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The Afghani Candidate | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Candidate Mohammed Sadiq Mubashir (Asharq Al-Awsat Photo)

Candidate Mohammed Sadiq Mubashir (Asharq Al-Awsat Photo)

Candidate Mohammed Sadiq Mubashir (Asharq Al-Awsat Photo)

Kabul, Asharq Al-Awsat- Mohammed Sadiq Mubashir, a candidate in next month”s legislative elections in Afghanistan, is a 40 year old Tajik businessman who sells imported goods to some of the boutiques around Kabul and the shops in Wazir Akbar Khan. This is the area in which many Western embassies are located, and where Afghan Arab leaders, including Osama bin Laden”s deputy Ayman al Zawahiri once lived.

A leading Islamist candidate, he graduated from the Faculty of Da”wa and Us”ul ud Din (Islamic preaching and religious ruling) at Umm al Qura University, in Mecca. A father of four boys and three daughters, the Islamist figure was elegantly dressed when we met, his beard trimmed, and at ease in front of the camera.

Mubashir is a fluent Arabic speaker; he cites verses from the Quran and the Hadith in his speech, especially when referring to secular minded candidates and women who have removed their veil and burqas as a sign of progress in Afghanistan. Other Arab speaking candidates are Sheikh Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Ahmad Shah Ahmad Zayid (also fluent in English), and Mohammed Siddiq Mohammed Shukri, former Minister of Information and graduate of the Islamic University in Medina.

During our interview at the Baba Salis Hotel, on Shahrano Street near the US embassy, the candidate attacked the Taliban regime and accused it for distorting the image of Islam. He revealed that, on his return from studying in Saudi Arabia, Taliban forces attacked his home and destroyed a number of religious texts, including &#34In the Shade of the Quran&#34 by Sayyid Qutb. Mubashir feared he would be arrested in the raid and later fled to northern Afghanistan, across the Panjshir valley, to Mazar-i Sharif and on to Kunduz where he joined Sheikh Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf.

According to the Islamist candidate, the Taliban will be remembered for their fanaticism, narrow mindedness, distorted image of Islam, severe methods of punishment, ill treatment of women, lack of interest in education, and for exhausting the country”s resources in their fight against the Northern Alliance. They also tortured anyone suspected of carrying weapons, belonging to the opposition, and listening to music. Mubashir believed the Taliban government was destined to fail as it had fought the leaders of the Afghan mujahideen who liberated the country from Soviet occupation at a loss of 2 million fighters.

Encouraged by friends and family, Mubashir will be running for election in the Bagman constituency in Kabul. He is seeking to implement Islamic Sharia law (religious law) in the country, including concerning crime and punishment, as is the case in Saudi Arabia, and to increase investment in education.

Despite running independently in the election campaign, the candidate obtained the approval of the leader of Ittehad-i Islami (Islamic Union) Sheikh Sayyaf. Six women, the sisters of deceased mujahideen fighters are also running &#34to implement Sharia law and re-impose the veil for women but not the blue burqa imported from India which does not correspond to Afghanistan”s heritage and culture.&#34

Recognizing the enormity of the task that lays ahead, Mubashir said that after gaining a seat in parliament, he would put pressure on the government to implement Sharia law in all aspects of Afghan life, in cooperation with other Islamic representatives.

Mubashir demanded that Russia apologize and pay compensation for occupying Afghanistan in 1978 after a military coup deposed President Mohammed Daoud. The coup was followed by the arrest of a number of religious leaders, the death of thousands in prisons, and massacres around the country, until Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan on 27 December 1979.

The Islamist figure refused to be drawn into a debate concerning the ongoing presence of coalition forces on Afghan territory saying the issue should be discussed by the people themselves in a referendum on the necessity of these troops and a timeline for their withdrawal.

Mubashir expressed his support for President Hamid Karzai, provided he implements Sharia law and ends corruption. He called from improving relations with Arab and Islamic countries and inviting them to participate in the reconstruction of the country &#34and not to forget the Muslim Afghan population who they assisted during their jihad against the Soviet occupation.&#34

Given the opportunity to discuss his election program on air, the candidate would mention the application of religious law, the closure of the US-run Bagram prison, the release of its detainees, and the return of Afghan men held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by the US military.

He acknowledged that improving the livelihood of the citizens took priority especially considering the rising rate of unemployment and the growing of opium.

Denying receiving any financial support from external sources, Mubashir said he paid for his election posters himself and has yet to advertise on radio and television during a segment allotted by the government. He proudly mentioned that Sheikh Sayyaf was backing him in his campaign.

The Islamist candidate does not have bodyguards despite the recent deaths of a number of candidates in Ghazni, Qandahar, and Paktia provinces. &#34The media says the Taliban are responsible for these terrorist crimes. Life is in the hands of God and no one can prevent His will,&#34 he said. &#34I rely on God to protect me.&#34

When asked what laws he would amend if elected, Mubashir replied, &#34There is much talk about the drug problem and there is a need to put an end to it. No one seems to address prohibiting the sale of alcohol, or tackling corruption and bribery which are rife across Afghanistan.&#34 In parliament, I will call on all clerics to issue a fatwa (religious ruling) banning the sale of alcohol in Afghan cities. I will also urge the Supreme Court in Kabul to issue laws against corruption.&#34

He declared that he opposes the participation of women in politics, saying, &#34I support women”s right to be educated. However, I am not in favor of women becoming ministers because the nature of this position would force her to mix with strange men, an act which is prohibited by Islam.&#34