Taliban Orders the Beheading of Mannequins

By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa

On January 2, 2022, the Taliban, citing a breach of Sharia law, began beheading mannequins used in clothing stores in the Herat province of war-torn Afghanistan. Aziz Rahman, the head of the Ministry for Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the city of Herat, stated “We have ordered the shopkeepers to cut the heads off mannequins as this is against Sharia law.”

The Ministry of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which took the place of the former Ministry of Women, is the same ministry that banned long distance travel for women under the current Islamic Republic.

The initial plan was to remove the mannequins altogether, but they’ve received many complaints from shopkeepers citing the economic hardships. Ultimately, it was decided to keep the mannequins but without the heads. The financial loss is still felt by the shopkeepers, however. Business owner, Abdul Wadood Faiz Zada, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica "The heads of the mannequins should be covered, not removed. Each mannequin costs $100, or $80 or $70, and beheading them will be a huge financial loss." The Ministry countered, “If they just cover the head or hide the entire mannequin, the angel of Allah will not enter their shop or house and bless them.”

If you feel like you’ve already read this story from us, you’re right, except this happened in Kano State, Nigeria, back in August of 2021. The reason why the Kano state government removed mannequins with ‘female heads’ was to prevent idolatry. Harun Sani of the Hisbah Corps in Kano State said, “the shape of the breast, the shape of the bottom, is contrary to the teachings of Sharia,” and the mannequins would lead to “impure thoughts.”

Despite the social and economic hardships that both Nigeria and Afghanistan are under, their governments focus on their common enemy - mannequins.

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