Saturday, July 30, 2011

Young love, Islamic style

The worst of Islam brings out the worst in family.

Two suffer and will be killed if Father has his way.

The NY Times does not identify the motive behind the attitudes of the family and lets stand the ambiguity of the what and the why.  No need to bring Islam into the mix, as the actions of Dad have nothing to do with Islam.  Remember that for the next heinous act by a follower of the religion of peace.

From The New York Times July 30 by Jack Healy

Afghans Rage at Young Lovers; a Father Says Kill Them Both

HERAT, Afghanistan — The two teenagers met inside an ice cream factory through darting glances before roll call, murmured hellos as supervisors looked away and, finally, a phone number folded up and tossed discreetly onto the workroom floor.

A car burned by a crowd during a riot that took place after the police rescued two teenagers from a group of men who had demanded that they be hanged or stoned for their relationship.

It was the beginning of an Afghan love story that flouted dominant traditions of arranged marriages and close family scrutiny, a romance between two teenagers of different ethnicities that tested a village’s tolerance for more modern whims of the heart. The results were delivered with brutal speed.

This month, a group of men spotted the couple riding together in a car, yanked them into the road and began to interrogate the boy and girl. Why were they together? What right had they? An angry crowd of 300 surged around them, calling them adulterers and demanding that they be stoned to death or hanged.

When security forces swooped in and rescued the couple, the mob’s anger exploded. They overwhelmed the local police, set fire to cars and stormed a police station six miles from the center of Herat, raising questions about the strength of law in a corner of western Afghanistan and in one of the first cities that has made the formal transition to Afghan-led security.

The riot, which lasted for hours, ended with one man dead, a police station charred and the two teenagers, Halima Mohammedi and her boyfriend, Rafi Mohammed, confined to juvenile prison. Officially, their fates lie in the hands of an unsteady legal system. But they face harsher judgments of family and community.

Ms. Mohammedi’s uncle visited her in jail to say she had shamed the family, and promised that they would kill her once she was released. Her father, an illiterate laborer who works in Iran, sorrowfully concurred. He cried during two visits to the jail, saying almost nothing to his daughter. Blood, he said, was perhaps the only way out.

“What we would ask is that the government should kill both of them,” said the father, Kher Mohammed.

The teenagers, embarrassed to talk about love, said plainly that they were ready for death. But they were baffled by why they should have to be killed.

Mr. Mohammed, who is 17, said: “I feel so bad. I just pray that God gives this girl back to me. I’m ready to lose my life. I just want her safe release.”

Ms. Mohammedi, who believes she is 17, said: “We are all human. God created us from one dirt. Why can we not marry each other, or love each other?”

The case has resonated in Herat, in part because it stirred memories of a brutal stoning ordered by the Taliban last summer in northern Afghanistan.

A young couple in Kunduz was stoned to death by scores of people — including family members — after they eloped. The stoning marked a brutal application of Shariah law, captured on a video recording released online months later. Afghan officials promised to investigate after an international outcry, but no one has faced criminal charges.

The immediate response to the violence in Herat was heartening by comparison. Top clerics declined to condemn the couple. Police officers risked their lives to pull the two teenagers to safety and deposit them into the legal system, rather than the hands of angry relatives. And the police reported that five or six girls had fled the city with their boyfriends and fianc├ęs in the weeks after the riot.

After discussing the case, the provincial council decided that Mr. Mohammed and Ms. Mohammedi deserved the government’s protection because neither was engaged, and because each said they wanted to get married.

“They are not criminals, even if they have committed sexual activities,” said Abdul Zahir, the council’s leader.

But so far, their words have not freed either of the teenagers or lent them any long-term security.

Ms. Mohammedi was initially taken to the only women’s shelter in this province of more than 1.5 million people, but the police transferred her quickly to the city’s juvenile detention center, a sun-washed building where about 40 girls and 40 boys sleep in separate dormitories. The police said they had referred the teenagers’ cases to prosecutors.

There is more, read it all

1 comment:

Iskren said...

There is a lot of tribalism in Afghani society. That is what this is about. Notice how a Muslim cleric and the police took the side of the young couple. And why not? Regardless of the actions of some Muslims, Islam itself condemns tribalism and ethnic/racial hatred.