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How will media cowl the secretive Afghan mullah who will form Islam’s world standing? — GetReligion

A two-page (paywalled) Wall Street Journal status report by chief foreign correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov final weekend mentioned the militantly Sunni Taliban have but to impose the harshest insurance policies that provoked extensive condemnation throughout the prior Taliban years in energy. 

However the future is iffy.

For the second, females appear capable of attend main faculty, however largely not highschool and school. Inflexible bans on girls leaving residence except accompanied by male relations haven’t reappeared, and a few girls proceed careers although many don’t.

Public spectacles of beheading of opponents, and avenue beatings by non secular police, haven’t resumed (although there are social-media rumors), nor have music and visible artwork but been restricted. Shia and Sufi Muslims, and the tiny enclaves of non-Muslims, are understandably anxious, together with Christians, each coverts and missionaries who selected to stay after the exodus. (Different facets of autocratic rule are commonplace in that a part of the world.) 

Which brings reporters to the important thing chief who’ll be deciding such insurance policies for years to come back. As in neighboring Iran’s theocracy, each nationwide and spiritual management are fused within the particular person of 60-year-old Supreme Commander Hibatullah Akhundzada. This mullah now turns into one of the crucial impactful personalities on the worldwide non secular and political scenes. 

His reign will likely be a problem for journalists since he has by no means made a public look and infrequently points even canned statements. He retains his precise whereabouts unknown, however is assumed to function out of his residence area — not the seat of presidency in Kabul. Within the data vacuum, wild rumors have unfold relating to his supposed ailments or loss of life. This raises an important query for journalists: When Akhundzada is claimed to have launched a brand new assertion or ruling, how does the press know that he, actually, mentioned or wrote it”?

Just one picture of him exists; some media mentions of that appear unaware that strict jurists incorporate images into authoritative Hadith teachings by the Prophet Muhammad that denounced visible artwork of people and animals. 

Akhundzada is Pashtun, like nearly all present rulers although this ethnic group is barely 37 % of the inhabitants. He was skilled by his father, a small-town imam, with additional research in Pakistan. Importantly, after the Taliban took energy in 1996, Akhundzada ultimately ended up as chief justice over the Sharia courts and was accountable for many or a lot of the brutal non secular edicts that precipitated such a global ruckus.

Taliban defectors have instructed Al Jazeera that he’s “ruthless” and “very narrow-minded,” with “the perspective of a typical tribal man.” He’s the third chief of the Taliban. Founding Mullah Mohammed Omar died in 2013 although this was not introduced until 2015 when Mullah Akhtar Mansour was named as head. Akhundzada grew to become the highest Taliban in 2016 after Mansour was killed by a U.S. drone strike. Akhundzada has reportedly survived at the very least two assassination makes an attempt. His brother Hafiz was killed by bombing, and his son Abdur Rahman died whereas finishing up a suicide bombing. 

Although Akhundzada was a deputy to Mansour, his elevation to the highest put up was mildly shocking to analysts. The opposite contenders have been Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the revered Omar, and Mansour’s different deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who runs the vicious Haqqani Community, is designated a terrorist by the U.S. and United Nations, and is now additionally Afghanistan’s highly effective inside minister. 

If the present financial chaos and civil bloodshed persist and trigger the downfall of Akhundzada’s regime, the alternative could be much more radical Sunni hardliners in Afghanistan’s model of the Islamic State, whose troops are actively terrorizing the populace in hopes of seizing energy.

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