The horrible, public killing of a girl in the middle of Kabul on Thursday has galvanized university students and rights groups, who are now arranging a week of demonstrations over the lynching.
“Farkhunda’s savage killing has catapulted the city and a lot more Afghans in the remaining part of the nation,” said Shukria Barakzai, a member of parliament representing Kabul state, as well as a long time women’s rights activist.
“This isn’t a male or female issue, it is a human problem and we won’t quit until the killers are brought to justice.”
Farkhunda, a 27-year-old woman who is only known by one name, was accused Thursday by workers at the famous Shah-do Shamshira shrine in Kabul of burning pages of the Quran.
At one point in a video, Farkhunda, whose face is covered in blood, could be heard crying out for help as well as saying that she didn’t burn the Quran, but then a couple of guys push her back to the ground and others continue overtaking her.
The event has brought to the forefront issues about prevalent lawlessness in Kabul, which is regarded by Afghans to be the most progressive and well-informed section of the state.
“The fact that this can occur in broad daylight and with tons of individuals taking part, and hundreds more viewing, is shocking,” said Barakzai.
Pictures as well as videos from the scene on Thursday show authorities present in the shrine but either reluctant or unable to prevent the mob from attacking Farkhunda.
“No person is permitted to make oneself a judge and use violence to punish others in degrading manner.”
Since the assault, a girl has come forward saying she had a long dialogue with Farkhunda and prayed in the shrine beside her a few hours before she was killed. Shortly afterward, they began with the punching and kicking.
However there are people who defend the attack, including a deputy minister in the Ministry of Information and Culture, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, a famous cleric as well as an associate of the Afghan senate.
“What they’re saying about this particular case isn’t according to Islam or [Afghan] law. When they actually believe the killing is warranted, then we’ve got a real issue. If they didn’t have enough info about the event, then they should apologize and take back what they’ve said,” said Barakzai, who’s working with civil society groups to organize marches and assemblies for Tuesday.
“In the event the Afghan authorities carries on with the rule of law, this will send the message to the whole state that people can’t take the law in their own hands. However, if the authorities don’t follow through, this could make things worse, particularly for girls security,” Naderi said.
Tens of thousands of Afghans instantly took to social media to share their despair over the event and to prod government officials to follow through with the investigation.
“I cant sleep, I cant eat since seeing the bloody videos and pictures of Farkhunda. I’m losing my head, and I’d like to see justice served,” said 20-year old Ejaz Malikzada, a resident of Kabul who has created a Facebook page called, “Justice for Farkhunda.”
He and other university students are organizing a demonstration for Monday in front of the Shah-do Shamshira shrine.
“I can’t believe that such a barbaric offense happened in Kabul, particularly with so many knowledgeable people here now,” he said, adding, “I stress that one day one of my sisters or even I could be the casualty of an angry mob.”
“Lynching of Woman in Kabul Sparks Outrage | Al Jazeera America.” Lynching of Woman in Kabul Sparks Outrage | Al Jazeera America. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/22/lynching-of-woman-in-kabul-sparks-outrage.html