"Begner hopes the state doesn't make this about Islam or ethnicity. This death could have happened, he says, in any culture, with any family."
Why does the mainstream media believe it necessary always to exonerate Islam from any responsibility for violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam? Who decided that this must be done, and on what grounds, and why do they all fall into lockstep without question?
NPR and the others are only enabling the murders of more women like Sandeela Kanwal. Why? Murders happen anywhere, among all groups, but this is not just a murder, it is an honor killing, and it simply isn't true that "this death could have happened...in any culture, with any family." If that were true, then where are the Christian honor killings, as one of the NPR commenters on this article said: "It would be the same part of the story is a christian said God told him to kill his daughter"? All right, put up or shut up: where are those Christians whom God is telling to kill their daughters?
Where is the Christian sect that teaches that while "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right," yet "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring"? In other words, a father who kills his daughter incurs no penalty. What Christian sect teaches that? The quotes are from a manual of Islamic law certified by the foremost institution in Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar in Cairo, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy: 'Umdat al-Salik (o1.1-2).
Where, if this murder could have happened in any culture, in any family, are the courts in majority-Christian or culturally Christian countries that teach that "murder to save a woman’s honour not a crime," as the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Pakistan declared just last Thursday?
When NPR retails nonsense of this kind, it only deflects attention from where it ought to be focused: upon Muslim communities in the West. Instead of exonerating Islam, NPR and the rest of the mainstream media ought to be calling upon Muslim leaders in America to acknowledge the widespread acceptance among Muslims of honor killing as Islamically correct, and calling upon them to begin to teach against it.
If they don't do this, there are certain to be more honor killings in the United States.
Yet it is unthinkable that NPR would start calling upon Muslim leaders not only to denounce honor killing, but to institute comprehensive, honest, transparent, inspectable programs in mosques and Islamic schools in America that teach against it and call it the crime that it is. And that in itself is a crime atop another crime.
Morning Edition, January 26, 2009 · Police in Atlanta have been investigating the death of a 25-year-old Pakistani woman, who was allegedly murdered by her father in the name of family honor.
She wanted out of an arranged marriage, but her father thought a divorce would bring shame to the family.
Honor killings are old rites of murder within families, committed because of some perceived dishonor or shame. The United Nations estimates around 5,000 deaths occur each year — mostly women, mostly in South Asia and the Middle East. [...]
It was around 1 a.m. on July 6 when police got several 911 calls connected to that house. The first was from a man who told police, "My daughter's dead." Then, at 1:55 a.m., Clayton County received a 911 call from a woman named Gina Rashid who was worried about her stepdaughter Sandeela.
'My Daughter's Dead'
"I hear a lot of hollering and screaming," Rashid says, "and I just woke up and I asked my family what's going on. They're from Pakistan. They're not speaking any English to me. They're not telling me nothing. Sandeela's dead. Sandeela's dead."
Sandeela Kanwal was the 25-year-old daughter of Chaudry Rashid. Christian says when police arrived at the house, they found the 57-year-old pizza shop owner sitting cross-legged in his driveway, smoking a cigarette.
"They talked to him and asked him what was going on," says Christian, "and he said, 'My daughter's dead.' They asked him again what he'd said and he said, 'My daughter's dead.'"
Police found Kanwal dead on the floor of her bedroom, still in her Wal-Mart uniform. She'd been working the late shift that night. As they surveyed the scene, police tried to piece together what had happened. Rashid was taken into custody and questioned.
"He admitted to actually taking the life of his daughter," says Sgt. Stefan Schindler, a 13-year veteran of the Clayton County Police Department.
"And the reason he took his daughter's life," says Schindler, "by his own words was that she wasn't being true to her religion or to her husband."
Note that NPR doesn't say at this point exactly which religion she allegedly wasn't being true to, but they can't help getting to it eventually.
A Killing To Avoid Shame Of Divorce?
Police believe Rashid killed his daughter because she wanted a divorce and he felt that it would bring shame on his family. Schindler says Rashid told him killing his daughter was a right given to him by God, and that God would protect him. To police, in other words, this was an honor killing.
"Since my career begun here at Clayton County Police Department, I've never encountered anything like this," says Schindler. "This was the first time." [...]
Rashid remains in jail after he was refused bail. He's charged with murder and other felonies including assault.
"Here in Georgia, this is going to make me sound like a backwoods cracker, but we don't have many Muslims," says Begner. "Not too much diversity down here, at least that I'm aware of."
It sent a ripple through this swath of Bible-belt country.
"For me, and my upbringing, nothing in your life prepares you for that," he says.
'This Is American Law'
If it is an honor killing — and what really happened that night is not yet clear — it would be one of a handful of such crimes in this country.
In Dallas, an Egyptian man is wanted by police, accused of murdering his two daughters, reportedly, because they had non-Muslim boyfriends.
In Scottsville, N.Y., a Turkish immigrant has been in and out of psychiatric care since he was charged three years ago with killing his wife and beating his daughters because of alleged sexual assault.
Cue the obligatory mainstream media exoneration of Islam section:
In some honor killings overseas, family members have killed women who've been raped because they're considered to have brought shame on their families. For Muslims in Atlanta, the attention was the last thing they needed.
Shahid Malik is a local representative of Atlanta's Pakistani population and one of the very few willing to speak about the Rashid case.
"This thing hurt the Muslim community, Pakistani community," he says.
He says the killing has nothing to do with Islam, but that Rashid has little education and comes from a small village in Pakistan where tribal traditions are strong.
"I think in their mind, use the name honor killing, they give less punishment," he says. "But that is wrong because law is changed. This is American law."
But it is true that in some Islamic countries there is less punishment given for honor killings -- including modern, moderate Jordan.
Malik says years ago, Pakistan used to punish honor killings with only seven years' imprisonment. Now, he says, the sentence is greater. But he says Kanwal's murder doesn't fit in that category of crimes.
"Whatever this case is or not, this is not an honor killing," he says. "It is not based on Pakistani law. Chaudry Rashid loved his daughter."
He just loved her to death, as they might say in Atlanta.
Begner hopes the state doesn't make this about Islam or ethnicity. This death could have happened, he says, in any culture, with any family....