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Monday, 6 August 2012

Honour Killings Are Much More than Domestic Violence

In light of the recent guilty verdict for the parents of Shafilea Ahmed in the UK, the Warrington, Cheshire, teenager murdered by her mother and father in an "honour killing", it is interesting to look at the results of an extensive analysis of more than fifty reported honour killings, entitled "Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?".

The study by Phyllis Chesler, professor of psychology and women's studies at the City University of New York, appeared in 2009 in The Middle East Quarterly, a peer-reviewed publication, and begins:
When a husband murders a wife or daughter in the United States and Canada, too often law enforcement chalks the matter up to domestic violence. Murder is murder; religion is irrelevant. Honor killings are, however, distinct from wife battering and child abuse. Analysis of more than fifty reported honor killings shows they differ significantly from more common domestic violence.[1] The frequent argument made by Muslim advocacy organizations that honor killings have nothing to do with Islam and that it is discriminatory to differentiate between honor killings and domestic violence is wrong.

... A 2008 Massachusetts-based study found that "although immigrants make up an estimated 14 percent of the state's population, [they, nevertheless,] accounted for 26 percent of the 180 domestic violence deaths from 1997-2006." [Emphasis added]
The report shows very clearly different patterns in honour killings and domestic violence, including the facts that in the former whole families participate to restore the honour of the family, that "unlike most Western domestic violence, honor killings are carefully planned", that "In some cases, taxi drivers, neighbors, and mosque members prevent the targeted woman from fleeing, report her whereabouts to her family, and subsequently conspire to thwart police investigations.[19] Very old relatives or minors may be chosen to conduct the murder in order to limit jail time if caught. Seldom is domestic violence celebrated, even by its perpetrators. In the West, wife batterers are ostracized. Here, there is an important difference in honor crimes. Muslims who commit or assist in the commission of honor killings view these killings as heroic and even view the murder as the fulfillment of a religious obligation. A Turkish study of prisoners found no social stigma attached to honor murderers."

In addition, "In both North America and Europe, family members conducted honor killings with excessive violence—repeatedly stabbing, raping, setting aflame, and bludgeoning—in more than half the cases. Only in serial-killing-type scenarios are Western women targeted with similar violence; in these cases, the perpetrators are seldom family members, and their victims are often strangers."

And 99% of perpetrators of the honour killings studied in the research were Muslim, while rest were Sikh.

It concludes:
While the sample size is small, this study suggests that honor killing is accelerating in North America and may correlate with the numbers of first generation immigrants. The problem is diverse but originates with immigration from majority Muslim countries and regions—the Palestinian territories, the Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iraq, majority Muslim countries in the Balkans, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Afghanistan. Pakistanis accounts for the plurality. The common denominator in each case is not culture but religion.
At at the trial of Shafilea Ahmed's parents, the judge Mr Justice Roderick Evans, giving them a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison, told them: "Your concern about being shamed in your community was greater than the love of your child."

This may sound totally implausible, even incredible to Western ears, but can be better understood when one knows about the individual and community psychology prevailing among Muslims and how it differs from the Western one, as well explained in Jihad Watch by Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist with professional experience in the Copenhagen youth prison Sønderbro and acute observer of Muslim behaviour in Denmark:
Secondly, most Muslims are not allowed to integrate. There is an exceedingly strong social control in the Muslim society. Everybody is keeping an eye on everybody, and if someone does not follow the cultural or religious code they are met with criticism and risk severe consequences, such as being banned from their community or even from their own family. In the worst cases – and there are many of those – Muslim women in particular live under a constant death threat that deprives them of basic human rights, such as the freedom to choose one’s own sexual partners, clothing style, friends, religion and lifestyle. Most of my Muslim clients saw their religious and cultural background as the height of civilization and morality – leaving it would be seen as a kind of cultural and religious apostasy and degradation by their kinsmen. And there are not needed many killings, kidnappings, beatings and other honourable kinds of behaviour before the rest do as they are expected to.

... Many of those Muslims who actually manage to go all the way live under constant threats from the traditional Muslim community that see the integrated Muslims' lifestyle as apostasy, punishable by the strict Sharia laws. These social and psychological hindrances have convinced me that Muslim integration will never happen to the necessary extent. It will happen in some places to a certain extent, but the vast majority will not overcome the psychological, intellectual, cultural, religious and social challenges. [Emphasis added]

1 comment:

  1. "These social and psychological hindrances have convinced me that Muslim integration will never happen to the necessary extent."

    It is a mark of civilized society that the concept of public shame lessens, and that scapegoats become less fundamental in the cultural dynamic as the society matures. Islam is stuck in amber and unable to move forward.

    On my good days, I hope that the secular Muslims I know represent the face of the future. As the birth rate in Islam declines, such an outcome may be possible...but only if Islam's bete noir, Western civilization, doesn't die of dementia and greed first.

    And then there is that tertium quid, China. Between China and Israel, they may create a replacement for fossil fuels. When that happens, game over.