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Afghan parliament committee drafts Taliban-style moral law

Agence France Presse
April 16, 2008
An Afghan legislative committee has drafted a bill seeking to introduce Taliban-style Islamic morality codes banning women from wearing make-up in public and forbidding young boys from wearing female fashions.
The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, needs approval by both chambers of the Islamist-dominated parliament and President Hamid Karzai signature to become a law.
"Women and girls are obliged to not wear make-up, wear suitable dresses and observe hijab (veil) while at work or classrooms," said one article of the draft.
It also aims to ban women dancers performing during concerts and other public events as well as on television.
"The mass media including television and cable networks must avoid broadcasting programmes against Islamic morals," it said without giving details.
In a similar move the parliament, which is dominated by former anti-Soviet Islamist warlords, called earlier this month for a ban on dancing and Indian soap dramas on private television networks.
Men and young boys must avoid wearing bracelets, necklaces, "feminist dresses," and hair-bands, the draft reads.
The proposals also demand an end to dog and bird-fighting, pigeon-flying, billiards and video games, all past times favoured by many Afghans.
It demands separate halls for men and women during wedding parties, while loud music is banned at such gatherings. Afghans hold big and costly get-togethers for weddings, usually in a public hall with music.
If the proposals are passed, violators could be fined 500 Afghanis (10 dollars) to 5,000, according to the draft.
The plans mirror many of the laws introduced by the extremist Taliban regime, which ruled the country from 1996 to 2001 with strict Islamic Sharia law.
Copyright 2008 Agence France Presse.
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