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Mullah Muhammad Omar

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Mullah Muhammad Omar

    (b. 1959 )

    Reclusive, enigmatic supreme leader of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. A fervent believer, with minimal education in a rural madrasa. Served as a mujahidin group subcommander in the jihad against Soviet occupation in the 1980s. Emerged as leader of the Taliban in 1994 ; declared amir al-muminin (commander of the faithful) in 1996 . Strongly influenced by his rural Pushtun tribal background; adheres to a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, including severe restrictions on the freedom of females. Politically isolated under his rule, Afghanistan became a safe haven for extremist groups, production and trafficking of narcotics, and a source of instability in the region.

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