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09/30/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – In another indication of how the Taliban plans to govern Afghanistan, the new Taliban government issued a mandate in Helmand Province that bans the shaving of beards. In addition, barbershops are now not allowed to play music, according to a statement issued by the Taliban-led government of the province.

The dictate is based on the Taliban government’s extremist interpretation of Shariah law. “You are urgently informed that from today, shaving beards and playing music in barbershops and public baths are strictly prohibited,” the local authority said Sunday in a statement. They further stated that if any barbershop or public bath is found to have shaved anyone’s beard or played music, they will be dealt with according to the Sharia principles, and they will not have the right to complain.”

The decline of human rights in Afghanistan has been a source of prominent concern for the international community and watchdog groups like ICC. While some initially hoped for a more moderate Taliban, early indicators of their rule have shown that they are as extreme as before.

Christian communities in Afghanistan have been living in an increased state of fear ever since the Taliban took control of the country in mid-August. Christians are receiving threatening phone calls and other forms of intimidation from suspected Taliban operatives.

Christians are estimated to be as many as 12,000 in Afghanistan and are largely comprised of converts from Islam to Christianity, making them subject to the death penalty in accordance with the Taliban’s extremist version of Shariah.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].