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Mentally Ill Woman Stoned, Then Burned to Death by Muslim Mob For Allegedly Burning Koran

( [email protected] ) Mar 19, 2015 06:19 PM EDT
A woman with a history of mental illness was stoned to death and then burned by a Muslim mob for allegedly burning pages of the Koran.
A Muslim mob calls for the blood of Christian mother Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death after allegedly desecrating the Koran.

A Muslim mob in Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, recently stoned, then burned to death a woman with a history of mental illness after she was accused of burning a Koran.

According to a disturbing report from the BBC, the woman, who has not been identified, died after "hundreds of locals and passersby attacked her with stones and sticks" before setting her on fire.

"I heard noise, I went and people said that a woman is burning Koran. When I went closer I saw angry people shouting they want to kill the woman," and eyewitness told the news source.

"They beat her to death and then threw her on the river side and burned her. Firefighters later came and put out the fire and took the body."

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said officials were not sure exactly what caused the incident, but the woman's parents said their daughter had suffered from mental illness for 16 years and had not intentionally burnt the Koran.

This disturbing murder is the first of its kind in Afghanistan; however, desecration of the Koran, or "blasphemy," is punishable by death or life imprisonment under neighboring Pakistan's anti-blasphemy law.

In November, a Muslim mob in Pakistan beat a Christian couple to death and threw their bodies into a brick kiln for allegedly ripping pages from a Koran. It was later discovered that the pair was actually murdered because their employer was angry at the couple, who he claimed owed him money.

Less than a month earlier, a Pakistani court upheld the death penalty for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy in 2010  after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

Human Rights Watch's Phelim Kine has said Pakistan's blasphemy laws are often used to target religious minorities and are "all too often manipulated to seek personal disputes."

"Asia Bibi's case is an example of how Pakistan's vaguely worded blasphemy law has led to discrimination, persecution and murder since its imposition almost three decades ago," Kine told CNN.

David Griffiths, Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director, added that blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal vendettas, both against members of minority religious groups and Muslims, while individuals facing charges are frequently targeted in mob violence.

"Those who speak out against the laws face terrible reprisals. However, the blasphemy laws violate international law and must be repealed or reformed immediately to meet international standards," he said.

According to BBC News, "scores" of Christians  have been found guilty of desecrating the Koran or of blasphemy since 1990.