Opponents of jihad ideology are often accused of identifying culture practices with the religion of Islam, and thus blaming Islam for things for which it is not responsible. But this is generally a false charge: I for my part am happy to draw this distinction whenever it genuinely applies, and this is one such case. The Qur’an and Islamic law specifically forbid the practice, which apparently was common in pre-Islamic Arabia, of killing female infants. The testimony of these girls to the circumstances of their deaths is even invoked as a feature of the day of judgment:
When the sun is overthrown,
And when the stars fall,
And when the hills are moved,
And when the camels big with young are abandoned,
And when the wild beasts are herded together,
And when the seas rise,
And when souls are reunited,
And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked
For what sin she was slain,
And when the pages are laid open,
And when the sky is torn away,
And when hell is lighted,
And when the Garden is brought nigh,
(Then) every soul will know what it hath made ready. (Qur’an, Sura 81:1-14)
That said, it is likely that Islam’s ingrained misogyny contributed to this man’s sense of frustration and rage. And his bizarre defense — that he killed them “because he feared that they would one day become promiscuous” — recalls the rationale behind honor killings, a cultural practice that has been defended on Islamic grounds. From AP:
SOHAG, Egypt (AP) – A man angry with fathering no sons stabbed four of his seven daughters to death as they slept and seriously wounded the other three, police said Monday.
Abdel Nasser Ibrahim, 47, a muezzin, or mosque prayer caller, in the Sohag provincial town of Tima, 345 kilometres south of Cairo, repeatedly stabbed his seven sleeping daughters with two knives in a rampage that lasted several minutes, a police official said on condition of anonymity.
Killed were Samar, 15; Isra, 10; Fatima, 8; and Zeinab, 7. The screams of the three wounded daughters alerted neighbours to the pre-dawn crime and they later contacted police.
Ibrahim’s wife of 18 years left the house before the killings to go and stay with her parents following an argument she had with her husband over failing to give birth to a son, the official told The Associated Press.
Police arrested Ibrahim who later claimed to have stabbed his daughters during a moment of temporary insanity because he feared they would one day become promiscuous. Police also quoted neighbours as saying Ibrahim had not allowed his girls to attend school.