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Slavoj Zizek: Can the Taliban have anything in common with ‘political correctness’? Surprisingly, there is one thing...

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The Taliban has suddenly changed its stance toward women in public and working places. Their spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said at a news conference on Tuesday that working women should stay at home for their own safety, undermining the Taliban's efforts to convince international observers that the group would be more tolerant toward women than when they were in power in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Mujahid added that the guidance would be temporary, and would allow the Taliban to find ways to ensure that women are not “treated in a disrespectful way” or “God forbid, hurt.” He also said that the measure was necessary as the Taliban's soldiers “keep changing and are not trained.” This is why, he said, the new Afghan government asked women “to take time off from work until the situation gets back to a normal order and women related procedures are in place, then they can return to their jobs once it's announced.

The predictable Western reaction to this statement was that we now see how false and hypocritical the Taliban's assurance that women’s rights to education and work will be respected: now they are showing their true colors...

But the reality is more complex.

We don’t need direct accusations of lies and hypocrisy to understand the shift in the Taliban’s position.

The soft attitude toward rape in Muslim countries is based on the premise that a man who raped a woman was secretly seduced (provoked) by her into doing it. Such a reading of male rape as the result of a woman's ‘provocation’ is often reported by the media.

Here we stumble upon what I take the risk to call ‘the ideological unconscious’: an ideological edifice implies and relies on a set of claims which are necessary for its functioning, but which should not be stated publicly.

Back in 2006, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, caused a scandal when he compared women not wearing a scarf to raw meat. Reportedly, his comment was made shortly after a group of Muslim men were jailed for gang rape in Sydney.

If you take uncovered meat and place it outside on the........

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