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On 19 March 2015 Farkhunda Malikzada was brutally murdered by a mob of men outside a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.
She was a student of the Qaran and Islamic Shari’a law, a deeply religious 27-year-old woman who had just finished a degree in religious studies and was preparing to take a teaching post. Farkhunda had been arguing with a mullah named Zainuddin, in front of Shah-Do-Shamshira Mosque where she worked as a religious teacher, about his practice of selling amulets. During this argument Zainuddin reportedly accused her of burning the Qaran. She responded, “I am a Muslim, and Muslims do not burn the Qaran!”
They didn’t hold back. Farhkunda was beaten with sticks and stones, she slipped from a roof as she was trying to escape, and was run over by a car. The mob then set her body ablaze and afterwards dumped it in the Kabul river while several police officers looked on. What brutality.
Her murder resulted in the arrest of 22 people as well as the detention and interrogation of 20 policeman following reports that they did nothing to prevent the lynching.
Watch this video, a mother’s grief:
And this one, a re-enactment of the murder and some footage of the actual murder.
The 60-year old mullah who fabricated the story against Farkhunda was sentenced to a 20-year prison term and twelve others who were involved in her murder were given sentences ranging from ten to twenty year prison sentences.
I don’t think Farkhunda received justice. I think that those sentenced should have received the same punishment which they gave to Farkhunda, and the mullah, a little extra. He incited the violence against this innocent young woman who was trying to stop the exploitation of women, to stop the sale of the amulets. What courage there is when it finds a voice in the cowardice of a mob. How do they live with themselves? It is wrong that she is dead and they are alive!
Even if she had burnt the Qaran, which she didn’t, how can the value of a living breathing woman be less than that of an inanimate book?
‘A prominent mullah, Ayaz Niyazi, who had spoken approvingly of the mob’s action, had since recanted. He did show up at Farkhunda’s burial, then was turned away by the women there. There are unconfirmed reports on social media that he went to the family to beg forgiveness for his words’.
Her body was carried to the local graveyard by woman defying the tradition that only men should carry the coffin.
Arson Fahim, terribly angry, created this beautiful emotional composition, Farkunda, his tribute to this innocent young woman who did not deserve this death.