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. In this case, of course, the victim was the murderer’s wife, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
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.”
“Rania Alayed case: ‘Westernised’ wife ‘murdered by husband,'” BBC, April 30, 2014:
A mother of three from Manchester was murdered by her husband for becoming “too westernised” and “establishing an independent life”, a court has heard.
Rania Alayed, 25, went missing last June but her body has never been found.
Ahmed Al-Khatib admits causing her death, claiming he was “possessed of a spirit” when he pushed her, causing her to stumble, fall and bang her head.
Al-Khatib, of Gorton, and his brother Muhaned Al-Khatib, of Salford, both deny murder.
Syrian-born Ms Alayed went to drop off her children at the flat of the defendant’s brother where she was said to have been murdered.
‘Comply or be killed’
Muhaned Al-Khatib, 38, left the address with the children some 45 minutes later and shortly afterwards her husband, Ahmed Al-Khatib, 35, walked out wearing some of her traditional clothing with a suitcase containing her corpse, the Manchester Crown Court jury was told.
Muhaned Al-Khatib said he was not present at the time that any violence was used against Ms Alayed and did not bear any responsibility for her murder, the court heard.
It is alleged that in the early hours of the next day the two brothers, and another sibling, drove the body from the Manchester area to North Yorkshire where she was buried.
The prosecution told the jury the mother of three, from Cheetham Hill, had been “in fear of her husband” Al-Khatib and “believed he might one day kill her”.
She had sought help from the Citizens Advice Bureau, the police and eventually a solicitor which had angered her husband’s family, the court heard.
Tony Cross QC, prosecuting, said: “The family of the defendants were insulted that she had gone to the law. They wanted her and her children back within the family fold.
“They believed that she was establishing an independent life, perhaps with another man. Therefore, it was decided that she should either be forced to comply or be killed.”
He added that in her husband’s eyes she “began to become a little too westernised and had friends, male and female”.
“This was all too much for the first two defendants,” he said.
Al-Khatib and and his brother admit intending to pervert the course of justice by transporting and concealing the body of Ms Alayed.
A third brother, Hussain Al-Khatib, 34, of Knutsford Road, Gorton, denies the latter charge.
The trial continues.