Brutal murder shows Afghanistan ripe to be next ISIS target

With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on his first state visit to the United States, the Afghan government is in full cover-up mode.  At stake on this visit for Ghani and his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, is nothing less than their hold on power, which absolutely depends on the presence of United States troops.

Suddenly, last Thursday, something happened in the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan’s largest and presumably most liberal city,  that could sour Americans on supporting a continued deployment in what looks like a failed country.  A 28-year-old woman named Farkhunda was brutally murdered in broad daylight in front of police at a Muslim shrine by a mob of over 500 men.  Farkhunda was kicked, beaten with sticks and large stones, run over by a car, and burned to death as the crowd shouted, “Allahu Akbar.”

Videos of the attack are circulating on social media, and the crowd’s ferocious brutality is truly unimaginable.  What provoked so many people to such inhumanity simultaneously, and why did the police stand by and do nothing to help Farkhunda?

Investigators report that the woman burned a charm at the Muslim shrine after arguing with a mullah who made and sold the charms.

The key to understanding the murder is understanding what is in Islamic charms.  The charms contain verses of the Koran, such as surah 68:52, which even Muhammad used to ward off the “evil eye.”  Farkhunda’s family told reporters she tried to stop the mullah from deceiving people by selling the charms, which she considered nothing but superstition.  The mullah responded by shouting to people that Farkhunda was burning the Koran.

In Islam, verses of the Koran are equal to the whole Koran, so burning one verse is equal to burning the whole book. What sparked the crowd’s anger was that Farkhunda had burned the part of the Koran contained in the charm.

Under sharia law, burning the Koran is a crime punishable by death.  A prominent cleric said the crowd had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.  Imam Mohammad Ayaz Niazi called for the release of the men arrested so far and threatened that further arrests would lead to an uprising.

Despite the facts, General Muhammad Zahir, Afghanistan’s chief criminal investigator, said Sunday, “We have reviewed all the evidence and have been unable to find a single iota of evidence to support claims that she had burned a Koran.  She is completely innocent.”  President Ghani called the murder “heinous” and vowed to make a complete investigation.  At the scene, however, the police told the family to leave Kabul for their own safety, and Farkhunda’s father invented the lie that she was mentally ill.  If she was truly innocent, this doesn’t make sense.

What should raise a red flag is that Farkhunda’s murderers were not official members of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, or any other jihadi group. They were simply the regular citizens of Kabul, but they shared the same mindset and acted the same way as ISIS and other jihadi groups act.  Under sharia, burning the Koran is punishable by death, and from the standpoint of ISIS, fighting against Caliph Abu Bakr is punishable by death, so conceptually there is no difference between burning Farkhunda and burning Moaz Al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian fighter pilot.

The Afghan government cannot acknowledge the truth, because to do so would contradict the narrative of their supporters – the liberal politicians, academics, and media – that Islam is peaceful.  For Americans, the lesson is that pulling troops out of Afghanistan will bring jihadis back to power.

Daniel Akbari is certified by the Iranian Bar Association as a number one attorney, is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Iran, and is the author of HONOR KILLING: A Professional’s Guide to Sexual Relations and Ghayra Violence from the Islamic Sources.

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