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.
“Three brothers reportedly murder their married sister,” by Rana Husseini for the Jordan Times, November 5 (thanks to Hussein):
AMMAN “” Criminal Court Prosecutor Qahtan Qawaqzeh on Monday questioned three brothers who reportedly murdered their married sister earlier in the day in the latest so-called honour killing to take place in the Kingdom this year, official sources said.
The three suspects, residents of Ruseifa, 15 kilometres east of Amman, were apprehended by authorities shortly after arriving at the police station claiming that one of them “stabbed his sibling to death at her home in the capital’s Shmeisani neighbourhood to cleanse his family”s honour”, a senior police official said.
“Investigators were not convinced by their story and decided to detain all three brothers for questioning,” the source told The Jordan Times.
In their initial testimony to the police and Qawaqzeh, the suspects said “they received information that their sister, who was married to an Arab national, was involved in an immoral relationship and decided to come to Amman to discuss the matter with her”, the source said.
When the brothers entered their sister’s house, one of them stabbed her with a knife 17 times to different parts of her body, according to the suspects” initial confessions.
“Two of the brothers claimed that they tried to prevent the third from stabbing their sister, but failed,” the source added.
Qawaqzeh is currently questioning the suspects and is expected to charge the three brothers with premeditated murder.
The victim was the third woman to be killed for reasons related to family honour in Jordan in less than a week.
On October 31, a 56-year-old man reportedly strangled his 22-year-old daughter with his hands at his home in Zarqa, 22 kilometres east of the capital, following an argument related to her “alleged immoral behaviour”.
On November 3, a 35-year-old man slit the throat of his divorced niece, in one of the Kingdom’s governorates, claiming family honour as the motive. The previous day, police handed her over to her father, who signed a guarantee that his daughter would not be harmed after she went missing from her family”s home for 10 days.