What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Honour Killings’?

I have just read a disturbing article about an honour killing, (a link provided by a fellow blogger who frequently visits this blog) that has left me feeling … well, tired.

The article describes the way a girl was killed by her father who felt ashamed by his daughter’s actions (which may or may not have been true). The way he kills her, is troubling and disturbing.

But in all honesty, the cause of my fatigue is a slightly different one. It’s important that this is not misinterpreted to mean that I don’t feel strongly about what happened to the girl and her family’s actions. I do. But if I consider this article in context of the discussions around us, it’s yet another story that suggests that it is Islam that allows honour killings.

If any of the readers of this post are Muslim, they will no doubt be able to relate. But it’s the non-Muslims out there that I’m concerned about at the moment.

Islam does not allow honour killings, (period). If incidents occur, it is because of tradition and not because of an understanding of Islam.With the growing culture of ‘cheating on your spouse’ in the West, if a man walks in on his wife being intimate with another man and kills her, is this also not a form of honour killing? Although it would still be seen as wrong in the west, ‘Christianity’ is not mentioned because we all know that this has nothing to do with Christian practices or beliefs. However, when honour killings involve a Muslim, we can almost be certain that there will be a mention of Islam or Muslim.

For the record, honour killings are wrong. They happen all over the world, in many cultures but somehow seem to have been categorised into being a Muslim problem when it’s got nothing to do with Islam.

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Honour Killings’? How do you think you began to associate these words with Islam or Muslims?

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

8 responses to “What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Honour Killings’?”

  1. leeharrison says :

    Howdy HD

    If I could just ask – your disturbed by the way that he kills her?

    What about the fact that he killed her at all?

    Also, have you read the follow up to the story yet?

  2. honestdebate says :

    hi,

    both, disturbed by the way and the fact that he killed her.

    I read the two related links you sent. Not sure if you’re referring to the same ones?

  3. leeharrison says :

    Sorry about comment number 1 – I posted it before I’d finished reading. I must say that thi spost got me wuite worked up.

    Your comparison between killing a cheating spouse in rage when caught in the act and honour killings is specious at best. Firstly, both acts are equally heinous, of course. But honour killings aren’t just a matter of jealous husbands, are they? The girl in the story I directed you to was killed because she talked to a soldier. This ‘heinous’ act was apparently so enraging to her father and her brother, that they, together, beat her viciously and killed her.

    What was her crime against her father or brother? How were they harmed? How was their manhood challenged? Her actions were only wrong in the context of an Islamic society.

    And no, even if the crime was truly against her family, even if they were truly injured in some way, it still wouldn’t excuse what they did, as I’m sure you agree.

    The mother, as you can see in the follow up story, was naturally horrified and attempted to leave her murderous husband. He stalked her, hunted her down, and shot her in a cowardly drive by shooting as she was attempting to leave the country.

    What was her crime? What cultural component was sufficient to override her human right to self determination and her human right to life?

    The girl was not the sexual partner of the father or brother. The mother was not an adultress. In both cases, neither the father or brother was ‘harmed’ in any way except their ‘honour’ – their social standing.

    But really, that is somewhat to the secondary to the fact that these cowards are walking free – the police did nothing and believed that the man had done the right thing. These men are currently lionised by their neighbours – they are surrounded by people who believe that their actions were ‘just’.

    And this is hardly an isolated case – read this study, focusing on just Pakistan, Jordan, Palestine/Israel and the Balkans. Women all over the world being brutalised or killed for the ‘sin’ of being raped, for goodness sake! And the governments and most of the people either turn away, perhaps give the perpetrator a meaningless slap on the wrist punishment, or actually condone the behaviour in their legal code.

    Compare this to the man in your counter-example – he would be recognised for the cowardly murderer that he is and jailed. Under the western system you have so little regard for, this man would not be patted on the back by his neighbours and extended family. Why is this not the case under Islam in these countries?

    You say that honour killings are forbidden by the Quran and I believe you. But how does that square with this? (Quran 4:15)- “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witness from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them. Or God ordain for them some (other) way.”

    How well does it square with the fact that these honour killings are widespread, rarely prosecuted and often legally condoned in Islamic countries?

    Of course, you say that they are not following Islam. Sounds like a ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy if ever I heard one. They are following perfectly the cultural norms that Islam supports and/or tolerates.

    For the record, honour killings are wrong. They happen all over the world, in many cultures but somehow seem to have been categorised into being a Muslim problem when it’s got nothing to do with Islam.

    What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Honour Killings’? How do you think you began to associate these words with Islam or Muslims?

    These honour killing have everything to do with Islam – just not the version of it you prefer. As for how the link between Islam and honour killings is made in the minds of the public – it’s called demographics.

    So with all this in mind – you have posted many examples of failures of those within the western democratic sytem, and have then either implied or claimed that they invalidate democracy.

    Are you willing to apply the same logic to the widespread failures of those within the Islamic system?

    So which is it to be? Will you continue posting examples of disgusting individuals, continue implying that their behaviour nullifies any benefits of the system that they are part of – and then honestly apply that same logic to your own preferred system?

    Or will you take these individuals off the table and discuss the more rarefied, idealised view of what each system could or should be, without appeals to individual failures?

    Either way, it’s up to you, and either way you can live up to the blog name you’ve chosen.

  4. honestdebate says :

    this can be interpretted in any way you wish, but i don’t think we’re going to get anywhere here.

    i don’t know how else to say it, honour killings are not from islam. if you want to believe they are, there’s nothing i can do. but I AM a Muslim and sit and speak to many Muslims on a daily basis and have yet to find someone who thinks otherwise. That’s not to say people aren’t out there in other Muslim countries practicing this, there are. And I’ve already acknowledged that. but the killings are not justified in Islam but from tradition. The only link that can possibly be made with Islam is that Islam does not allow relationships to exist between men and women outside of wedlock and nor does it allow promiscuity. in case any one is accused of this crime, it has a very strict process of proving someone is guilty before recieving punishment. People may carry this sentiment, but their actions are still unjustified and wrong from Islam. Please note that I said that.

    The countries you mentioned do not implement Islam. Any muslim will tell you that. most of these ‘islamic’ governments rule with an iron fist and often only get support from the tribes and people who don’t really know what’s going on. Tradition is maintained, Islam is not. please refrain from using the current islamic countries as examples of Islam.

    you said i simply post examples of disgusting individuals and nullify the benefits of the system they are part of. you are doing the same by highlighting examples of people who have done acts against the teaching of islam and even worse, you’re then blaming it on a system they’re NOT even part of!

    you keep criticising my ‘honest’ intentions, as if you’ve known me for decades and somehow read my mind. I wonder if you read the About Honest Debate page.

    If you’re not happy with my style of discussion, you’re not under any obligation to stick around. I am entitled to my views and you are to yours.

    And please note, a vast majority of muslims do agree with the Islamic system and do want to live under it.

  5. ERS says :

    Leeharrison and Honestdebate, you are both right.

    Leeharrison, the comparison between cheating spouses and dishonor killings is specious, for all the reasons you cite. In addition, the cheating spouse situation happens globally and has occurred throughout the ages, so it seems to be an unfortunate part of the human condition. But dishonor killings are not. They are indigenous to more tribal cultures and are rarely, if ever, seen in other cultures.

    Honestdebate, you are correct that dishonor killings are un-Islamic. They are believed to have their origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic Arab tribal codes, and they pre-date Islam by centuries. That said, it gets confusing for people who aren’t as steeped in these crimes as others because dishonor killings just factually, empirically are most likely to occur in Arab/Muslim countries and among Arab/Muslim immigrant communities elsewhere. So there is a demographic correlation (as Leeharrison points out), but that does not imply causality (i.e., Islam–or belief in it–does not cause these crimes).

    When I conducted a nationwide attitude and opinion survey on this subject in Jordan, over 20% of my representative sample told me they believe Islam tells them they must avenge affronts to family honor through murder. Islam says no such thing, but the fact that so many followers believe it does is a problem.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”
    http://www.redroom.com/author/ellen-r-sheeley

  6. leeharrison says :

    you said i simply post examples of disgusting individuals and nullify the benefits of the system they are part of. you are doing the same by highlighting examples of people who have done acts against the teaching of islam and even worse, you’re then blaming it on a system they’re NOT even part of!

    First, they say that they are part of Islam – who are you to tell them and their clerics and scholars otherwise?

    Second, doing the same as you by raising negative examples was precisely the point of the comment. I was demonstrating your behaviour (read the last few paragraphs again) and challenging you to recognise the implications of that and to be consistent.

    The countries you mentioned do not implement Islam. Any muslim will tell you that.

    Any muslim except those that live in those countries. This is just the No True Scotsman fallacy again. Again, who are you to tell professed muslims that they really aren’t?

    you keep criticising my ‘honest’ intentions, as if you’ve known me for decades and somehow read my mind. I wonder if you read the About Honest Debate page.

    Yes, I read it and you haven’t lived up to it. I have not once criticised your intentions – I have criticised how well you have lived up to the intentions stated on your About page and in your blog name. This does not require me to somehow read your mind, it only requires a look at your comments, posts and ‘arguments’.

    If you’re not happy with my style of discussion, you’re not under any obligation to stick around. I am entitled to my views and you are to yours.

    Of course I’m not happy with your style of discussion – it’s confused and relies on fallacies. You are, of course, entitled to your views but bear in mind that this legal entitlement does not include the right to be automatically correct and unchallenged.

    If you find challenges to be so personally provocative that your only response is to suggest that the challenger go away, you really shouldn’t have entered the public forum.

    I don’t think I’ll be back – this started well but rapidly became a large waste of time – you’ve simply ducked and evaded and have not answered a single substantive point from my comments or replied to many direct questions.

    Best of luck with the blog – whatever you want from it.

  7. honestdebate says :

    Thanks for posting your comment Ellen.

    The example is not intended to be specious.

    the man who kills his wife because he finds her cheating, kills her for honour too. He feels cheated, betrayed where he expects loyalty. The family feels the same. the actions of killing are wrong in both circumstances.

    That was the point i was trying to make. As mentioned in the original post, i find this point extremely difficult to explain to non-Muslims. and it was yet another attempt. no mallice or deception intended.

    It’s important that people understand that this has nothing to do with Islam.

    Your sample is from Jordan, but you may also find a similar result in Pakistan. And I also acknowledge this problem is very real. the government of pakistan for example, relies on support from the tribal areas and people who adhere to tradition. Religious groups are often against the regimes or governments in the first place and don’t offer support. That is why nothing is done to remove this misconception and if left to it, it will probably increase in the next generation.

    but it has nothing to do with islam – and that is an important point. Islamic viewpoints are quickly shunned as extremist, they don’t get the support to influence this trend.

    visited your website. Looks interesting so far.

    Honest Debate

  8. honestdebate says :

    Hi Lee,

    For starters, please accept my apologies, if I came across rude. I too was worked up after your response. It can be difficult to keep emotions out of such discussions and as you rightly pointed out at the start of the discussion, we must both take care when discussing religion and politics.

    Also bear in mind we have nevere met and are discussing (at length) whilst juggling work and our respective lives. It can seem frustrating and a waste of time to both.

    I take your point that you were implying that i’m not living up to my ‘mission statement’. Apologies for misunderstanding what you meant. I thought you kept having a dig at the name ‘honest debate’ and got a little annoyed.

    Now, if you’re still reading, back to the original discussion:

    As written in the comment above, the example of the man killing his wife for cheating was given to highlight that he too kills for honour as he feels betrayed and expects loyalty. Yes, here is a intimate relationship between a man and woman as opposed to a relationship between father and daughter or brother and sister. However, the cause for rage is honour and the feeling of betrayal. The actions are clearly wrong in both circumstances.

    The point that they say they are from islam stems from the stagnant political realities of the Muslim world. Nothing’s done about anything! Taking Pakistan as an example, the governments in constant battle for power, the judiciary dismantled and the ONLY support for the government is from tribal regions. People who want religion and Islam are often labeled as extremists. It is a very sorry state of affairs and has more to do with the political state than Islam itself.

    I apologise if my tone implied ‘go away’ because you disagree with me. That’s not the case at all. Contrary to how I may have come across to you, I actually DO want to hear people’s views and prefer being challenged honestly rather than people agreeing to avoid conflict.

    I guess, your insistence that Honour killings was from Islam annoyed me. But that’s because I know they’re not and find it frustrating when people link this to Islam when it has got nothing to do with it.

    Anyway, best of luck with your blog too if you decide never to come back (assuming you read this). I will probably still visit yours if that’s ok. Do think i could benefit from learning from your style of writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: