Engaging religion to support peace and human rights in Afghanistan

Author: Ansari Institute

Mahan Mirza

In an opinion piece for The Hill, Ansari Institute Executive Director Mahan Mirza advocates for engaging with the Islamic tradition of Sharia law to build peace and advance human rights in Afghanistan.

“If the Biden administration is looking for options,” Mirza writes, “here is one that can change the world: Join the international community in a major diplomatic initiative to engage the Taliban with a team of experts versed in the complex technicalities of Islamic theology and law—scholars who can draw on the sacred history of Islam and harness its internal debates to advocate for an Afghan society that upholds the dignity of all.”

Such an initiative would set the table for a broader and potentially transformative conversation, Mirza says.

“Open and transparent strategic peace building dialogues would invite the Taliban to rethink their tradition,” he writes. “It might expose their ignorance, and, at the very least, compel them to confront the question of why so many people wish to flee the so-called ‘best community raised up for humankind.’ One does not expect to find agreement on all issues. One merely hopes that the very process of sincere engagement will be transformative—for both sides.”

Read the Opinion Piece

Related: Flash Panel on the Unfolding Situation in Afghanistan

Mirza shared additional perspective on the situation in Afghanistan during this recent flash panel, which was presented by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Watch Flash Panel