Woman falsely accused of burning Koran ripped apart by Afghan mob


A woman falsely accused of burning a Koran was ripped to pieces by a mob in Afghanistan. The woman, Farkhunda Malikzada, was falsely accused by a merchant who was selling viagra and magical pregnancy amulets.

The tormented final hours of Farkhunda Malikzada, a 27-year-old aspiring student of Islam who was [falsely] accused of burning a Quran in a Muslim shrine, shocked Afghans across the country. That is because many of her killers filmed one another beating her and posted clips of her broken body on social media. Hundreds of other men watched, holding their phones aloft to try to get a glimpse of the violence, but never making a move to intervene. Those standing by included several police officers.

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.

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Farkhunda’s death and the legal system’s response call into question more than a decade of Western efforts in Afghanistan to instill a rule of law and improve the status of women. The United States alone has spent more than $1 billion to train lawyers and judges and to improve legal protections for women; European countries have provided tens of millions more.

Do you think these results might have been avoided if we had spent $2 billion instead of only $1 billion?

Farkhunda first visited the Shah-Do Shamshira shrine.... [where she noticed] the fortuneteller... [selling women] amulets to help them get pregnant, find a husband or have male children. Known as tawiz, the amulets usually consist of writings on a small piece of paper that a woman can pin to her body or keep in a pocket.

Do you think Afghan women would have a higher birthrate if more of them found out the other way of having children?

....the fortuneteller, almost certainly with the assistance of the custodian, was trafficking in Viagra and condoms, said Shahla Farid, a member of the investigating committee set up by President Ashraf Ghani after the murder. Viagra is popular and easily available in Afghanistan.

If Afghan men disproportionally suffer from erectile dysfunction, does the anger and dispair that engenders explain why radical Islam is so attractive to them?

When Ms. Malikzada complained about the amulets, the head of Shah-Do spread false rumors that Ms. Malikzada burned a Koran. Then the mob beat her to death.

“Then she fell down on the ground and the people tried to beat her and pummel her... They were like kids playing with a sack of flour on the floor.”

In the videos, Farkhunda seems at first to be screaming in pain from the kicks, but then her body convulses under the blows, and soon, she stops moving at all. Even when the mob pulls her into the street and gets a car to run over her, and she is dragged 300 feet, the police stand by.

By then, she was little more than a clothed mass of blood and bones. Yet still more people came to beat her. One of the most fervent was a young man, Mohammad Yaqoub, who worked at an eyeglasses shop. He heard the crowd as Farkhunda was dragged behind the car and rushed out, eager to join. The men had dragged Farkhunda’s body to the riverbank, and Mr. Yaqoub looked for heavy rocks to drop on her. One was so large, he could barely lift it, he said. As Mr. Yaqoub milled with the crowd, other men set Farkhunda on fire....

The end result is that there were a few convictions of the mob, and most of those were overturned or reduced on appeal. None of the police who stood by were substantially punished.

Events at Shah-Do clearly got out of control. The police should have been mobile immediately, acting as interceptors to stop the mob before they could harm the alienated woman. Instead, many stood by and did nothing.

This is another reason why we should end all Muslim immigration. Too many of them believe in this sort of intolerance. Let's say she had burned a Koran for real. That would still be no excuse for beating her to death. Honor killings, beating of women,clitorectomies with rusty razors, intolerance of other religions--we don't need more of this in America.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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