A lot of incidents of violence are reported as honour killings like a case in in Hanover when a 39-year-old attempted to murder his second wife, after she asked him to provide financial support for their two-year-old son. This isn’t about honour it is about greed. Many of these case involve a woman asking for a divorce like in Münster, a court sentenced a 36-year-old Lebanese man to 12 years in prison for stabbing his wife to death. The court heard how he stabbed the mother of his three children, in the chest and neck more than twenty times with a large kitchen knife because he thought she wanted to divorce him. Or, in Bremen-Vegesack, a 39-year-old Turkish man murdered his 40-year-old Syrian wife, who was nine months pregnant, because she wanted to divorce him. The unborn baby also died during the attack.
But most are like the 16-year-old German-Afghan girl, killed in May 2008 by her 24-year-old brother. He stabbed her twenty-three times in a car park in Hamburg allegedly because of her moral conduct.
Some of the motives for these crimes are common, old fashioned things like greed or jealousy; things which sadly happen across most communities. Apparently these killings are about some perceived affront to a families honour.
Imagine an Irish Catholic and an Italian Catholic falling in love and wanting to get married. Suddenly the families go full medieval on them, demanding blood and retribution. That would be archaic and stupid, and so are these so called “honour killings”.
And it is not confined to women. In Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim country, gays are regularly rounded up and tortured; if the men’s families are told by the police that they are gay, that is seen as a stain on the entire family’s honour. Even the extended family is seen as tainted, which can make it hard for the younger generation to marry.
And these are not confined to Muslim countries as the examples above show, but they do usually involve Muslims. It’s a thing in Muslim countries, seen for generations as a normal part of life. If you sister doesn’t do what the family want, if she falls in love with the wrong man or, the ultimate betrayal, denies the families wishes and marries the wrong man then the family take action. Like in Pakistan where a young man bought a gun specifically to kill his sister, a Muslim, for marrying a Christian. He walked up behind her and shot her in the head, for what? Some Dark Ages nonsense about honour. Apparently his father was angry about the killing. Not because Tasleem had died but because in her death, the circumstances of it, more shame was brought upon the family.
There is no honour in murder
There is no honour in murder
According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan there has been an increase in the number of women and girls killed in the name of honour, last year, 1,184 people died, only 88 of them men. The year before, the figure was 1005, and in 2013 it was 869. The true numbers are believed to be higher, because many cases go unreported.
Are all honour killings related to certain religious backgrounds? It can said that the murder of teenage or young adult women by their fathers or other close male relatives is characteristic of classic honour killings and is not something usually seen in non-immigrant Western populations. So, yes. I would hazard a guess that it can be linked.
Just in case you are thinking that it is all gender biased, the males kill the females that is not always true either. By participation or consent woman often feature as protagonists of these events as well.
Like a 70-year-old grandmother sentenced recently after she was found guilty of plotting the “honour killing” of her daughter-in-law.
Bachan Athwal was found guilty in the UK of arranging to have her daughter-in-law, Surjit Kaur Athwal, killed during trip to India. She conspired with her son, Surjit’s husband to have the 27 year old killed by luring her to India after she had an affair. Apparently they hatched the plot together over tea and biscuits in the front room of their home. How very civilised.
Or the case in Canada of Mohammad Shafia, his second wife Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed. These upstanding citizens conspired and carried out the killing of three of their daughters, Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti, and Shafia’s 1st wife, Rona. Rona died because she had asked for a divorce, Zainab because she had married the wrong boy, and the other two girls because they had not acted like good Muslims.
Apparently the night before his arrest, unaware that a Police listening device was recording, father of the year Shafia said, “I am happy and my conscience is clear. They haven’t done good and God punished them.”
In Pakistan a mother burned her 16-year-old daughter alive for marrying a man of her own choice, before telling neighbours she killed the teen for bringing shame on her family. Parveen Rafiq tied her daughter Zeenat to a cot and poured kerosene over her, setting her on fire and burning her alive. Her body was charred when police found it and showed signs of beatings and strangulation.
Killings aren’t the only thing either. There are beatings, acid attacks, shootings, stabbings and all manner of attacks. Some failed attempts to kill, others punishments in their own right.
A 2015 study commissioned by the US Department of Justice revealed that violence connected with ‘honour’ include forced marriages, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and killings, I guess when all the other sanctions fail. Probably under-reported as in Pakistan, or carried out in a way which hides the criminality of the killing, it is estimated that there are between 23 and 27 honour killing each year in the US. The main reason given for these killings is that the victim is too ‘Westernised’.
In Canada, Defending Girls from Islamic Honor Killings Is ‘Racist’ Pamela Geller
In Canada, Defending Girls from Islamic Honor Killings Is ‘Racist’
And that is the stupidity of these killings and the violence on predominantly women, but men as well. It’s like moving to live next to a farm and complaining about the smell, or buying a house close to an airport and complaining about the noise. It would be hilarious if innocent people were not being killed and maimed or sentenced to a life of unhappiness in a forced marriage, possibly ending in an honour killing when they try to leave. These people are stuck in the Dark Ages. Their mentality is from a different age as separate from modernity as Neanderthals.
It would be wrong to suggest that all Muslims agree with these acts. Many Muslims condemn such acts for what they are, just acts of murder and see honour killings as a cultural issue rather than a religious one.
Recently, the All Pakistan Ulema Council issued a fatwa, declaring that “killing of girls in the name of honour or dignity is terrorism and viciousness”.
I’m not sure about terrorism, which is a too often used word which cannot actually be universally defined but murder, absolutely.
And that is all it is, cold blooded and vicious regardless of what blanket of archaic respectability they try to wrap it in.
I do not believe that these actions are religiously based but most definitely are cultural. 1,000 women a year are reported as being killed for honour in Pakistan, India has seen an 800% rise in reported killings, but ‘reported’ would seem to be the key here.
Whatever the cause, whatever weakness in culture that causes these self righteous murderers to believe that they have any right to kill, the predominant areas which seem to suffer are those that support forced or arranged marriages. Reading a lot of reports those aspects seem to come up over and over. Girls not marrying the chosen groom or falling in love with the wrong person. For gays it seems to just the fact of their existence is enough, and that is sad. Sad because of the outcome but also because people are not allowed to live their lives independently of stupid cultural mores.
I am a great believer in education, especially of girls, for raising societies from poverty and showing the face of modernity to these cultures. Other cultures have grown past this stupidity. Why can’t they?
*In memory of Celine Dookhran and all the others killed by murderous barbarians.