This Chicago Sun-Times story, after being more honest than AP by noting that Larry killed all these people because he believed he had some responsibility before Allah to do so, makes sure to include the standard disclaimer from a local Muslim group — the kind of thing that is usually as a matter of course appended to any story about a Muslim committing violence in the name of Islam: Islam condemns, Islam forbids, Islam is peace, etc. etc. etc.
The sheer pro-forma aspect of such disclaimers, and their frequent employ, ought to give some people pause. But it doesn’t. In any case, it is here once again disingenuous. James Larry murdered his family, according to this Chicago Tribune report, after complaining that his wife was not behaving according to Islamic standards, and saying that the Qur’an was telling him to kill (which it certainly does do — see 2:191, 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, etc.). Now, honor killing, which is also the subject of a blizzard of Islamic disclaimers whenever it appears in the news, is nonetheless relatively common in many Muslim countries, and is effectively encouraged by the fact that honor murderers often are given lighter sentences than other murderers.
Syria recently 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.'”
That’s right: two years for murder!
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.”
And 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.
That’s why these honor killings keep happening — because they are broadly tolerated, even encouraged, by Islamic teachings and attitudes. Yet no authorities are calling Islamic leaders to account for this. But in light of all this, James Larry ought not to be dismissed as a simple madman, and the Islamic community let off with the standard “Islam condemns, Islam forbids” disclaimer. Instead, there ought to be a serious public discussion about how the texts and teachings of Islam are used by Islamic jihadists to justify violence, and how they can be and are used even by violent creepy lunatics like James Larry to justify wanton slaughter. Only then can any effective steps be taken to try to prevent future murders like these.
But nothing like that is going to be done. Even to suggest that it should be done is “Islamophobic.” And so instead, more people will be murdered in the future the way James Larry’s family was murdered.
“Murder suspect ‘suffering greatly,’ his lawyer says: Bail denied Wisconsin man accused of killing 4 in his family,” by Rummana Hussain for the Chicago Sun-Times, April 17:
The Wisconsin man charged with killing four family members and seriously injuring two other relatives in a hail of bullets as they slept at his sister’s Marquette Park home suffers from a “multitude” of mental health illnesses, his attorney said Friday.
James Larry, a 32-year-old Muslim convert who allegedly told authorities he was ordered by “Allah” to carry out the carnage, has been under doctors’ care since 2002 and recently received psychiatric treatment in Janesville, Wis., said Julie Koehler, an assistant Cook County public defender.
Koehler said Larry was crying, his head bowed, when prosecutors detailed how he allegedly killed his pregnant wife, Twanda Thompson, 19; son, Jihad, 7 months, pregnant niece Keyshai Fields, 16, and 3-year-old Keleasha Larry, another niece.
“He is suffering greatly,” Koehler said, after Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Larry held without bond.
Larry also shot his 57-year-old mother, Leona Larry, and a nephew Demond Larry, 13, before dawn Wednesday. Both remain in critical condition, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.
The body count could have been worse, Santini added. He said Torino Hill, a 35-year-old man living in the home’s basement, was spared when James Larry’s gun jammed and another niece, 12, escaped injury when she ran down the street and called police….
James Larry, who has a lengthy criminal record, admitted his role in the shooting spree, told detectives he knew his wife and 16-year-old niece were pregnant and even led police to the 9mm handgun he allegedly used in the shooting, Santini said.
“That’s not the lot, turn left. It’s the first vacant lot off the alley on the left,” Larry directed officers, according to a police report.
James Larry also allegedly told officers he wished he “had more bullets.”
“I wish I had more bullets. Kill me. I threw the gun in a vacant lot by the police station. I’ll show you,” James Larry said, according to the report.
A relative said that when James Larry looked to the sky and didn’t see the moon or the sun before dawn Wednesday, “that meant Allah told him to take his family.”
On Friday, several local Muslim leaders and organizations denounced the murders and stressed that the Islamic faith should not be associated with the tragedy.
James Larry’s sister Keshai — the mother of three victims, including the two dead girls — joined Inner-City Muslim Action Network members and Jewish and Christian leaders later in the afternoon to show solidarity with the religious groups, IMAN’s executive director Rami Nashashibi said.
For years, the Marquette Park-based IMAN has been involved in many anti-violence efforts in the neighborhood and is taking an active role in assisting the victims, Nashashibi said.
“We find this type of horrific violence absolutely incompatible with any understanding or any expression of Islam,” he said.