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Kabul Mob Kills Woman for Burning Koran

A horrible story from Radio Free Europe tells of a woman in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, beaten to death by an angry mob for allegedly burning a Koran near the Shah-e Doh Shamshira shrine on Thursday.

According to her family, the victim had been “suffering from mental illness from many years.” Tolo News quotes her parents saying her name was “Farkhunda,” she was 27 years old, and she did not burn the Koran intentionally. Other reports say she was in her early thirties.

After witnesses claimed to see her setting a copy of the Koran alight, an angry mob of mostly young men gathered around her, pelted her with stones and buckets, and beat her to death with their hands and feet. The predictable shouts of “Allahu akbar!” could be heard from the crowd during the murder. CBS News reports the crowd, which numbered in the hundreds or possibly even thousands, was also “chanting anti-American and anti-democracy slogans.”

After she had been beaten to a pulp, she was reportedly set on fire, and her body was thrown to the banks of a nearby river.

Radio Free Europe posted a video of the attack, with the victim digitally blurred out. Despite this precaution, be warned that the video below is not easy to watch:

The Afghan government officially denounced the event as “very unfortunate,” to quote an Interior Ministry spokesman. Four suspects have allegedly been arrested, although RFE had no details about their identities or what the potential jail time for a first-degree count of Very Unfortunate Behavior might be in Afghanistan.

There has, nevertheless, been criticism from observers such as Human Rights Watch that the authorities in Kabul did not do enough to prevent the attack or track down the perpetrators. CBS News claims “the killing outraged many Afghans,” but the only expression of “outrage” included in the story came from clothing vendor Jamal Nazari, who said the mob should have handed the woman over to the police “so after an investigation a court can decide Farkhunda’s punishment.”

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