Be sure to register for our Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on honor killings on April 29th in Dearborn, Michigan. Register here.
There will be more and more honor killings in the West until Western authorities have the courage to address its root causes, but that day may never come, but Islamic teaching contains a justification for the practice, and no one dares speak against something that is taught in Islam.
It is no accident or coincidence that 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.
And here the killer got 17 years. 17 years for a brutal premeditated murder? Why not life in prison, at very least? Only because he showed remorse? I am sure his performance was Oscar-worthy, but there is an issue of justice involved.
Switzerland seems to be becoming like Muslim polities that lessen penalties for honor killings. 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."
"Father gets 17 years for killing daughter with axe," from The Local, April 18:
The 53-year-old Pakistani man who killed his 16-year-old daughter, Swera, at their home in Zurich-Höngg in 2010 has been sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.
The Zurich District Court found the father guilty of murder, and concluded that although it had not been an honour killing in the sense most commonly understood, the man had killed his daughter “to get out of a humiliating situation and to restore his honour”.
The court stated that the father, referred to as Scheragha R, had used “really excessive violence” and that he had killed his teenaged daughter with “reckless brutality”, newspaper Tages Anzieger reported.
The court listened as the defence lawyer, Matthias Brunner, described a man who had reached the end of his tether, both physically and emotionally, having been particularly burdened by his two younger daughters’ psychological, behavioural and developmental problems.
The discovery that his favourite eldest daughter wanted to move out of the home finally destroyed the family ideal he had held and sent him over the edge, Brunner said.
But the prosecution, represented by Ulrich Krättli, went in hard and asserted that the father “had downright massacred his daughter”.
The court found that the brutality was such that Scheragha R deserved a life-sentence, although this was partially reduced because the 53-year-old had confessed to the murder and demonstrated feelings of remorse.
Each of the remaining children will receive between 12,000 and 15,000 francs in compensation for suffering.
The murder took place on May 10th 2010, not long after 16-year-old Swera had been picked up at a Zurich police station by her parents. She had been caught stealing cigarettes.
It was the first time the girl had seen her father for two weeks: she had run away after her father had allegedly tried to electrocute her by throwing a hairdryer into the bath, online news site 20 Minuten reported.
Once back at their apartment Swera said she wanted to leave home permanently and started to pack a bag. She then went down to the basement of the building to get a pair of shoes. While she was gone, her father allegedly retrieved an axe from the balcony and hid it in the bedroom he shared with his wife.
Once she was back in the apartment, the girl went into her parents' bedroom to pick up some of her belongings. When she bent down to retrieve some items from the wardrobe, her father hit her with the axe on the back of the head, the prosecutor says. The man struck his daughter 19 times with the axe: 12 times with the blade and seven with the blunt end.
The teenager did not die instantly, but lay on the ground in agonizing pain for several minutes until her life finally slipped away.
After washing his hands, Scheragha R left the apartment and called his wife to say he had killed his daughter. Fifteen minutes later, he called the police, who arrested him shortly after near his apartment.