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May 01 2013

In a village in Afghanistan

In a village in Afghanistan what? Not a potluck. Not a Chatauqua lecture. Not a quilting bee. Not heartwarming stories of crotchety but lovable neighbors and mischievous but lovable children and the dogs who love them all. No, the other thing – staring eyes, a woman who dishonored the universe by running away with a man (while the man simply had a good time), a father who asked the local “religious leaders” for advice, a fatwa, a mob, a murder of a woman by her own father in front of that mob.

The woman, who has two children, was shot dead on Monday 22 April by her father in front of a crowd of about 300 people in the village of Kookchaheel, in the Aabkamari district of Badghis province in north-western Afghanistan.

The woman, named Halima and believed to be between 18 and 20 years old, was accused of running away with a male cousin while her husband was in Iran. Her cousin returned Halima to her relatives 10 days after running away with her. His whereabouts are unknown.

“Violence against women continues to be endemic in Afghanistan and those responsible very rarely face justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International.

The killing came after three of the village’s religious leaders, allegedly linked to the Taliban, issued a fatwa (religious edict) that Halima should be killed publicly, after her father sought their advice about his daughter’s elopement.

Good neighbors.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    sunny

    “in front of a crowd of about 300 people”

    What were they doing there?

  2. 2
    Kausik Datta

    Watching the bloodsport of “honor” killing. Did you not read this line in the last quoted paragraph “… issued a fatwa (religious edict) that Halima should be killed publicly”?

  3. 3
    Your Name's not Bruce?

    So where’s the “Muslimah Pride” contingent? Are they going come out to in support the validity of lethal fatwas? Are they going to start a FB page decrying the imposition of Western cultural imperialism on these Afghans? Are they going to protest in favour of families defending their honour by publicly executing their daughters?

  4. 4
    S Mukherjee

    Your Name’s not Bruce — nah, the Muslimah Pride ‘sisters’ are too busy being awesome: wearing sunglasses with hijab, skateboarding in burkhas, etc.

    I was chilled to read the part where Halima’s paramour ‘returned’ Halima to her relatives. ‘Yeah, I took your daughter away for a ten days’ trial, now I’m done, so I’ve just come here to drop her off. Bye!’ He would have to know what her fate would be, but I suppose he just didn’t care? This poor woman (young enough to be called a girl, actually) was betrayed by everyone around her.

  5. 5
    michaelraymer

    I think this ties in with what Ophelia’s been saying lately about people that simply enjoy killing, and the particulars used to justify it are merely incidental. Sure, the father likely felt the culturally ingrained “dishonor” over the daughter’s actions, but I can’t help thinking the local religious leaders simply get off on the idea of killing young women, and so when the father came with his story they immediately went with a fatwa, because “Yay we get to watch him kill the slut!” There’s certainly been no shortage of fathers willing to carry out the act without the mob of religious thugs backing them, though. Ugh…

  6. 6
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    It’s chilling. WHat better way to underline and enforce patriarchy than to order a public object lesson. That ought to put the fear into girls and women and their families!
    It sounds kind of like rape culture on steroids.

  7. 7
    zibble

    @3 not bruce:

    Western feminists insult their CHOICE to be shot by their fathers.

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