How many more girls must die as they did?
Over at Pajamas Media, in “The FBI Was Right. Why They Stopped Calling Yaser Said an Honor Killer,” Phyllis Chesler says that the FBI’s decision to stop calling the murders of Amina and Sarah Said by their father “honor killings” is tactical, not politically correct:
So here’s what I think: If indeed Yaser Abdul Said is still hiding in the United States–and is being sheltered by other Muslims–imagine it from their point of view. If they are strangers, not blood relatives, would they be more or less likely to turn him in if they learned he was a common murderer or if they learned that the FBI was pursuing him because he was a Muslim? Or a Muslim honor killer? Since the FBI is clearly interested in capturing him, perhaps they concluded that advertising Said as an honor killer might limit their chances of success.
Some Muslims view honor killings as the only way a family can cleanse itself from having been dishonored. To them, an honor killer might be seen as a hero. Thus, designating Said as an honor killer might endear them to him and lead to his being safely sheltered for a longer period of time. Other Muslims may disapprove of honor killings entirely but might also see the designation as a way in which Western culture might choose to unfairly stigmatize all Muslims. Thus, the more moderate Muslims might also be less inclined to “get involved” in turning another Muslim in.
There is no doubt in my mind: Said did honor kill his two young and vivacious daughters. But, I understand why the FBI might have changed the wording on the poster.
I sure hope she’s right. On the other side of the balance is the fact that, as Chesler notes, CAIR was livid over the “honor killing” designation — and some sectors of the FBI have been extremely solicitous of CAIR over the years.
Ultimately, whether or not the FBI terms this an “honor killing,” the primary question is this: will American law enforcement officials ever begin to call upon the Muslim leadership in America to go beyond their bland affirmations that this practice has nothing to do with Islam, and actually do something about it? It is absolutely true that honor killing takes place in other cultural contexts. It is also true that the Qur’an says nothing about it. But it also cannot be denied that the stipulation in Islamic law that a parent who murders his or her child is exempt from penalty (cf. ‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2) creates a legal and cultural atmosphere in which this sort of thing is tolerated. And our own multiculturalist blinders render officials too ignorant and/or bemused to confront this.