Farkhunda Malikzada almost made it away from the Islamic crowd that sought to murder her, accusing her of burning a Qur’an at a local Muslim shrine. But even though two police officers in Kabul, Afghanistan, pulled her up onto the roof of a shed, above the heads of the pursuing crowd, she was knocked down again by poles and set upon, murdered by hundreds of Muslim men, many of whom filmed the whole affair on cell phones and later posted it to social media.
27-year old Farkhunda was an aspiring student of Islam, a student trying to learn about the religion. She was not, in fact, guilty of burning a Qur’an, in fact, she had confronted men at the shrine who were dishonoring it by selling trinkets, Viagra and condoms. So they invented a story that she had burned a Qur’an, setting a fanatical crowd of unskeptical Muslims on her, after all, she was just a woman, and that resulted in her death.
But justice would not come to her killers, many of whom are very well known, after all, they were clearly on video. The custodian of the shrine, who had made up the charges and incited the crowd, was initially given the death penalty, but that sentence was commuted. A local fortune teller, who had whipped up the crowd and demanded her death, had his conviction overturned on appeal. Even police officers, who just stood idly by and watched the murder, received a slap on the wrist, if anything at all. Indeed, Farkhunda’s murderers got away largely scot free, as happens far too often in the Middle East. She was a woman. They were men. Islam was involved. Nothing to see here, move along.
Even with all of the attempts to modernize the justice system in the Middle East, particularly in Afghanistan, these events happen with shocking regularity. You cannot change a system that is ensconced in religious law. You cannot stop violence that people believe is demanded by their religion. And if some women get killed, so what? They’re only women, after all.
“Where is the justice?” asked Mujibullah Malikzada, Farkhunda’s oldest brother. “In my Islamic country, a girl was disrespectfully, dishonorably lynched and burned, and what has happened? We have left our home. They never caught all the people. What are we to do?” But that’s the problem. You people view it as an Islamic country, not just a country. You connect your religion to everything that you do. So long as that is the case, so long as religious matters get more importance than legal ones, your nation is doomed to murder, violence and hatred. It’s part and parcel with what religion does. And that lands you right on Horror Show Sunday where, unfortunately, Islam belongs.