of woman’s coverage of face and make up the top priority in a poverty ridden war torn country ,beats me. Who decides these priorities any way?


  • Tony C.
    Feb 27, 2012 - 6:33PM

    @Kashif Hameed:
    Dear Kashif,
    You are quite right, although perhaps for the wrong reasons. In times of hardship the last thing women want is for the clergy and some extremely possessive males to be doing a put-down on them. Allah made women beautiful and I am sure it was not intended that this beauty should be hidden from view. I keep pointing this out, but one of the reasons America is still in Afghanistan is because 50% of Americans are women and they like all Western women, are horrified at the way Taliban men treat women. Although clothing is only a small part of the problem it is never-the-less an up front indication of the male attitude towards Muslim women, whereas many of the more important factors are hidden from view. The problem has gone on for so long many misguided men think it is alright. However, it is an important problem, times are changing and quickly, so they had better get used to it. I do not think you can keep the lid on this thing for much longer.


  • kashif
    Feb 28, 2012 - 8:52PM

    @pakhtoon: its our culture.
    Sigh………That makes it so much easier. That means it’s not written in stone and can be changed for the better ,if it’s causing more harm than good.
    If only people could differentiate between culutral values and religion and not confuse the two together.


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