Afghan Goal: Toning Down the Radical Preachers : NPR
The ministry that governs religious affairs in Afghanistan has announced what some are calling a “three strikes” policy.
It’s a warning directed at Muslim clerics, or imams, accused of inciting violence in their Friday sermons. Imams across the country routinely condemn the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and speak in favor of the Taliban.
Despite the rapid growth of the media in Afghanistan, many still get their news and commentary during the traditional Friday prayers at the mosque. The Friday sermon usually has one religious lesson — but another section is reserved for current events. The message on one recent Friday at a central Kabul mosque was about corruption.
The imam railed against corrupt politicians, but it was tame compared with what often comes over the loudspeakers. In rural areas, the sermons sometimes directly support the Taliban. Regular rants against the government and its American allies prompted the Ministry of Religious Affairs to put mosques nationwide on notice.
Warning Against Incitement
Abdul Malik Zeyaee, a senior ministry official, says that imams — many of whom are appointed by the ministry — will get three strikes if they incite violence.
First they get a warning, and then a dismissal from the post. And finally, if they keep preaching, a visit from Afghanistan’s security services.