As I have pointed out many times. An incisive piece by Rafia Zakaria of the Asian American Network Against Abuse of Women in India’s Frontline, with thanks to all who sent this in:
SAMAIRA NAZIR WAS stabbed by her brother 18 times.
ON June 27, 2006, the two murderers of a 19-year-old honour killing victim, Ghazala Khan, were sentenced to life in prison by a Danish court. On September 23, 2005, Ghazala Khan, a Danish Pakistani, was gunned down by her own brother at a suburban Danish railway station Her crime was marrying a man of her own choice. Her husband Emal Khan survived the attack despite being shot in the abdomen. Seven other people, including an aunt and cousins, were convicted of being accessories to the murder. Perveen Khan, Ghazala’s paternal aunt who had maintained contact with the couple and acted as the family’s informant about the couple’s whereabouts, cajoled and wheedled a reluctant Ghazala to meet her father and brother at the station for a supposed reconciliation. Following Ghazala’s murder, her father Ghulam Abbass, the owner of a taxi service and reputed to be one of the wealthiest members of the Danish-Pakistani community, continued trying to kill Emal Khan, even while he was recovering in hospital.
Ghazala Khan is hardly alone in her tragic and untimely end. On July 14, 2006, the killers of 25-year-old Samaira Nazir, a British Pakistani girl, were sentenced to life in prison. In a story unparalleled in the grotesque cruelty of its execution, Samaira, who had defied her family by marrying an Afghan immigrant, was held down by her mother while her brother stabbed her more than 18 times. Her two nieces, aged two and four, were made to watch as their young rebellious aunt was given the treatment deserved by girls who defy the will of their family. When the police arrived at the behest of a neighbour who heard Samaira’s screams, they found her bloodied body in the hallway of her home. A silk scarf had been tied tightly around her neck and her throat sliced three times. The two nieces, their clothes spattered with blood, watched as their aunt’s body was carried away to the morgue.
Despite the alarming details of both cases, little has emerged in terms of condemnation by the European Muslim community. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the leading representative organisation of the Muslim community in Britain, has yet to denounce the killing. In the single statement on honour killings available on the group’s website, the MCB asserts that the problem is found only “in a very small section” of the British Muslim community. Furthermore, the statement defensively asserts, that “such killings are not restricted to Muslim families but occur also in Sikh and Christian families”.
In a position paper that follows the statement, the MCB continues its defensive rhetoric by reiterating the fact that the worst forms of punishment for women who bring dishonour to their families “affect only a small percentage of women” and that “women from other faith groups may be subject to similar attitudes from within their communities”. The remainder of the report treads the delicate line between asserting the validity of Koranic injunctions that regard all extra-marital sexual relations as sinful while also condemning honour killings that are often avowedly perpetrated by family members to punish women who stand accused of just such sexual relations. While the MCB’s position paper urges Muslim leaders to “take an unequivocal stance against behaviour that is direct violation of Islam”, it seems that no MCB leader actually considers such advice worthy of notice. “Unwillingness to deal with the issue,” the MCB asserts “is the result of an inherent distrust of perceived `Western’ attempts to malign Islam in the interest of global politics.”
Read it all.