This politically correct self-censorship will only lead to more honor killings, because it perpetuates the denial and obfuscation about the Islamic justifications for such murders.
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.
“Behzti playwright accuses BBC of ‘extraordinary’ censorship of ‘honour killings’ episode,” by Adam Sherwin for The Independent, January 29:
A leading playwright has accused the BBC of an “extraordinary” act of censorship after the corporation told her to cut key lines from a drama about “honour killings” which will be broadcast by Radio 4 this week.
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose controversial play Behzti was pulled from a Birmingham theatre in 2004 following protests from the Sikh community, wrote an episode for Radio 4″s DCI Stone series, which will be broadcast in the Afternoon Drama slot.
Bhatti’s episode, called Heart Of Darkness and due to air on Friday, tells the story of an investigation into the killing of a 16 year-old Asian girl, whose dumped body is found after being stabbed to death.
“Asian” is the Sharia-compliant British media’s euphemism for “Muslim.”
When it emerges that the girl was a victim of an “honour killing”, DCI Stone is told by his bosses is to treat the case “sensitively” because of her Muslim heritage.
“A week before recording I got an email from the producer saying the BBC compliance department had asked them to take lines out,” Bhatti told the Index On Censorship conference on artistic freedom of expression in the UK, held at the South Bank.
“At the end, a character says: “˜There is so much pressure in our community, to look right and to behave right.” The compliance department came back and said “˜we don’t want to suggest the entire Muslim community condones honour killings.”
“It’s an extraordinary and awful situation. They said the lines were offensive but they absolutely were not. We live in a fear-ridden culture.
“Unbelievably, what the compliance department said was if you can find a factual example of community pressure leading to an honour killing, you can have the line. But it’s a drama, a story.
“It’s a crucial part of that story. I was very disappointed given my previous experience of censorship. If you take out the line, the whole thing changes, it’s a betrayal of the character and the truth of the unfolding story.”…
A Radio 4 spokesman said: “This is a hard-hitting drama about the realities of honour killing in Britain. A single line in the script could be taken to infer that the pressure and motivation to commit such a crime in a family comes from the wider Muslim community, potentially misrepresenting majority British Muslim attitudes to honour killing. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti was asked to amend this line in the normal editorial process of script development.”
Sir Nicolas Serota, director of the Tate, told the conference that there was no “easy path” to free expression in the arts. “In pushing against boundaries, artists help us to question the values of our society…art is a vital space where those values can be discussed,” he said.
Sir Nicolas defended the Tate’s decision to withdraw from display God is Great, 1991, a work by John Latham featuring copies of the Bible, a Koran and a Talmud, which have been physically manipulated, in 2005.
The Tate was advised by Muslim community leaders showing the work, shortly after the July 7 bombings, could provoke protests.…
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, warned that arts institutions could become victims of “self-censorship”, as the threat of funding cuts makes bodies avoid presenting works which might provoke a public backlash….
This warning is way too late. We are already there.