Afghan Youth Debates: Ghazni Clerics on Democratic Values

Afghan academics and religious scholars this week reiterated their commitment to Afghanistan's coming elections and sought to reassure voters that democracy is not at odds with Islam.

Speaking at a debate held at Ghazni university, a panel of experts argued that free and fair elections were key to future progress.

Around 100 undergraduates attended the IWPR-backed event on December 2 in Ghazni province, south of Kabul.

The panellists included Maulavi Ghulam Mohammadi, a religious scholar from the Tawhid Madrassa; Mohammad Eshaq Mahdawi and Mohammad Rahimi, both lecturers in law and politics at the Khatam an-Nabiyyin university; and Juma Khan Hamdard, a political activist.

Responding to a question on religion and democracy, Rahimi said Islam encouraged good governance, effective law and order and the active participation of an informed public.

He said candidates in the April 2014 presidential and provincial elections must be committed to a better Afghanistan, and have a proven track record of expertise and competence. 

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.