Annoy Mouse, a commenter on the previous post, sent along a link to a story of a woman who was stoned to death over the weekend in a small village several hundred miles from Kabul.
Here are some random thoughts on this latest version of the plague that passes for Islamic law:
Thanks, annoy mouse.
Yeah, I saw the news about the stoning yesterday but the story caused such an overwhelming sense of malaise there didn’t seem to be any point in posting about it.
However, if you read all the reports — you can google them and come up with at least a dozen — there seem to be as many versions as there are villagers to tell it.
According to one report her husband had been away for some time in Iran. When he came back, his wife wanted a divorce, supposedly because he couldn’t support her (this is a valid reason for a Muslim woman to request a divorce). But the husband somehow knew she’d been unfaithful (we aren’t told how he knew this) so he went to the Ulema, who tried her for the crime of adultery and issued a fatwah: Ramj (death by stoning) for the woman, 100 lashes for the man.
Remember that the point of Shar’ia is punishment, purification, and perhaps deterrence. Also recall that the miscreant has to admit to the crime; we are never told if the woman admitted anything.
Then another story claims that it was her father who killed her by cutting her throat. This cultural nugget is called karo-kiri–i.e., honor killing of women to remove any blot from the family name.
Another version has it that her family hid her but the husband and Islamic authorities dragged her out of the house and the husband stoned her to death in short order. With a little help from his friends.
Yet another version says the whole thing started when the woman went to see Mohammed Karim — the “other man” in the case, if that’s what he was. Karim’s father saw her go into his son’s house. He locked them up in the house and then called in the village to see his son and this woman together. So the villagers, in high dudgeon, beat up the couple in order to make an example of them –the old ‘deterrent’ routine — and then the woman’s father dragged her home and killed her. Another deterrent right there.
Karim got 100 lashes. That either means he was unmarried (the unmarried are flogged rather than stoned) or it was just business as usual: one punishment for women and one for men. Which is not what Mohammed decreed at all, at all.
So the police are sending some investigators to detain the woman’s father, her husband — oops, her widower — and the father of Karim, her alleged lover. Oh, they also want to detain Karim himself, though one wonders why. He’s already been beaten; what more is there to be had from him?
You can also wonder what was really going on. Is there a land dispute? Some old enmity playing itself out? Was the Ulema who purportedly ordered the stoning holding a grudge perhaps? It’s all conjecture at this point, but each of those motivations has been behind more than one woman’s untimely death.
Here are the undisputed facts:
In a remote village in northeast Afghanistan, Amina Aslam, age twenty nine, died one April day in 2005.
Her murderer was either her husband or her father.
Her alleged lover will recover from the one hundred lashes.
Do not send out to ask for whom the bell tolls.