The Burden of Proof is on You

Blogs & Opinion - Opinion

Monday, 23 March 2015 20:43 Written by Ashraf Khan

She was accused, beaten, killed, and then burned for a crime she had not committed. The burden of proof was on her and it was her fault that she could not clear herself in those few initial seconds. It was not only that mob who had found an easy way to cash in some good deeds, but some public figures also jumped into the bandwagon. I would not be surprised if these public figures being present at the scene, had participated in the lynching of Farkhunda.

And Farkhunda did prove herself not guilty. She had dedicated her life to Islam and its teachings. She was teaching the Quran to others, and was strictly adhering to the Islamic dress code. She had even told her father that there were many anti-Islamic activities going on in the country and she wanted to fight against it. Some reports suggest that the mob attack ignited after she confronted someone at the shrine who was dealing with black magic, etc.

After learning about her innocence and the emergence of horrific videos of her killing, we saw a U-turn in views of many such people who had first accused her of "working" for some western embassy. So much so that some accepted their fault in public, something unusual in our country.

Though on the surface, this looks like a great achievement, but the main issue of people considered guilty until proven otherwise remains as it was. Had Farkhunda been a normal woman, or someone who was working in some office, especially in an NGO, we would have hardly seen any change in the views of people who accused her in the first place. And possibly a heated debated would have taken place by the two sides. While Sharia Law considers you guilty only if it is proven, in the eyes of majority of Afghans your guiltiness or otherwise largely depends on how you look and what you do.

When Farkhunda was first accused of burning the Quran, people really did not know about her background, and that so called religious person who accused her, seemed more credible to the mob. Just because he appeared so. Or just because recently some other woman did some "un-Islamic" acts in public.

Stereotyping is common throughout the world, but more so in less educated societies. What is worse about Afghanistan is that people rush to take actions based on what they believe, often taking law into their hands.

It is not only for those who rush to accuse Farkhunda to examine their way of thinking about others, rather we all need to do so. Majority of us are having prejudice about a particular group of people. Whether the group be Imams, working women, leaders, public figures, or any particular ethnic group. We prejudge others based on how they appear, where they work, or where they are from. I sided with the truth in Farkhunda's case from the very beginning, but it is very likely that I might side with falsehood in some other incident related to a rather different type of a person.

As a society we lack being critical and logical. We lack respect for law and order. We think of ourselves as in-charge of everything. We do not bother to understand other people's point of view. And we are quick to judge and act. Unless we make progress on these fronts, as a society we have learned nothing from Farkhunda's case.

Source : tolonews[dot]com
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