Sample Essay

Afghanistan is an almost exclusively Muslim country (Ayub & Kuovo, 2008), with 80% of its people identifying as Sunni Muslim and 19% reporting as Shia Muslims. The remaining 1% of the population represents a smattering of religious (or secular) affiliations (CIA Factbook, 2009). Despite the overwhelming Muslim presence in the country, Dupree (2002) insisted that Afghans “do not make an issue of being Muslims, of exhibiting proof of their muslimness, and abhor any tendencies toward fanaticism” (p. 980). Dupree (2002) framed the rise and influence of the Taliban, its brutal enforcement of Sharia law and its punitive actions against other “inferior” Muslims as an anomaly in the country’s history and a source of “deep resentment” for the largely conservative, but not fanatic, Afghan population.

This should not be taken however, as a suggestion that religion is not a potent cultural influence throughout the nation. In fact, many elements of Afghan life are inherently consistent with basic Muslim values and norms. The impact of religion on the country is reflected today as indicated in the official name of the country: the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

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