Six months later, there have been no arrests in the stoning deaths of a young Afghan couple who had eloped. One will recall that this was the case where Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, condemned the execution without trial, but did not say a word about the method of execution. Our moderate “Friend and Ally” would not condemn stoning as he tried to win the favor of clerics who want the worst of Sharia’s punishments enforced.
There is a video at the link to the report, with the predictable shouts of “Allahu akbar.” “Afghan police pledge justice for Taliban stoning,” by Quentin Sommerville for BBC News, January 26:
The men who stoned a couple to death in north Afghanistan will be brought to justice, say officials, after footage of the killings came to light.
The man and woman were accused of adultery in the district of Dashte Archi in Kunduz province last August.
Hundreds of people attended the stoning but no-one was charged. The area is still under Taliban control.
After viewing the footage, regional police chief Gen Daoud Daoud said those responsible could be recognised.
“Special police investigators will be sent there, we will find them and they will be brought to justice,” he told the BBC.
A mobile phone recording of the killings has only just been seen by Afghan and Nato officials. Most of the video is too graphic to be shown.
The video begins with Siddqa, a 25-year-old woman, standing waist-deep in a hole in the ground.
She is entirely hidden in a blue burka. Hundreds of men from the village are gathered as two mullahs pass sentence. As Taliban fighters look on, the sentence is passed and she is found guilty of adultery.
The stoning lasts two minutes. Hundreds of rocks – some larger than a man’s fist – are thrown at her head and body. She tries to crawl out of the hole, but is beaten back by the stones. A boulder is then thrown at her head, her burka is soaked in blood, and she collapses inside the hole.
Incredibly Siddqa was still alive. The mullahs are heard saying she should be left alone. But a Taliban fighter steps forward with a rifle and she is shot three times.
Then her lover, Khayyam, is brought to the crowd. His hands are tied behind his back. Before he is blindfolded he looks into the mobile phone camera. He appears defiant.
The attack on him is even more ferocious. His body, lying face down, jerks as the rocks meet their target. He is heard to be crying, but is soon silent.
The couple had earlier eloped to Pakistan, but were lured back with the false promise that they would not be harmed.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid defended the sentencing.
In a telephone interview he said: “Anyone who knows about Islam knows that stoning is in the Koran, and that it is Islamic law.
“There are people who call it inhuman – but in doing so they insult the Prophet. They want to bring foreign thinking to this country.”…
This is curious: the paraphrase here does not match the translated quotation in the video, which does not include the part about the Qur’an.
Stoning is not in the Qur’an as we know it, of course, but that does not mean Islam is off the hook. Apologists willingly (and deceitfully) give the impression of Islam as a sola scriptura affair. It helps to create an image of the Qur’an as uncreated, complete unto itself, and not dependent on the cultural and temporal context of 7th-century Arabia. But the Qur’an-only movement within Islam is a small, heretical group. Nonetheless, there is this intriguing hadith:
Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him” (Sahih Bukhari 8.82.816).
Muhammad carried out stonings. Islamic law prescribes them. And apologists’ insistence on ignoring or downplaying that ensures the future suffering of men and women like Khayyam and Siddqa. Clearly, they would rather live with that than, as the Taliban spokesman said above, “insult the prophet.”