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The Taliban have detained a famous Afghan fashion model along with three colleagues, accusing them of disrespecting Islam and the Quran.
Ajmal Haqiqi – known among Afghans for his fashion shows, YouTube clips and modeling events – appeared handcuffed in videos posted on Tuesday to Twitter by the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence, DCI.
In one widely circulated and contentious video, Haqiqi laughs when his colleague Ghulam Sakhi, who is known to have mental health issues, speaks Arabic verses of the Quran with a comical voice. Sakhi is well known for having a speech impediment that he uses for humor.
“I apologize to the Afghan people, to esteemed religious scholars and to the government of the Islamic Emirate,” Haqiqi said while standing with three other detained colleagues, including Sakhi. All but Sakhi wore light brown uniforms.
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Haqiqi already had apologized in a separate video before he was detained.
“My message to all YouTubers and the youth active in the media is to seriously avoid making any insults to Islamic values,” he added.
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Taliban officials didn’t immediately comment on the case, and it is unclear what legal measures they face.
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The Taliban, who claim they rule strictly according to Islamic law, consider criticism and anything perceived as disrespectful of Islam as a punishable crime.