Afghan clerics uneasy as civil rights movement gains momentum




 
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May 11th, 2015  
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Topic: Afghan clerics uneasy as civil rights movement gains momentum


By Mirwais Harooni and Jessica Donati KABUL (Reuters) - Powerful religious leaders in Afghanistan are growing uneasy about the challenge to their authority posed by rare civil rights protests in Kabul and widespread anger over the lynching of a young woman wrongly accused of burning a Koran. The highest religious authority, the Ulema Council, exerts considerable influence in a country that remains deeply conservative despite significant changes since the hardline Islamist Taliban fell in 2001. Some Ulema members say that Ghani, who took office in September, has failed to consult with them and seek their advice to the same extent that his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, did. Numbering some 3,000 clerics and scholars, and headed by a 150-strong National Council, the Ulema can sway public opinion significantly through mosques across the country that are still the main source of Afghan social cohesion.




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