Unity for Defending Academic Freedoms in Afghanistan
The accusation of Akef Jawid and Tariq Walipur, students of Heart University, with claims of desecration against Islam, caused deep concerns of all human rights and civil rights activists of Afghanistan around the world.
Modern universities are the centres of science and knowledge. Academic freedoms which encompasses scientific discussion, polemicizing and debating of different ideas are the essential methods of reaching to the truth. Without scientific scepticism there can be no place for teaching and learning. Has the holy Koran not ask the believers about thinking, reasoning, and prudence tens many times? Can thinking, reasoning, and prudence be possible without freedom? Freedom of expression without freedom after expression is merely an empty compliment.
The new Afghan Constitution expressed its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The article 19. of the Declaration says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The Afghan state declared itself a constitutional state. In a constitutional state there are existed exact borders between the rights and duties of the three main organisations. None of them are allowed to interfere in affairs of another one. Particularly there can be no place for any extra- legal personality, institution, or crowd to charge anybody with a penal offence.
The universities lecturers have to be professionally competent and psychologically tolerant to scientifically convince their students.
In the case of these two students the lecturer of the class could not convince his students properly. A group of the theology faculty interfered with the situation. Under such pressures, the dean of the faculty conveniently decided to accuse the two mentioned students of desecration against the Islam and expell them from the university. Simultaneously the accused students denied any sort of desecration against Islam through international media.
A just court, knowing of all above principles and realities should acquit the two young and innocent students from such grave accusations .
Writers Body of Democratic Discourse for Afghanistan