"No one is allowed to define the laws on their own," said Mir Rahman Rahmani, the speaker of Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of parliament, on Saturday in response to Mawlawi Mujibur Rahman Ansari, a provocative Herat cleric.
Ansari is head of Herat’s Gazargah mosque and recently put up billboards in the city insisting that women wear hijabs--head scarves. He started the center of “Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”
On Thursday Ansari gave a press conference defending his views, and female journalists were not allowed to cover the event.
“Neither right wing nor left wing radicalism is acceptable to our people. What is reflected in the Constitution must prevail, not personal interpretations,” said Rahmani.
Ansari's installation of the pro-hijab banners sparked an outcry on social media with many calling the controversial move “extremist" and “misogynist."
At Thursday's press conference, Ansari said that the center for “Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice,” will hand over transgressors to the security institutions after issuing Sharia (Islamic) verdicts on them.
“I feel sorry for the mother who has given birth to this man (Ansari), I feel sorry for the woman who gives birth to his children,” said MP Bilqis Roshan.
Local officials in Herat, including officials from the department of pilgrimage, have said that Islam strongly values and supports women and that no authority is allowed to implement the laws on their own.