Islamic apologists in the West continue to try to convince gullible Westerners (of which there are so very many) that honor killing really has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and that all evidence to the contrary is just “Islamophobia.” 91% of all honor killings occur among Muslims? Coincidence! Bad study! (Not that any good studies are offered in its place, mind you.) Jordan and Syria — and now the Palestinian Authority — have relaxed penalties for honor killings? Well, yes, but a lot of important people have spoken out against this — well, yes, no one is listening to them, but…still!
If the apologists for the Islamic character of honor killing cared about women as much as they care about covering for Islam, they would devote their energies to stamping out the attitudes within the Muslim community that give rise to honor killing, rather than demonizing those who are standing up for victimized Muslim women.
It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. 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.
Syria in 2009 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.'” And 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.”
Nonetheless, the media drumbeat is constant: honor killings have nothing to do with Islam. And so they continue, as no one ever challenges Muslim authorities to do anything to stop them.
“Palestinian women await scrapping of honour killing,” by Nasouh Nazzal for Gulf News, February 14 (thanks to Daisy Khan):
Ramallah: The Palestinian Women’s Movement is awaiting the implementation of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah, which will pave the way for a legitimate parliament to approve the long-awaited legislation which abolishes the legal clauses that allow crimes of honour.
In an interview with Gulf News, Rawdah Baseer, an activist of the Palestinian Feminist Movement and head of the Palestinian Women’s Studies Centre, said the legislation once approved will be a key achievement for the women fighting against this menace since the 1990s.
“We resent those two clauses which led to the death of many innocent women in our land,” she said.
She said that the movement has studied the Palestinian Criminal Law, which is originally Jordanian, in detail and came up with amendments.
“An average of 12 women are killed annually in the Palestinian Territories on honour grounds,” she said. “Men are taking advantage of the law,” she stressed.
A man who kills a relative is either pardoned, given a suspended sentence or six months to three years imprisonment which is reduced further once appealed, she said. However, when a woman murders her unfaithful husband, she is given a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. “This is not acceptable any more,” she said.
“The Palestinian courts do not even investigate the women’s cases, and once the accused men claim they had acted on honour grounds, their claims are approved and sentenced accordingly,” she said. “This is unfair.”
A recent study by the Arab World Research and Development revealed that 74.5 per cent of the youth want the clauses abolished.