Why the Taliban Banned Nawruz: The Solar New Year Celebration
Today is Nowruz (the new day), and it is the new year in Afghanistan, Iran, and many countries in Central Asia.
The Taliban banned the celebration of Nawruz for the second time this year. The group first the Solar New Year Celebration banned when it dominated the country in the late 1990s. The celebration of Nawruz, a holiday with ancient roots in Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of South Asia, has faced challenges and restrictions for a long time. This has been particularly evident in countries with political and social tensions, where the celebration of Nawruz has been banned or severely limited.
One example is the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China. The Uyghurs are predominantly Muslim and have a rich cultural heritage that includes the celebration of Nawruz. However, the Chinese government has cracked down on Uyghur cultural practices and has actively sought to suppress the celebration of Nawruz. In some cases, Chinese officials have confiscated traditional Nawruz decorations, such as flowers and banners, and have destroyed or banned them. There have also been reports of Chinese officials banning Uyghurs from wearing traditional clothing and performing traditional dances during Nawruz.
The Chinese government has claimed that its actions are part of a broader effort to combat “religious extremism” and “separatism,” which is absurd. Nawruz is a tradition that has preceded Islam for thousands of years, and religious forces are its primary enemy.
In Afghanistan, the celebration of Nawruz has been impacted by decades of war and conflict. The first Taliban regime, which controlled much of the country in the 1990s, banned the celebration of Nawruz, viewing it as a pagan holiday. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Nawruz was celebrated more openly, but insecurity and violence continued to impact the holiday. Last year when the Taliban took over the country for the second time, it banned the Nawruz celebration again, deeming it “un-Islamic.
Nawruz is a day when Islam and Persian tradition comes into contact. The Taliban view Nawruz as a pagan holiday, and their interpretation of…