‘A human life is worth more than a book’
Last week a mob in Afghanistan attacked and killed a 27-year-old woman, named only as Farkhunda, for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran. In protest against this horrific killing, Reza Mohebbii, above, burned a Koran and posted a video of the book going up in flames on YouTube, saying that ‘humanity is beyond an ordinary book’.
Shortly after Reza posted his video, Afghanistan’s top criminal investigator – Gen Mohammad Zahir – said that Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul on Thursday, had been wrongly accused.
Last night I went through all documents and evidence once again, but I couldn’t find any evidence to say Farkhunda burnt the holy Qur’an. Farkhunda was totally innocent.
Mobile phone footage circulating on social media shows police at the scene did nothing save the woman.
Zahir promised to punish all those involved and said 13 people, including eight police officers, had already been arrested.
The killing was condemned by the Afghan president and other officials, but also drew praise from some quarters, including from a prominent cleric who asserted the men had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.
Farkhunda was a teacher of Islamic studies, according to her brother, who denied media reports that she had been mentally ill. He said this was a made-up defence by their father, who wanted to protect the family after police told them to leave the city for their own safety.
Said Najibullah, who is changing his second name to Farkhunda in memory of his sister.
My father was frightened and made the false statement to calm people down.
Hundreds of people attended her funeral, chanting “we want justice”. Her coffin was carried by women’s rights campaigners.
What do we know about the young man who posted the video below?
Only that he lives in Sweden and believes that Islam is responsible for all the problems in Afghanistan, the country of his birth.
It’s no surprise that his protest has not gone down well with Muslim commenters. One of the less hysterical reactions came from Habib Abdolhossein, who said:
I as a Muslim, am really shocked and ashamed of what an ignorant mob did in Kabul. But I think you could have expressed solidarity with Farkhondeh in a much better and decent way, without desecrating a book seen as sacred by over one billion people.
She has fallen victim to the ignorance of a group of people who have no understanding of Islam. I’m sorry to say that there is no difference between what you did and the crime those uncivilized people committed. You can burn the ‘ordinary’ book but not the absolute truth of the Quran which has been speaking for more than 1400 years.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake.