Farkhunda Malikzada was 27 and an aspiring student of Islam when she was destroyed by a mob in Kabul. She was beaten, stoned, run over by a car, doused with gasoline, burned ( her blood saturated clothes barely caught fire); all this documented on ... read more
Farkhunda Malikzada was 27 and an aspiring student of Islam when she was destroyed by a mob in Kabul. She was beaten, stoned, run over by a car, doused with gasoline, burned ( her blood saturated clothes barely caught fire); all this documented on video and posted on social media by the attackers themselves! The huge crowd of bystanders did almost nothing to stop this abomination. On the contrary they participated verbally shouting “beat her” over and over again, and pitched in themselves with their own violence wherever they could.
The police mostly stood by until the mob had their fill.
Farkhunda’s alleged crime was burning the Koran. there was no truth in that claim but should that even matter. I think not.
I have read the Koran from cover to cover in English. I speak as a layman but also someone who has read widely in the spiritual traditions. Like the New Testament, the Koran is often a stirring biography of a mystic and revolutionary. Like similar stories of Jesus, Buddha, or even Moses, the depictions of Mohammed are complex: sexist, bigoted and warlike, his moral lapses cost lives. He is particularly gifted at finding scapegoats to bind his followers together. But he also has some remarkable stirring visions and offers a powerful political agenda.
Burning any book, deemed sacred or secular, is a reprehensible act. Burning a person who may have burned a book is depraved idolatry. No book is worth a human life.
As expected the modern Afghan legal system turned out to be a weak vehicle for bringing justice to Farkhunda or her family and friends. One of the problems, besides corruption and favoritism, was finding a person to blame. Whose fist or stone killed her, who was the inciting agent in her murder, the judges asked, and a lack of clear answer led to limited sentences for the murderers and complictors involved.
Who or what is responsible? A book which sometimes incites violence? A clergy who creates a god out of a man and his all too human pronouncements and insights? And what about the teachers and true believers who support such a shallow understanding of human complexity and spiritual brilliance.
Isn’t it time to think more intolerantly about religions (most of them actually) who create a culture so conducive to dangerous scapegoating routines chronicled in this blog?
When a child of 6, standing next to an unfinished grave was asked who was buried there , she answered as a naive but programmed ambassador of her community saying: “Her name is Farkhunda. She burned the Quran, so she was punished and she was lynched.”
September 28, 2015 Leave a Comment
For the past few months I have had a number of letters asking for help in understanding the psychology of scapegoaters. The writers, often self-identified scapegoats, wonders how their tormentors ... read more
June 29, 2015 Leave a Comment
We all bore witness to forgiveness at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The congregation members who lost love ones showed the power of that sentiment. They helped all ... read more
April 20, 2015 Leave a Comment
The effects of group and system behavior are long term, often beyond the scope and time line of what individuals care most about or even know and remember. This has profound effect on ... read more
January 27, 2015 1 Comment
Dr. Scapegoat believes complicitor is a noun whose time has come! It’s derived from the adjective complicit, which Merriam-Webster defines as “having to commit a crime ... read more
December 18, 2014 Leave a Comment
Dr. Scapegoat feels obliged to reiterate what we all know. Scapegoating is alive and well as never before. There are so many areas of the world, so many nations and corporations, ... read more
October 21, 2014 Leave a Comment
For a long time, I've been intrigued by the way leadership style trickles down in all beauracracies. The style of the leader, let's say the president or CEO, is emulated, copied, mimicked... all ways ... read more