Human Rights in the Context of Islam

Human Rights in the Context of Islam & Afghanistan

Equal Access has produced extensive media on the subject of human rights within the context of Islam in Afghanistan. From a 100-episode radio drama and a host-led magazine show to women’s listening circles and human rights leadership trainings, our Human Rights in the Context of Islam and Afghanistan Initiative reinforces democratic principles and supports civil society within existing cultural and religious traditions in Afghanistan.

“My Rights, Our Rights, and Others’ Rights in the Light of Islam” is an upbeat and culturally appropriate radio drama series written by our talented Afghan team for Afghan audiences. The drama incorporates human rights related themes into each radio episode, each of which is founded on the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, allowing the characters to explore these issues within the context of their faith.  Issues such as forced marriage, violence against women, and access to education, employment and health care are broached in a sensitive way, often using humor as an effective tool to encourage audiences. Although these issues usually concern women, the drama takes a more holistic look at the role of all family members. As any of the issues, especially those related to marriage, also affect men, the programs aim to educate the entire family rather than individual members.

“Our Beloved Afghanistan” is an innovative host-led radio series of inspirational stories based on the lives, challenges and real stories of Afghan men and women.  Presented by an ebullient Afghan-American woman named Mahbouba (whose name means beloved), the stories provide models of positive change for other Afghans, specifically women, to emulate. Examples of stories covered on the series include female patients at the Herat Burns Hospital who set themselves on fire to end their suffering, profiles on women in business, and features on biwa (widows) and how women cope with the Afghan tradition of keeping widows in the family by forcing them to marry their in-laws.

In addition to the radio drama and host-led radio series, our complementary leadership training for more than 5,000 rural women and Islamic leaders on human rights in Islam reached a broad range of influential people at the community level including teachers and community health workers.  The curriculum was also expanded to include additional trainings with illiterate participants – since at least 70% of Afghanistan’s population can neither read nor write. Trained facilitators lead local listening discussions for women in their homes, allowing a safe and constructive environment to discuss Islamic rights in their community.  With support from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, our collaborations with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and other NGOs working on human rights maximize the impact of this combined radio program and leadership training.

The Human Rights in the Context of Islam and Afghanistan Initiative has received funding from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the United Nations Democracy Fund, the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth Office, the Open Society Institute and the Flora Family Foundation.

Success Story

Local Leaders Support Women & Girls to Attend School and Work Outside the Home

Media Links

Video Human Rights in the Context of Islam & Afghanistan (Video Story)
Audio Listen to: “Our Beloved Afghanistan” (English translated episode)