Where would we be without the moral compass of religion?

Probably not stampeding a mentally ill woman to death and then burning her corpse, all over some ancient textbook which might have been mishandled.

KABUL, Afghanistan — The mentally ill woman, her face covered in blood, rose to her feet and looked out across the mob. She pleaded. But these men meant to kill her.

A kick sent her tumbling backward. In the courtyard of one of Kabul’s most famous shrines, men hurled stones at her and struck her with wooden planks.

When she was dead, they tied her body to a car and drove to the Kabul River. On the garbage-strewn bank, they burned her corpse.

Her name was Farkhunda, and, for most of her 27 years, her parents had searched for help in treating the mental illness that had plagued her since girlhood.

None of that mattered to the mob. To them, she stood accused of a vile and sacrilegious act: burning pages from the Quran.

A crowd gathered within minutes, and it kept growing until it was hundreds strong. The men quickly cornered Farkhunda and began pelting her with rocks, while others egged the rock throwers on. Some men stomped on her as she lay in the street.


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