AFGHANISTAN. Herat: A video of Mawlawi Mujib Rahman Ansari, a cleric of Herat’s Gazargah mosque, preaching to a Friday-Prayer in Herat, spiked anger among government officials and people across Afghanistan. His remarks about the government system and security forces have received massive backlash on social media.
“Supporting the current system of Afghanistan is a grave sin. Anyone who supports the system with his pen, money, and weapons has committed a grave sin, ” Ansari said.
“Those who support the government are “worse” than Jews,” he added.
Senior Afghan government officials have reacted to the remarks by cleric Ansari. The officials have said that his statements are contradicting with the views of the world ‘Ulemas’.
In a press conference, Afghanistan National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Muhib said, “Someone who instigates people against the government is a rebel and National security will investigate the possibility of any regional bits of intelligence to be involved in his words. There’s a higher possibility of the case to be regional interference.”
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“Herat is not a place for producing Daesh(ISIS)”
Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali has blamed cleric Ansari in a press conference, asserting that he’s running a pro-Daesh agenda. Qatali also said that he will not let anyone promote radical notions among people, even at the expense of his blood.
“Bring down your filthy flag, we devoted blood to build this city and make people comfortable. We won’t let Daesh come even if it is at the cost of our blood,” he added.
Meanwhile, legal activists believe that words against security forces and the government means “Propaganda against the government”. The activists believe that the guilty must be prosecuted based on the government code of punishments.
The department for Hajj and Religious Affairs of Herat also asked Ansari to clarify for people if his words were emotional. Abdul-Khaleq Heravi, Director of Herat Religious Affairs office said, “Ansari statements are not acceptable for the Ulema and Islam, they are his personal views.” He emphasized that Ulemas believe that Afghanistan is in dire need of unity at the current time and should not draw distances among people.
The backlash on social media
The remarks by cleric Ansari have infuriated many Afghan people. Some Facebook users have posted photos of Afghan security forces with a caption in support of the system and its people working for it. Some users called his words an insult to the nation. Naser Gulran, a young activist from Herat said, “The current system has been built with the blood of thousands of people. He believes using the Mosques to call the ‘Sin’ for the system itself is ‘Sin’.”
This is not the first time that Mawlawi Ansari has received backlash for his words. In a press conference last year, he said, “Women’s wearing open clothes mean their men lack honor.”
After the heavy backlash, cleric Ansari took his words back and asserted that his purpose targeted those who support the system to commit “grave sin” and not those who work for it.
Mawlawi Ansari’s followers have been stopping couples on the street to demand proof of their marriage, a youth activist said.
Cleric Ansari has also posted billboards declaring that any man whose wife has open clothes (unlike Afghan traditional clothes) in public is a coward.
Last year in an interview with New York Times, he insisted a visiting American journalist convert to Islam. When the journalist declined, the cleric gave him a stern look and said, “Then you will burn in hell.”