‘Wedding or a funeral?’ Taliban bans music at Kabul wedding halls

Taliban imposes strict ban on music in Kabul’s wedding halls, saying it contradicts the teachings of Islam in its continuing crackdown.

Zabiullah Nuri, 45, covers his face to protect his identity, as he shows his musical instruments during an interview with The Associated Press, in Kabul
A musician covers his face to protect his identity as he shows his musical instruments that were broken by the Taliban [File: Hussein Malla/AP Photo]

The Taliban’s religious police will be scouring wedding halls in Kabul, Afghanistan to enforce a ban on playing music that they say contradicts Islamic rulings on such celebrations, a news report says.

In an online statement, the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice said on Sunday that hall owners were instructed that no more music is allowed at wedding parties, the German press agency dpa reported.

Last year, the Taliban advised business owners to avoid music at public gatherings, but the ruling was not heavily enforced.

“If there is no music at a wedding, then what is the difference between a wedding ceremony and a funeral ceremony?” the manager of a festivities hall in the Afghan capital asked dpa on Monday. His name was withheld for security reasons.

Following the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, many artists and musicians fled Afghanistan and sought asylum in Western countries.

The Taliban considers music to be against the teachings of Islam. According to the group’s strict interpretation, only the human voice should produce music – and only in praise of God.

The Taliban outlawed dozens of seemingly innocuous activities in Afghanistan during its 1996-2001 rule, including kite flying, watching TV soap operas, having fancy haircuts, and playing music.

While such pastimes made a comeback after a United States-led invasion ousted the armed group, following the Taliban’s return to power, crackdowns again increased.

Afghan women and girls have faced the most restrictions, including bans on them attending high schools and universities as well as holding many kinds of jobs.

In April, a women-run radio station in Afghanistan’s northeast was shut down because, according to Taliban officials, it was playing music during the holy month of Ramadan, which Moezuddin Ahmadi, the director of Information and Culture in Badakhshan province, said violated the “laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies