Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman


Hundreds of people gathered in Kabul to bury Farkhunda. Women carried her coffin, breaking the custom of staying away from funerals. Credit Massoud Hossaini/Associated Press

Source: New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — Farkhunda had one chance to escape the mob that wanted to kill her. Two Afghan police officers pulled her onto the roof of a low shed, above the angry crowd.

But then the enraged men below her picked up poles and planks of wood, and hit at her until she lost her grip and tumbled down.

Her face bloodied, she struggled to stand. Holding her hands to her hair, she looked horrified to find that her attackers had yanked off her black hijab as she fell. The mob closed in, kicking and jumping on her slight frame.

Unlike so many abuses against Afghan women that unfold in private, this killing in March prompted a national outcry. For Farkhunda had not burned a Quran. Instead, an investigation found, she had confronted men who were themselves dishonoring the shrine by trafficking in amulets and, more clandestinely, Viagra and condoms.

At first, the trial and convictions that followed seemed a victory in the long struggle to give Afghan women their due in a court of law. But a deeper look suggests otherwise. The fortuneteller who several investigators believe set the events in motion was found not guilty on appeal. The shrine’s custodian, who concocted the false charge of Quran burning and incited the mob, had his death sentence commuted. Police officers who failed to send help and others who stood by received slaps on the wrist, at most. Some attackers identifiable in the videos avoided capture altogether. Afghan lawyers and human rights advocates agree that most of the accused did not receive fair trials. Farkhunda’s family, fearing reprisals and worried that the killers would not be held accountable, fled the country.

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3 replies

  1. This is a terrible story! How awful for a woman to be murdered in cold blood for an unequal offense!? I don’t believe she did burn a Quran, but even if she did-is a book really equal to a life? Remember the Quran says that you may only kill if you are about to be killed or if a serious murder has been committed by the person with witnesses. This goes against the teachings of the Quran and may her soul rest in peace while her attackers suffer the consequence of their actions.

  2. Aha! reading it again she DID NOT burn the Quran it was found out…how grievous of a mistake and her killers have sealed their own fates for not thinking and just lashing out in anger.

  3. We often hear this terrible story from Islamic countries. This bad Muslim are following the order of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through the book of Hadith.
    Whereas this blasphemy law is not exist in Al Quran and also is against Al Quran,

    So the root of this terrible thing is the book of Hadith. So as long as Muslim scholars of variety of sects of Islam do not dare to remove this blasphemy law from the book of Hadith–the bad Muslim will do again and again for sake of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) or Islam.

    So let us speak up together and demand the leaders of Islamic countries to remove the blasphemy law from Government and from the book of hadith.

    There is no alternative solution to avoid killing those who insult Islam in future.except to remove blasphemy law.and then declare that Blasphemy law is not Islamic laws.

    Was Salam
    With love

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