Anorak News | Dr Karen Woo Was Murdered For Being A Christian: Photos And News Round-Up

Dr Karen Woo Was Murdered For Being A Christian: Photos And News Round-Up

by | 8th, August 2010

KAREN Woo was murdered by the Taliban in Afghanistan in a placed called Badakhshan. The 36-year-old surgeon had been working in Nuristan.

She is on the front page the Express, Mirror, Mail, Independent, Times, Telegraph and the Observer. Only Robbie Williams’ wedding prevents Woo’s face appearing on all the papers’ front pages. She is British and photogenic.

She is the NoTW’s beautiful British surgeon”.

She died with nine others, including six Americans, two Afghans and a German. Their bodies were found stripped of valuables.

The gunmen spared an Afghan driver, who recited verses from the Islamic holy book Quran as he begged for his life.

Dr Woo had been working with Christian charity called the International Assistance Mission (IAM). The charity offers eye care to people living in remote villages. Her Christianity is relevant to her death.


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What do we know about AM. Its website says:

IAM is an international charitable, non-profit, Christian organisation, serving the people of Afghanistan, through capacity building in the sectors of Health and Economic Development.

IAM’s core values are:

Dependency on God
Love for All
Quality Work

IAM’s executive director Dirk Frans tells us:

“We are Christians but we work under the laws of Afghanistan and those laws do not allow us to proselytise. The chief of police said it was basically robbery because nothing of value was left on the bodies.”

A robbery. So says the policeman. But can it be true?

Says the Taliban:

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the aid workers’ deaths, saying those killed were spies and preachers of Christianity. The details provided in statements by spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid suggested that the killers were insurgents and not bandits, who also roam freely in the area.

Says Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed:

One of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners. They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all.”

No. It was robbery. So say the police:

General Agha Noor Kemtuz, the local police chief, told the Observer that the group had stopped for lunch in a heavily forested area at around 2pm when they were robbed.

In October 2008, British Christian aid worker Gayle Williams was murdered in Kabul.

John Dempsey, who works in Kabul for the U.S. Institute of Peace says:

“I don’t think they necessarily need to withdraw but I certainly think after what’s happened earlier this year, and of course today’s attack, they have to reassess what it means to be a Christian organisation in a country where they often are the ones singled out and targeted, and there may be measures they could take to improve their security for themselves.

“So I think there is still room for Christian organisations to operate in many parts of the country, but they’ll have to be careful in terms of selecting where those might be.”

Dr Karen Woo was due to marry Mark “Paddy” Smith this month. Says he:

“Karen grabbed life by the horns. She went to one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan just to help people. That was the sort of girl she was. She was focused and professional.
“It was one of those crazy relationships. Nothing is normal in Afghanistan, but when we met it just made sense. You know when something is right and this was just right.”

She was prepared to work hard:

“I KNOW it’s going to hurt but I just can’t imagine it right now,” wrote Karen Woo in her final blog entry on 20 July before her trip to the remote Afghan province of Nuristan. Read now, following her murder last week by the Taleban, her words seem especially poignant.

The Express has more background:

Raised in Stevenage by her Asian father and British mother, Karen had dreamed of being a dancer or a stunt woman in films and had even mastered the skill of wire-walking.

The war in Afghanistan is being waged against bigotry, racism, misogyny and fear…

Posted: 8th, August 2010 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (5) | TrackBack | Permalink