Farkhunda Malikzada was a 27-year old Afghan woman who was lynched by a mob in Kabul on March 19, 2015. She was murdered after allegedly arguing with a mullah who falsely accused her of burning the Quran, the holly book of Islam. Police investigations revealed that she had not burned anything. Her death led to 49 arrests; three adult men received twenty year prison sentences, eight other adult males received sixteen year sentences, a minor received a ten year sentence, and eleven police officers received one year prison terms for falling to protect Farkhunda. Her murder and subsequent protests served to draw attention to women’s right in Afghanistan.
Hypatia (AD370-415) was an astronomer and mathematician as well as a philosopher. She was an Egyptian, renowned for her great beauty. Hypatia’s philosophy was also her religion. She believed in divine being called “the One”–the ultimate source of all reality. Her aim was to get closer to “the One”, and shared her method with a select circle of students. She taught them to break free from the world of matter by seeking the divine part of human nature, or the soul. She called it: “The Eye buried within us”. Hypatia believed that earthly beauty is an illusion. True beauty existed only in “the One”.
Hypatia lived in Alexandria, which was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. It was a centre of learning and a melting point of cultures. In her day, there was a lot of strife between Christians, Jews, and pagans.The head of the Christian church in Alexandria banished all the Jews from the city and the Christians destroyed temples and statues dedicated to pagan religions. Hypatia tried to stay out of the battles. The whole city respected her wisdom, and the Roman governor often asked her advice on city affairs. This sealed her fate. The governor was locked in a bitter power struggle with the local head of the Christian Church,who saw Hypatia as a threat. Rumours spread that she practised black magic, and Hypatia was blamed foe all the city’s woes. One day, as she was riding home, a group of out raged Christians dragged her from her chariot and cut her to pieces with sharpened seashells.