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.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. 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.”
In light of all this, until authorities get the courage to tell the truth about honor killing, there will be many more such murders.
“Toronto mother’s throat slit for letting children adopt Canadian culture, court hears in alleged honour killing trial,” by Joe O’Connor in the National Post, October 10 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Randjida Khairi was stabbed five times in her chest and back. She had her throat cut, a wound so ugly and deep that it sliced through her neck muscles, voicebox and windpipe “” stopping only at her spine.
She was stabbed with two different knives. She drowned in her own blood; a process a pathologist would later determine took between five and 10 minutes. Police discovered Ms. Khairi’s body lying on a bloody cot in her family home, a 16th floor apartment in the northwest corner of Toronto, otherwise all tidy and neat, with a kitchen full of pots.
The victim was the mother of six. The victim was married to her killer for 30 years.
On Wednesday, Peer Khairi, a silver-haired man and an Afghan immigrant, sat in the defendant’s box of a downtown Toronto courtroom following the proceedings through a Dari interpreter, fingering a parade of gruesome crime scene photographs of his dead wife, taken by police on March 18, 2008, and presented to the court as evidence.
The 65-year-old jabbed at some photos with his index finger, and turned others this way and that, uttering a few words to his lawyer, rubbing his chin with his hand. Mostly he sat with his legs crossed, tracing his left thumb across his fingertips.
On the opposite side of the courtroom sat a 12-person jury consisting of four women and eight men. They represented a tapestry of ethnicities “” of Canadians. Old and young, brown and white and black and all hues in between, contemplating the same images as the defendant while sitting in judgment of a case that marks the latest chapter in Canada’s ever-expanding book of alleged honour killing trials.
Mr. Khairi doesn’t dispute that he killed his wife. On that the Crown and the defence agree. At issue is how, precisely, her death occurred and what was going through her husband’s mind when he killed her. The accused has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
The Crown has told the court that, as a new arrival to this country, Mr. Khairi struggled with Canadian ways, often fighting with his wife over how she allowed their children to dress, to become more Western “” to drift from the “culture and the rules of their birth place.”
That place is Afghanistan, a patriarchal society where women, be they wives or teenagers or young girls, disobey their husbands, any man, really, at their own peril. This is not an over-simplification. This is a tragic fact….
Ms. Khairi, the court was told, had been thinking of leaving her husband. She spoke to other people, complete strangers in some cases, about her plans. Mr. Khairi told police upon his arrest that he felt disrespected, wronged by his children and betrayed by a wife who had turned against him. Now she is dead.