Never forget them
Disputing the claims of the girls’ brother, Islam Said, which I discussed here.
“Slain Lewisville sisters mourned at Christian, Muslim services,” by Tanya Eiserer for The Dallas Morning News (thanks to all who sent this in):
…Sarah and Amina Yaser Said were buried in a Muslim cemetery in Denton on Saturday. The Lewisville High students were remembered as teens who excelled in academics and athletics….
And the police presence was a reminder that the girls’ Egyptian-born father, Yaser Abdel Said, is still on the run.
Amina, 18, and Sarah Yaser Said, 17, who both attended Lewisville High School, were found shot to death in a taxi at an Irving motel Tuesday night….
Islam Said has previously disputed widespread rumors and media reports that his Muslim father’s religion may have been the reason for the killings. Some have speculated that the deaths may have been “honor killings,” a practice in which a man kills a female relative who he believes has somehow shamed the family.
Irving police have said that they are exploring all possible motives for the slayings. Police have acknowledged that the family had some previous domestic problems.
Gail Gartrell, the sisters’ great-aunt, said Saturday that Mr. Said had physically abused the two girls for years. Around Christmas, the girls’ mother — Ms. Gartrell’s niece — had fled because of Mr. Said’s threats to kill the girls after he learned they had boyfriends, she said.
“She ran with them because she knew he would carry out the threat,” Ms. Gartrell said. “This was an honor killing.”
She said her niece returned after Mr. Said told her that he would move out so they could reconcile. Within a few days, she said, the girls were dead.
The short Muslim service was at a gold-domed mosque in Richardson in a cavernous gym, with prayers piped across loudspeakers. The closed caskets were at the far side of the gym, end to end.
Dozens of Muslim men lined up in front of the girls’ caskets. About 20 feet behind them were women in hajibs. An imam then led a Muslim prayer.
Dr. Yusuf Kavacki, head of the Richardson mosque, alternating between English and Arabic, told mourners that all living things are destined to die.
A strange topic, no? It suggests, at least from this report, that he was giving the impression that there was a certain inevitability about this, and deemphasizing the violence and tragedy of it. Might it not have been better to stress the sanctity of life and emphasize that such an act has no justification under any circumstances?
Another imam talked about families being the most important thing in Islam and the need for parents to work to keep their families strong.
Another strange topic. Parents must work to keep their families strong. How? By any means necessary? How exactly should Yaser Said have worked to keep his family strong? Does the imam mean that Yaser Said should have worked harder to keep Amina and Sarah on the Islamic straight and narrow, and then he wouldn’t have had to resort to killing them? But since they strayed from that straight and narrow, he did what he had to do to keep his family strong? Is there a hint here of justification for the killings?
Maybe not. I invite this unidentified imam to explain what he said and what he meant — and if I hear from him, I will publish his explanation. I know how reporters can get things wrong, sometimes willfully. But given the widespread justification within Islam for honor killings, I think these are legitimate questions to ask him.