The Senseless Killing of Farkhunda

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This BBC documentary is shocking and painful to watch, and although it’s been two years, a fact-finding team continues to work for justice in the Farkhunda case.

The poignant documentary tells the story of Farkhunda, a 27-year-old Afghan woman and religious scholar who was brutally murdered by a mob in the streets of Kabul on Mar 19, 2015.

At the time, it was alleged that she had burnt the Koran.

The cleric yelled out that she was “sent by the Americans” and had “burned a Koran” – and that was enough for hundreds of people in the street to overpower police and lynch the woman brutally.

Many of her killers filmed one another beating her and posted clips of her broken body on social media. Not a single man made a move to intervene, including several police officers.

The mob did not even spare her corpse. They pulled her body into the street, had a car run over it, dragged it for 300 feet and then set it on fire. All the while, the police stood by.

Within two days of the barbaric and tragic killing, the country’s top investigator said there was no evidence that Farkhunda burned a Koran.

She was the innocent victim of a fabricated accusation by an elderly cleric.

Her brother said the cleric, who was selling good-luck amulets, made the accusation at his mosque after Farkhunda told a woman not pay for the talismans because they were un-Islamic.

It was later revealed that the cleric in cahoots with a fortune teller was also clandestinely trafficking in Viagra and condoms.

An influential body of Islamic clerics in Afghanistan condemned the killing. They said Farkhunda was a good Muslim and had been right to oppose the selling of talismans.

Even the Afghan Taliban condemned the woman’s killers for “using the Koran (as a ) pretext to kill innocent humans,” in a highly unusual statement.

The president ordered an inquiry into her killing that was driven purely by religious rage.

The swift trial was a sham, with relatively light punishment meted out to a fraction of the perpetrators.

Farkhunda’s death triggered a public outcry in a country where mass demonstration of support for women’s rights is rare.

In an unprecedented gesture, the women hoisted Farkhunda’s coffin on their shoulders, refusing to let men carry her body.

Mere allegations of Koran burnings have sparked violent incidents before.

If this is what they do to themselves, what will they do to others?