Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar, 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 the victim was the murderer’s sister, 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 law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.
“Bedouin woman’s uncles accused of murdering her, burning body,” Times of Israel, June 18, 2017:
Three men will be indicted Sunday for murder in the death of their relative, a young Bedouin woman who they believed would “dishonor” their family, the state prosecution said.
Hanan al-Bahiri, 19 and recently divorced, disappeared on May 3 in her hometown of Lakiya, north of Beersheba, shortly after speaking on the phone with her mother and telling her she was on her way home.
Her mother reported her disappearance, prompting a police investigation and the arrest of six family members. One of the suspects eventually confessed and led officers to al-Bahiri’s remains, buried near one of the family homes.
Police say al-Bahiri’s two uncles, Sager and Yunes, as well as Yunes’s son Mahmad, grabbed her on the night of May 3 and questioned her over her divorce, then murdered and buried her.
Prior to her death the 19-year-old had been married off to a disabled man. Required after her divorce to return the traditional “bride price” her family had been paid, and orphaned of her father, al-Bahiri began working.
Her uncles and cousin were allegedly concerned that her newly independent lifestyle would lead her to meet and date men, bringing “dishonor” upon their family.
After kidnapping and questioning her over her dealings, the three broke her neck, then burned her body and buried the remains, police said….
The suspects deny the allegations against them.