Officials lambasted Herat cleric Ansari for his remarks
Mujib ul Rahman Ansari is known for his extremist view point on gender, freedom of speech and free press.

Officials lambasted Herat cleric for his anti-government remarks    

Reacting to Mujib ul Rahman Ansari, a local preacher and prayer leader at Guzargah mosque in Herat, Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali, Herat governor, said that he would never allow Daesh and extremist groups to use Herat as a springboard. Speaking at a press conference on February 20, Qatali said that he would not allow any extremist groups to use Herat as shelter and grow up there. “I promise Herat residents that I would not allow this terror group to erect its flag in Herat.”  He blamed Mawlawi Ansari for propagating a pro-Daesh agenda. He said no one would be allowed to push Herat backward.

A day earlier, Mawlawi Ansari, the preacher at Guzargah mosque, in a Friday prayer speech said those who supported the government were committing Gunah-e-Kabira, a grave sin, and called on the Afghan army and police forces not to work for it. “To civil and military agents and those who support the system with their knowledge and money, you have committed a Gunah-e-Kabira. Whatever crime is committed in this system, you as a soldier, police force, and an employee are involved in that crime,” Ansari said.

The western Herat city has seen some alarming sectarianism in recent years. With a majority of the Sunni population, the city is adjacent to Shia-dominated Iran. Some Herat residents believe that Herat is a potential epicenter for political rivalries existing between Saudi and Iran and the reemergence of extremist figures is linked to regional dynamics.

Earlier this year, Ansari publicly preached anti-women sentiments in Herat society. He, too, picked a scout of vice and virtue, who set up a checkpoint in Guzargah, Herat.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs denounced provocative remarks made by Ansari, saying his extremist remarks can bring negative consequences and hinder development and business activities in Herat.

Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Moheb, also touched Ansari’s remarks. Speaking at a joint press conference, Moheb said anyone who provokes people against the government is a “rioter.” He said the Afghan intelligence agency would investigate Ansari’s case.

Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s intelligence agency, who was also speaking at the press conference, warned that anyone who broke the law would be investigated.

A Saudi Arabia alumna, Mujib ul Rahman Ansari is known for his extremist viewpoint on gender, freedom of speech, and free press.