The Oprah of Afghanistan

Mozhdah Jamalzadah, the 26-year-old hostess of The Mozhdah Show, addresses such taboo topics such as divorce and domestic abuse.

Mozhdah Jamalzadah is the world’s toughest talk-show host, said Fariba Nawah in the London Times. Born in Kabul and raised in Vancouver, B.C., she returned to Afghanistan in 2009 to start a talk show called The Mozhdah Show. With Oprah Winfrey as her model, she addresses taboo topics such as divorce and domestic abuse. “A real man,’’ she said on one show, “wouldn’t hit his wife’’—a shocking statement there. “The subjects are controversial,” concedes Jamalzadah, 26. “But Afghans are into it.”

In a country where all TV was banned by the Taliban, she has to tread carefully. “I have to choose conservative clothes. For one episode I didn’t have a head scarf and my collarbone was showing. The government [temporarily] canceled the show.” Off the set, Jamalzadah carries a gun for protection. “I receive threats from men and women. One said: ‘Someone should put a bullet in her head. She’s a disgrace to Afghans. We should rape her.'"

She’s determined to keep going. “One woman on the show told us her husband stopped hitting their kids after he saw our program on child abuse.’’ Another told her that her husband hadn’t hit her since he watched Jamalzadah’s show on domestic violence. “I can see I’m making a difference.”

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