A police report records that before the murders, a relative of the girls told police that Amina and Sarah’s mother “had told her that since they are Muslim that the daughter was only allowed to date other Muslims. Yaser had found out she went on a date with a non-Muslim and became very angry and threatened her with bodily harm.” The girls escaped, but were lured back and murdered.
This is what American Muslim advocacy groups ought to be talking about, if they had an ounce of integrity, and any interest at all in promoting sane and humanistic values among Muslims and all people. Their constant finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and evasion of responsibility has a human cost: how many more honor killings are we going to see among Muslims in America before they own up to the reality of the practice and begin to teach against it? How many more is it going to take before government and law enforcement officials begin to pressure them to do so?
The correct answer should be — why, no more. No more at all. Amina and Sarah Said should be alive today, and the idea that a man can walk around in Texas or anywhere else believing that it’s perfectly all right for him to murder his daughters because they are dating non-Muslims — since, after all, it is perfectly fine to do that sort of thing back home in Egypt — is abominable. It is monstrous.
Where is Nihad Awad? Where is Mehdi Hasan? Where is Reza Aslan? Where are the feminists?
Of course, the Muslim spokesmen will say, This has nothing to do with Islam. Logged and noted, thank you, gentlemen. Now: what are you and your organizations doing, or planning to do, to try to prevent Muslims like Yaser Abdel Said from thinking that this is a perfectly acceptable thing to do on Islamic grounds?
He has reason to think this. 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.”
Until the encouragement Islamic gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer the fate of Amina and Sarah Said.
“F.B.I. Is Adding Slayings Suspect to Wanted List,” by Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times, December 4, 2014 (thanks to Paul):
WASHINGTON — The fugitive likes to eat at Denny’s and the International House of Pancakes. He loves black and tan German shepherds. His cigarettes of choice are Marlboro Lights 100s.
The description of the fugitive, Yaser Abdel Said, was included in a particularly detailed announcement Thursday from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which added Mr. Said to its Ten Most Wanted list.
The F.B.I. said that Mr. Said executed his two teenage daughters seven years ago after telling them he was taking them to a Dallas-area restaurant in his taxicab. Their bodies were found in Irving, Tex.
Mr. Said, 57, was born in Egypt, is 6 feet 2 inches and weighs about 180 pounds, the F.B.I. said. He has a dark brown spot on the side of his neck, the F.B.I. said, and may “seek shelter in Egyptian-affiliated communities in the United States or abroad.” He “is believed to have ties to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the New York City area, Virginia, Canada and Egypt,” and could be working as a taxi driver. He is believed to carry a firearm, the F.B.I. said….