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.
AMMAN “” Jordanian police said on Sunday they found the burned body of a pregnant woman whose throat had been slit and belly cut open showing her four-month-old fetus, in an apparent “honor killing.”
“We found the body of the woman at dawn in Ruseifeh (east of Amman). Her throat was slit in a hideous way. The body was burned after the murder,” a police spokesman said.
“We believe it was an honor crime. The belly of the woman, who was in her twenties, was cut open and we could see her four-month-old unborn child, who was dead too. Investigations are still under way.”
Between 15 and 20 women die in so-called “honor” murders each year in the Arab kingdom, despite government efforts to curb such crimes.
Murder is punishable by death in Jordan, but in “honor killings” courts can commute or reduce sentences, particularly if the victim’s family asks for leniency.