Taliban bans education for girls—but one Christian is defying that mandate

April 22, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

Any girl sixth grade and over can no longer attend school in Afghanistan. For her, education is now only a dream.

This is the terrible mandate the Taliban have announced for all girls in the country (No. 1 on Open Doors 2022 World Watch List). Now in complete control after they seized Kabul last August, the Taliban have declared that no girl is allowed to pursue an education past sixth grade. The decision cripples and devalues Afghan females who have fought so hard for a small degree of independence and justice. Banning education means women can’t have or pursue professional careers. Instead, they’re forced to rely solely on their husbands for financial support and status.

Hana Nasri*, Open Doors’ frontline partner in the region, stressed the goal of the ideology: to disempower women. “Girls going to school could be empowering for them,” she says, “and the Taliban doesn’t want that. The Taliban wants to rob women of agency. Young girls just stay at home. There are no opportunities for them. And it will stay that way as long as the Taliban is in power.”

Less than a year since the Taliban stormed the government, the group has already reneged on their public statements of women continuing to have “a right to education and to work.”

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Some Afghan women, however, are refusing to let the Taliban and their hatred dictate their lives. For Christian schoolteacher Sister Fazlia*, permanently turning out the light in her classroom was not an option.

Fazlia went from being a girl’s schoolteacher one day to expendable the next. The day after all the schools closed for girls, the Taliban came looking for her—being both a schoolteacher and a Christian put a target on her back. Once a respected member of her community, Fazlia is now an enemy of the state.

Fearing for her life, Fazlia fled Afghanistan. She brought nieces and nephews with her, as well as seven of her students.

She left behind family, familiarity and even precious plans of an imminent marriage.

The Taliban is trying to crush and manipulate the future of women, but they didn’t plan on utterly courageous individuals like Fazlia. Now out of the country, she continues to teach her students and those under her care. She even teaches them Bible songs and stories.

Our partner Hana had a chance to meet with Fazlia, and as broken as Fazlia was over her complete upheaval of life, through tears, she pointed up, to Heaven, declaring that’s where her help, healing and courage comes from.

Now she is the sole caretaker of many children. “I have always loved them very much,” she shares, acknowledging the responsibility. “I wouldn’t trust anyone else to take care of them. I made the right choice.”

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As Fazlia continues to mourn the life that could have been, she faces a completely unknown future.

Let’s fall on our knees on our sister’s behalf and pray God will illuminate His plan for her. Let’s pray she’ll find restoration and that the right people will cross her path and help her take next steps on this completely foreign road. And let’s also pray blessings over her—Fazlia’s courage will permanently change at least seven lives for the better; let’s pray God will anoint her, keep her and give her peace.

Lord, we ask You please hear our prayers for our bold and dear sister—and all the girls and women in Afghanistan who must live under such oppression and injustice.

 

Top photo was taken by Sgt. Kimberly Lamb (U.S. Armed Forces), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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