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Afghanistan: Kabul mob attack: Women help bury ’wrongly accused’ Farkhunda

Sunday 22 March 2015, by siawi3

Source: email from Kabul, 22 March 2015

Yesterday was our new year, the year that started with renewed fears and agony.
After struggling with migraines, feeling of numbness, helplessness and hopelessness... I managed to steam off a bit last night, by joining a handful of women and few dozens of men, at the heart of Kabul city wrapped in the dark blanket of power outage where Farkhunda was killed, crying over our burning candles as we sat in big circle on the ground...

Today there were a bunch of celebrations and events organized but some 10 of us ( women) chose to trade that for participation to Farkhunda’s funeral. For the first time in Afghanistan we stood tall to say that no man will touch her burnt body’s coffin. It was the women whom Farkhunda never met that took her body out of the ambulance, back there, to the prayer place and joint by another 20-25 additional women, to her grave...
The girl that thought Quran and believed that nothing is greater than her faith, was beaten to death, run over by a car and then burnt for being accused of Quran burning in a pilgrimage site. She was at fault for saying the truth, she had told one of the guys that made voodoo in the site that it is against Islam and it doesn’t work, the guy got upset and accused her of burning the Quran.

Today we put her to her grave as everyone chanted الله اكبر...


22 March 2015 Last updated at 13:54

Photo: Civil society activists bury Farkhunda
Women’s rights and civil society activists helped bury Farkhunda at the funeral in Kabul

Photo: The coffin of a woman, killed by a mob in Kabul on an apparently false charge, has been carried by women, marking a break with Afghan funeral customs.

Hundreds of people attended a funeral for the woman, named as Farkhunda, demanding her killers be punished.

Farkhunda had been accused of burning the Koran, but an official investigator said there was no evidence for this.

The attack on the woman, as well as the alleged failure of police to intervene, have been heavily criticised.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had ordered an investigation into the killing.

Footage of the attack, filmed on mobile phones, has been widely circulated on social media.

Photo: Women at Farkhunda’s funeral
The mourners demanded justice for Farkhunda
Picture of Farkhunda displayed at her funeral in Kabul, 22 March 2015
Photo: A relative said Farkhunda, seen here on a placard at the funeral, was training to become a teacher

A mob, largely made of men, attacked the woman with sticks and stones, beating her to death before setting her body alight, while police reportedly looked on.

Witnesses said the crowd had accused the woman of burning a copy of the Koran.

The attack, near the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque and shrine, is thought to have been the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

At the funeral on Sunday, women’s activists carried the coffin, breaking with tradition as men usually perform that role.

An interior ministry official in charge of investigating the case said he had found no evidence that the woman had burnt the Koran.

“Farkhunda was totally innocent,” Gen Mohammad Zahir told reporters. He said 13 people, including eight police officers, had been arrested.

Photo: Scene of the killing in Kabul. 20 March 2015
A blackened area by the river marks the spot where the woman’s body was burned
Photo: Afghan men feed pigeons in front of the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque, in Kabul, 11 September 2005

The woman was attacked outside the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque in Kabul
Earlier claims that the woman was mentally ill have also been contradicted by a relative and a neighbour.

Farkhunda’s brother told Reuters news agency that his sister was training to be a religious teacher. He said her father had said she was ill after hearing of her death, out of a desire to protect the rest of the family.

A neighbour of the family, interviewed by the Associated Press, also said the woman had no history of mental problems and had been training as a teacher.

The US has spent millions of dollars on programmes designed to empower and educate Afghan women.

However, women in much of the country still suffer discrimination, and attacks on them often go unpunished.