“IF SOMEONE DOESN’T HIT HER, HE IS AN INFIDEL”
“The Quran is like our honor”
The New York Times has an extensive writeup on the Farkhunda case in which a mentally unstable young woman was brutally beaten to death by a mob in Afghanistan after she was accused of burning a Koran. The somewhat unique thing about the case is that the mob filmed themselves smashing her with sticks and jumping up and down on her prone body while screaming, “Allahu Akbar”.
Then they set her on fire.
Both sides have claimed Islamic sanction.
“I am warning the government not to arrest those who did this, because it will mean an uprising,” said the cleric at the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque.
Another Afghan man boasted on Facebook of participating in the lynching, saying that “pious people of Kabul, including myself, killed her and then burnt her. Her place is in hell.”
A spokesman for the country’s religious affairs ministry said that in certain circumstances the killing would have been legal.
“If this woman was against the holy Koran and had done it deliberately, and if she was at the same time a non-Muslim woman, then we would justify the action of the people,” said Abdul Rahman Ahmadzai.
The New York Times presses her family’s case that she was a pious Muslim who was fighting un-Islamic practices. They have to make that argument or her killing is automatically justified. But in the process the paper interviews one of the participants in the gruesome attack.
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.
Eight months later, neatly dressed with a small beard and mustache, Mr. Yaqoub hardly looked like someone capable of violence. Yet in the videos, he is so caught up in the moment that he has a terrifying ferocity.
“People were saying, ‘If someone doesn’t hit her, he is an infidel.’ That was when I got emotional and hit her twice,” he said in an interview at Pul-i-Charkhi prison, just east of Kabul. “My third punch hit the road, and my hand got injured.”
After going back to his shop and patching up his hand, he heard the men outside still shouting and said he felt drawn back. 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.
Mr. Yaqoub was hardly an illiterate day laborer. He
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