The woman who challenged the Taliban’s veto on female education with the Koran in her hand

  • Noor Gul Shafaq
  • BBC World Service

Protestant Adela in front of the University of Kabul.

image source, Adele


Protestant Adela in front of the University of Kabul.

“I wasn’t afraid because I thought my demand was fair,” says a defiant 18-year-old Afghan woman whose ambition to go to university was thwarted by the Taliban ban on higher education for women.

Angry at the prospect of seeing her future disappear, Adela (the name we’ve given her for her safety) starred in a extraordinary solo protest in front of Kabul University while invoking words from the Qur’an.

On Sunday December 25, Adela stood at the entrance holding a cardboard with a powerful word written in Arabic: “iqra” or “read”. Muslims believe that this was the first word revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad.

“God has given us the right to education. We need to fear God, not the Taliban who want to take away our rights,” the woman told the BBC’s Afghan service.

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