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.
“Yemeni girl, 15, ‘burned to death by father,'” by Mohammed Jamjoom, Hakim Almasmari and Saad Abedine for CNN, October 24 (thanks to Jas):
(CNN) — A 15-year-old Yemeni girl was burned to death by her father for “communicating with her fiance,” according to Yemen’s Interior Ministry.
The father, a 35-year-old man, was arrested Tuesday in a village in Taiz Province. The statement did not clarify when the girl was killed.
The case, which activists are calling an honor crime, is once again highlighting the plight of young girls in Yemen, where child marriages and honor killings still happen.
Hmmm, I wonder why.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than half of all females in Yemen are married off before the age of 18.
Leading child rights advocate Ahmed Al-Qureshi confirmed to CNN his organization, Seyaj, had been asked to investigate the incident, one he considered an “honor killing.”
Honor killings are a problem in Yemen, a deeply tribal and conservative country, Al-Qureshi said. “Most incidents of honor killing take place in rural areas where tribal law is applied.”
If it were a “tribal” problem, we would see honor killings in all tribal societies. We don’t. Now, why is that?
“The government needs to deal with honor killing seriously,” Ali Al-Bahri, a human rights activist, told CNN. Al-Bahri added that most honor killings in Yemen go unreported, “and suspects are never punished.”
“Tribal culture and lack of government awareness campaigns are key to the continuous spread of honor killings,” said Al-Bahri.
No, the key to the continuous spread of honor killings is the denial of their Islamic provenance and justification.
A written statement on the Interior Ministry’s website said police had told the ministry that “the father committed this heinous crime against his daughter under the pretext that she was communicating with her fiancee.”
Third of teens in Amman, Jordan, condone honor killings, study says.