Mullah leading probe into stoning of Afghan teen endorses the practice

Afghan Solidarity members hold posters and chant slogans as they stage a protest against Taliban militants who stoned an Afghan woman to death, at Shar-e-Naw Park in Kabul on November 6, 2015. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, the story of a 19-year-old Afghan woman who was stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery caused shock and disgust around the world. Video of the savage killing made its way to the Internet. The footage showed more than a dozen men, believed to be Taliban fighters, standing over a woman identified only as Rukhshana, who had been placed in a hole in the ground, as they pelted her with rocks. Her alleged crime was having eloped with a man roughly her age — after, reports said, she’d been married off to an older man by her parents. In response to outrage from the international community, Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, dispatched a special delegation to investigate the fatal stoning in the Ghor province, an area that’s under Taliban control. However, the mullah leading the probe, Maulavi Inayatullah Baleegh, has come under scrutiny after declaring in a sermon that he condones the practice of stoning a woman (or a man) as a punishment for adultery.

“If you’re married and you commit adultery, you have to be stoned,” Baleegh said during his sermon at Kabul’s largest mosque on Friday. “The only question was whether this was done according to Shariah law, with witnesses or confessions as required,” he reportedly continued. “It is necessary to protect and safeguard the honor of women in society, as it was done in the past during the time of the prophet.” When Baleegh was asked by reporters if he’d condemn the Taliban for carrying out the stoning, he refused to do so. The mullah’s involvement in the investigation, and his role as an adviser to the president on religious affairs, underscores conflicting position Afghanistan is stuck in thanks to the Afghan constitution: It recognizes both civil and Shariah law.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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