Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'" And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
In light of all this, until authorities get the courage to tell the truth about honor killing, there will be many more such murders.
"'Honor' murderer boasts of triple killing," by Reza Sayah for CNN, August 20 (thanks to Suneil):
Kot Chutta, Pakistan (CNN) -- From behind the steel bars of his jail cell, Muhammad Ismail described with uncanny ease how he shot and killed his wife, his mother-in-law, and sister-in-law.
"The first shot hit the side of her body," Ismail said. "I left her there and went next door and killed my wife's mother and sister. I made sure they were all dead. Then I locked the door and left the house."
Without any apparent regret, Ismail said he would do it again.
"I am proud of what I did. That's why I turned myself over to the police."
Ismail's confession to the triple-murder that took place last February in a village in central Pakistan is a rare and chilling first-hand account of a so-called 'honor' killing -- the murder of women who are usually accused of dishonoring their families by being unfaithful or disobedient.
Ismail accused his wife of eight months of repeatedly flirting with other men and spending long hours away from home.
"My wife never made me happy," said the 20-year-old who played drums in a traditional Pakistani wedding band before his arrest. "She was like a prostitute. She never took care of me."
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported 943 women were "killed in the name of honor" in Pakistan last year, an increase of more than 100 from 2010.
Rights groups blame the increase in 'honor' murders partly on what they call an ineffective justice system in Pakistan that too often allows killers to go unpunished.
Despite his videotaped confession to CNN and an earlier confession to police, prosecutors say Ismail can soon be a free man if his victims' family agrees to accept compensation for the killings.
Receiving blood money is an option for victims in many conservative Muslim societies under the Islamic principal [sic] that mercy is more noble than revenge.
But women's rights activists complain that in patriarchal societies like Pakistan, 'honor' killers regularly bully and threaten the female victim's family into accepting blood money.
"When it comes to the crime we have a natural reaction of shock and horror, but when we see the justice system not work, our heart breaks," said legal advisor and rights activist Bushra Syed.
According to human rights lawyer Zia Ahmed Awan, victims' families in Pakistan are also at a disadvantage because 'honor' killings often take place in male-dominated communities where women are often viewed as property with few rights to defend themselves and little access to legal aid.
"In parts of the country there is hardly any legal help for women," Awan said. "This crime is growing because the courts and laws are not responding to the cries for help."....