ABWA Official Website – Afghanistan, with a majority Muslim population, borders China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Pakistan. With Kabul as its capital, the most important cities in Afghanistan are Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad.
The majority of Afghan Muslims are Hanafi Sunnis, and the Imami and Ismaili Shiites are a minority. Shiites make up between 25% and 30% of Afghanistan’s population, the largest of which is the Hazara Shiite ethnic group. Other Shiite ethnic groups include Sadats, Heratis, Ghezelbash, and a small number of Baluchs, Tajiks, and Pashtuns.
Since the beginning of Islam, this religion has come to Afghanistan, which spread with the migration of Alawites to Khorasan during the Abbasid dynasty, and then during the Ilkhanate and Safavid dynasties. From the time of Abdur Rahman Khan’s rule (1880-1901), when Shiites, especially the Hazaras, were severely suppressed and killed and their autonomy was taken away, until the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Shiites were always threatened and oppressed.
After the establishment of a political system based on elections, the situation of the Shiites relatively improved, until the Taliban regained power in August 2021. However, the policy of the government before the Taliban (led by Ashraf Ghani) was not free of discrimination against Shiites, and during it, there were several terrorist attacks against Shiites, especially the Hazaras. In the previous government (Ghani’s government), the Shiites of Afghanistan enjoyed several parties, social groups, religious institutions, and centers, seminaries and universities, and media, and they had representatives in the parliament and a few senior government officials. In the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban, no senior government official has been elected from the Shiites, and they are again discriminated against and deprived.
Until the suppression and massacre by Abdur Rahman Khan in the late 19th, the Imami Shiites of Afghanistan lived in a few specific and non-dispersed places. Ghezalbesh tribe in the cities of Kabul, Ghazni, and Kandahar, Hazaras in Hazarajat and Mazar-e Sharif, and Heratis in Herat. After Abdur Rahman Khan’s policies of suppressing and killing Shiites, especially the Hazaras, they were dispersed in most parts of Afghanistan and neighboring countries. Now the Shiites are the majority in four provinces of Daikundi, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, and Bamyan, and dozens of cities. They also live as large or small minorities in all parts of the country.
On the sidelines of the 7th General Assembly of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, Baqeri, reporter of ABNA News Agency has conducted a brief interview with Sayed Mohsen Hujat, one ulama of Afghanistan, as follows:
ABNA – First of all, please introduce yourself.
Ayatollah Hojat – I am Sayed Mohsen Hujat, one of the ulama of Afghanistan. Currently, I live in Kabul, the capital of the country, and I do various activities in this city.
ABNA – What problems are the Shiites of Afghanistan facing?
Ayatollah Hujat – First of all, it should be noted that Shiites are a minority in Afghanistan, and they constitute only about a quarter of the country’s population, and even the Sunnis consider the population of Shiites to be less than this figure. Being a minority has caused various obstacles for the country’s Shiites, and the efforts to remove these obstacles have not been enough so far. Among these obstacles is the lack of facilities necessary for preaching in Afghanistan, such as access to various books and holding preaching programs freely.
ABNA – How can the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly help the Shiites of Afghanistan?
Ayatollah Hujat – One of the good capacities of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly is the WikiShia. This online encyclopedia can provide good content to the audience without the need for books. It is necessary and useful to enrich WikiShia as much as possible. The Pashto language is the language of one-third of the population of Afghanistan, and therefore, it is of great importance to promote the Pashto language as much as possible in WikiShia.
It should be noted that many Afghan Shiites receive their books in PDF format from the Internet. Because either they cannot afford to buy paper copies of the books, or the books they need are not available in Afghanistan.
The AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly can provide small booklets needed by ordinary people with the coordination of ulama and Shiite seminaries of Afghanistan for the country’s Shiites. It is possible to convey many contents to ordinary people through booklets and pamphlets.
ABNA – Please explain the influence of the Islamic Revolution of Iran on the people of Afghanistan.
Ayatollah Hujat – At the beginning of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, many people of Afghanistan were supporters of this revolution, and at the time of Imam Khomeini’s demise, public mourning was announced in Afghanistan. However today, due to the propaganda of the United States against Iran, and Iran’s lack of response to this propaganda, the situation is different.
The United States has inflamed the atmosphere in Afghanistan, and we must enlighten in response. In terms of media, the United States has acted more strongly and efficiently than Iran in Afghanistan, therefore, after the martyrdom of General Soleimani, no official commemoration ceremony for this martyr was held in Afghanistan. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has done many services in Afghanistan, but it has not been able to benefit from its actions.
ABNA – How are Iran’s media activities in Afghanistan?
Ayatollah Hujat – Every movement anywhere in the world, whether Islamic or non-Islamic, has its own supporters and enemies. On the other hand, we know that the enemy is very active. Meanwhile, the media activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are weak.
Millions of Afghan immigrants live in Iran and compared to Afghanistan a more comfortable life is provided for them. But this proper measure of the Islamic Republic of Iran has not been reflected in the world.
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution emphasizes the Jihad of Enlightenment, and without the Jihad of Enlightenment, the services of Islamic Revolution Iran will be less effective. The National Media of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIB) has many facilities, and by producing documentaries in different languages, it can prevent distortions.
ABNA – What are your suggestions for creating communication between world Shiites?
Ayatollah Hujat – In order to create the desired effect and prevent the waste of costs, any measure in this regard must be taken in a coherent manner, with a developed program, regionally based, and under supervision. For instance, the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly has representative offices in Kabul, Herat, and Mazar-e-Sharif, and these offices must function in an integrated manner.
ABNA – What is the importance of holding the General Assembly of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly?
Ayatollah Hujat – The holding of the General Assembly is very necessary, and it allows Shiites from different regions of the world to meet each other, and to familiarize them with each other’s cultures. Identifying the needs and familiarizing the members of the General Assembly of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly with each other’s problems is among other benefits of the General Assembly.