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(Dis)honor Killings

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Lina Nabil was writing glossy features for a Middle Eastern women’s magazine when she found the story that changed her life. In the 1980s, while she was working on an investigative report on the situations of Jordan’s imprisoned women, she was shown a cell in the Central Jail in the capital of Amman. It was packed with women in their early to late teens.

“I asked, what had these girls done?” recalled Lina. “I was told they were being held for their own protection because their families had tried to kill them. Some of them had been there for years. Others were released and later murdered. I knew this was a story I had to tell, whatever the consequences.”

Honor killings, in which women are murdered for tarnishing their family’s honor, are prevalent throughout the Middle East. In Jordan they account for one-third of all violent deaths, on the order of twenty-five a year. Although they are illegal, the murders are prosecuted leniently in a country where tribal custom and Islamic teachings often hold sway in the courts.

It’s a practice that dates back through the ages, but what’s new about honor killings in Jordan is that women like Lina have started talking about them. Her series of articles about the women in prison, published in the late 1980s in a leading Arabic-language newspaper, attracted a storm of controversy, including a number of death threats. “The subject was a taboo when I started writing about it. At first people were in a state of denial; then they accused me of being un-Jordanian, a whore, an enemy of religion,” she said. “But slowly the truth emerged.”

As Lina discovered, the motivations for the killings vary. Most common, in a culture that prizes a woman’s virginity, is an accusation of sex before marriage, although Lina estimates that in 90% of the cases the victims are virgins.

“In the small communities where honor killings often take place, a rumor that a woman was seen talking to another man is enough to ruin the family’s reputation in the eyes of society,” she said.

Other cases involve rape, often by a member of the family. In the story Lina recounts at the start of the video, the 17-year-girl was raped by a cousin from a nearby farm. After her family’s first attempt to kill her failed, she was taken into police custody. That’s where Lina first met her, during a visit from the girl’s father and son.

“I left the room for a moment with the supervisor, and the next thing we heard was a gunshot, and she was lying on the floor in a pool of blood,” said Lina. “The father and son who did this thought they were upholding the family’s honor, that they were doing the right things according to their customs and their religion.”

As Lina has strived to make clear, honor killings have nothing to do with Islam. “Nowhere in the Koran does it tell you kill women like this. In fact it’s just the opposite: it says that men and women should be treated equally,” she said.

Since her first article ran almost 20 years ago, Lina has dedicated herself to changing these perceptions. Along with women like Rana Husseini, another journalist who has publicized honor killings, and the Jordan Women’s Union, an education center and shelter for abused women, they have broken down the silence that has surrounded the issue.

But there has been no real reduction in honor killings. To achieve that, Lina believes, the law courts must start prosecuting as murderers the men who kill their female family members. Currently, under Article 98 of the Jordanian Penal Code, a man can claim “mitigating circumstances”, and receive a light custodial sentence, Lina said.

“In every murder I’ve investigated, the woman was held to be responsible for the crimes committed against her, even though she was actually the victim,” said Lina, “What we want is equality before the law. Then we will see change.”

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Comments (67)


Zubaira says:
“However, honor killings are not part of Islam in anyway.”

When the so-called “honor killing” is mentioned, Muslim apologists are quick to point out that this is not part of their religious ideology, but more of a pre-Islamic tradition. They claim that, there is no Quranic edict that calls for killing women for opting out of an arranged marriage or refusing to wear a Hijab. Yes, that is true, but there is a plain command to stone an adultering woman. It is a short leap between the two for a mind steeped in a belief that (1) women are men’s property, and (2) are deficient in intelligence and faith; concepts preached in the Muslim Sunna (jurisprudence).

muscat friend:

wow. unbelievable. what is the jordanian royal family doing about this? they should launch an awareness campaign, and promote reconcilliation. my understanding is that most families don't want to kill their daughters- they feel societal pressure to. Rather than try to overturn Islam (as some have suggested and is highly unlikely) why not focus on alternative solutions to this specific problem. Sounds like the police could use some sensitivity training, of the ilk that US police received to deal wiht domestic abuse in the 1970s. As well as strengthening legally women's right to protection. It may take years, but societies and cultures do change. Great report Post Global.


Dear Basat Tayfun,

What was the women situation in islamic Ottoman Empire ?
How many woman professor and businesswoman were there in Ottoman ?
How many woman journalist,doctor or state officers etc. existed in Ottoman ?

What was the *civilized way of living* for women in Ottoman ?
Only and only,Secularism(not desert rules),Human Rights(not *I divorce you* order) and Contemporary Values(not submission and subjugation) can help muslim women.

The Respect is Human Rights,not *Dogs,Donkeys and Women....*
Respect is the Contemporary Values,not *man can scourge woman*
Respect is Justice,not *woman has no right to divorce her master/husbamd)*


By the way the virginty thing is not important. for less than $500 you can get a Chinese hymen implanted with absollutely no problems!!!

Virginity is something of the past!!!!

Basat Tayfun:

"Honor" killings will "fall out of fashion" the moment perpetrators begin to be fully (and consistently) punished, and no sorry excuse of a justification is tolerated.

Take away the "mitigating circumstances" ploy, and men will have to answer for their act of taking a life; a life given by God.

In fact, there should be an additional "aggrevating circumstances" penalty.

If we apply the Kuranic logic used by perpetrators, then we can make an argument for ADDITIONAL punishment (e.g. if murder normally gets 20 years in prison; then inflate it to death by hanging!). After all, these sorry excuses for man use the interpretation of Kuran that requires men to protect women, and women to follow men:

Therefore, "honor killers" are more guilty than the women they are killing by their own logic, as the ones with primary responsibility:

1) For not targeting the man involved with the woman (the accomplice is let go). There is no sin for a woman that does not apply to the man. (Try killing men that talk to women and let the women go for a change! See how men like honor killings then!)

2) For failure to protect the very women they are charged to protect. Where were they when the woman that was committing a "sin"? Where was the protection? Are the men not ultimately responsible for the women, telling her what to do, who to talk to (or not), etc.? Responsibility means accountability.

3) For aggrevating their own "Kuranic" violation by further attacking (and killing) the women they are supposed to be protecting! Killing is not protection; it is not even just punishment.

Enforce penalties as extreme and rigid as the honor killers apply in their dealings, i.e. give them a taste of their own medicine, and you will see a marked drop in honor killings. Make a R-rated example on the order of SAW of each perpetrator and you will see a "funny" decline in "honor" killings.

However, women will not truly be safe until women demand their rights in full, including protection from male-delivered harm; and get it. That will take more than well-deserved punishment. Societies have to be educated about the Kuran and civilized way of living, which by definition implies respect for all of God's Creation.


it seems that the only way to de-criminalize sexual relationships is to do what the iraqi refugees do: have the father/mom be a party to the deal. parents declare they do not approve of their daughter going with a man, however, they justify it as an only way to make a living in Syria. (I heard an NPR report on Iraqi refugees).

To get rid of 'honor killing', the region needs another Bush invasion of the middle east....just kidding....he does not have enough time left to do that.

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:


I swear to you that I would not touch an Indian lady with a hundred metre pole.


Once again we are all reminded about Islam's sick obsession with the penis. There is no other religion that is so focused on sex as Islam. This abnormal and dysfunctional view of sexuality breeds violence against women. But of course, Muslims are only following in the tradition of their prophet the pedophile(PBUH).

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:


Your argumentation is basically OK except for a couple or so of non-sequiturs.

You are correct in stating, in your last sentence : "Muslims should have the same self-awareness to see the flaws in their system, too."

But, the SYSTEM you must no doubt be referring to is "the system of values in many Muslim societies". From there to concluding the statement in your first sentence: "Of course this is about Islam", is a jump in logical reasoning comonly referred to as a non-sequitur -- the conclusion does not follow from the proven premise. In fact, you take the conclusion as your premise. This flawed reasoning leads you to write: " Islam is a very doctrinaire religion that emphasizes rigid concepts like rules,..., conformity."

What kind of society do you propose? Anarchy, without any rules and conformity? Libertarian where might is right?

Zubidah is right that Islam strongly forbids the slighting of anybody's honour, especially women's honour by taking advantage of her emotionality and her vulnerability to her innate caring nature to seduce her and take advantage of her. Unfortunately, when a woman becomes victim of such predatory behaviour, some men wrongly feel guilty that they have not educated their female kin properly or that she has not adhered to the admonitions conscientiously enough. And they over-react. Yes, there is a problem But you indulge in a non-sequitur.


Mohamed Mulleck

there has been one alleged case of satti in sixty years resulting in extensive investigations that suggested it was voluntary and may have been a suicide by a depressed woman.On the other hand,slave markets of central asia were full of slaves,men and women brought by muslim rulers from enemy countries throughout medieval period;a slave dynasty came in existence in india and in egypt(mamluks).so much for honour for women of conquered territories.



I am no champion of religion, and certainly not fanatic Islam. But you really are confusing the issues and obstructing efforts to rally Muslims against extremists. This tribune may make a lot of people feel morally superior. Fine. But allow me to tell you that in Cairo, Casablanca, Tehran, and Jakarta, these kind of misleading messages about Islam are used to discredit those of us (liberals, Western-oriented, moderates or whatever you want to call us) to carry the struggle against fanaticism. Please check your facts and analysis. Don't get distracted from the real issue which is how to reform Islam and move on.


Of course this is about Islam. Every culture has its problems, America most certainly included, and the Muslim world is no exception. Islam is a very doctrinaire religion that emphasizes rigid concepts like rules, subservience, conformity. (Just read the posts below. They're all about what Islam prohibits, or who the scapegoat is, or how you should protect your women, etc. -- not alot of reflection or critical analysis.) It is completely consistent with a conservative Muslim viewpoint to become enraged at a woman's "dishonor" and to react to that condition by eliminating the source of the dishonor. After all, women in conservative Islamic societies cover their bodies not because they necessarily want to, but because the men don't want the temptation of seeing the female form in public. That's an inherently anti-Western concept, and it's basically blaming the victim. As is honor killing.

Again, we have plenty of problems here in the USA. But nobody argues that American culture isn't violent because we have laws prohibiting that sort of stuff. Our gun violence is an intrinsic part of who we are. Muslims should have the same self-awareness to see the flaws in their system, too.


There those who connect honor killings to tribal cultures. These people are very wrong.

No Moslem on this earth would even want to live to the day when he would know that his daughter or sister is seeing a man behind his back.

Prophet Mohammed PBUH said three things are forbidden for Moslems: blood, money and honor(women) of others-Moslems and non-Moslems.

If a man is having an affair with another man's daughter, he is prying on that man's honor.

Certainly, there are men in the Moslem world who have no honor. They are called "Dayooths" and they will be in hellfire as prophet Mohammed PBUH said.

Moslems are very protective of their women and would die defending them. Pure Moslem women know the importance of their honor and would rather die than to let a foreign man touch them.

However, honor killings are not part of Islam in anyway; what happens is that governments in the Moslem world don't do anything to those who attack or even plan to seduce innocent women. They also don't fight the roots of perversion like preventing pornography and prostitution and closing brothels. These roots of evil push young men and women to take the first step in approaching the "Bad Road" of adultery/fornication as Allah the Almighty described it in the Holy Quran.

My words will seem so militant to non-Moslem. But this is who we are, Moslems.

Always, remember that there are always Moslem people who have NO HONOR among us. They are the EXEPTION to the rule.

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:


I absolutely agree with you, Dr. Reed.

As I said above, such crime should be very severely punished because, being committed against our women who are dearest to us, they are done under aggravating circumstances. The victims would have done EVERYTHING to try to please their kin, who are also dearest to them, while keeping their own dignity.

I was watching Hard Talk on BBC yesterday where Dr Zimbardo was grilled by Steven Suckur about his famous Stanford Prisoner experiment showing that each one of us can, under given circumstances, apply the most atrocious torture practices to victims. Dr. Zimbardo explained clearly that, while his experiments did not deny that certain individuals might have a more pronounced propensity to be extremist nor did they rulke out personal responsibility, they did show that the capacity for 'evil' is in each one of us and, more importantly, THE SYSTEM might account for more of the adverse outcomes than personal responsibility.

There is a need to change the SYSTEM. What many commnentators, including Lila Nabil, are getting wrong is that it is not Islam that is THE SYSTEM; it is the transfer into many (but not all --e.g. 'honour killing' is not common in far-eastern Muslim societies -- Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei -- and here is proof irrefutable that the practice is not an inevitable fatality for Muslim societies) Muslim societies of pre-Islamic pratices that are found in other societies as well.

Steven Suckur took Dr Zimbardo to task for the fact that the US military ( which had originally financed Dr Zimbardo's study) had used this study to apply, more effectively than they would otherwise have done, torture to the Abu Ghraib victims. Dr Zimbardo defended himself well in my opinion, along the lines of argumentation as I spelled out above. So, one is as wrong to conclude that Islam is the problem in honour killings as one is wrong to condemn the whole American people for the torture committed in Abu Ghraib.

That much said, I wish that Dr. Zimbardo and Steven Suckur had carried their argumentation to its logical conclusion -- the junior officers at Abu Ghraib are only partly responsible, the system being the 'mitigating circumstance'; however, at higher levels where the implications of Dr. Zimbardo's study could be analysed cool-headedly prior to Abu Ghraib, responsibility is more pronounced and charges of war crimes should be laid. In parallel and eventually, if Ulemas and Mullahs are stubborn in refusing to educate the Muslim societies that 'honour killings' are un-Islamic, THEY should also be charged with crimes against humanity.


There can be no doubt - religion in all its forms is the scourge of man - and woman - kind.

Mysticism and superstition. That's what it is.

There's nothing out there. After and before existence - there is only oblivion.

For better or worse, this is it. Tragic, yes. But still worthwhile and occasionally beautiful.

This is all there is, so we better make the most of it.

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:


You're worse than any 'honour-killer' that one can imagine. Have you heard of 'suttee', related to Hindu widows; have you seen the movie "Water"?

But, i'll let you drown in your Islamophobia.


Second, the problem is not a law here or there. The problem is the entire region is sick - not from Islam but the absence of it. The monarchy rules by oppression and that permeates the society from every authority figure to his/her subjects. Same goes for the region. Does a father or family really have Islamic authority to kill their daughter based on rumors? No. The authority to take life rests with the state.

Ironically, ritewingers here relish the thought of killing millions of Muslims and justify this thought by saying: they only understand violence. Yet Western ritewing and imperial machinations in the Muslim world has reenforced violent dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in order to fulfill their interests, but to the detriment and oppression of the people, thereby perpetuating this myth. AND, Western support for oppressive regimes perpetuates oppression in these societies, including familial oppression of children.

Third, the majority of Jordanians are Palestinian refugees or descendents thereof. And the pathologies of Palestine due to the usurpation and occupation by Israel reaches Jordan in many ways. Again, oppression from Western powers such as Israel on Palestine contributes to sociological oppression.

Simply changing a law doesn't address the larger issues which causes this to occur.

Fourth, "honor" killings nearly always occur among the poor and ignorant, often based on immeasurable irrational conclusions. This requires intervention, education, guidance BEFORE the killing. The resources of Gulf nations used to build artificial islands and skyscraper hotels should be used to educate, counsel, and conflict resolution for families in Jordan. Except the Gulf monarchies are protected by American and French troops.

That's how American and Western imperialism perpetuates the problems in the Muslim world.

Again, where are the statistics on this matter? Like I said, there are over 2600 women killed in America by intimates annually.


Marriage is getting difficult in most of the Moslem world. Jobs and houses are scarce. Young men and women must be very careful about the choices they make.

In Islam, marriage is the only legal relationship between a man and a woman. If a man wants to marry a woman, he will have to go to her parent's house.

Relationships which starts in public places and end up under bridges, parks, or even hotel rooms are doomed to failure.

Most women who meat with men behind their families will eventually have to make some(sacrifices) sexual favors which will be worthless at the end.

So Moslem girls save yourselves and put your families on the top all the time and always know that Allah has the absolute power to give you whatever you wish.

D. Rodriguez:

As I stated in my previous post- Thank God we live in a country where these barbaric, screwhead practices do not occur. Sure, we have murder and rape in the U.S., but it is not accepted and sanctioned as a reaction to a female dishonoring her family. I know that most of the middle east view Western women as harlots and worse. If they had their way, we would be wearing burkas and have the same type of punishment for being a sexual being. Maybe this behavior is not solely "islamic", as I know that many Hindus and other patriarchial societies in third world countries do the same things. BUT, the vast majoirty of muslims are very hung up on what westerners would consider normal sexual mores. They can't understand that women are viewed as independent and their actions and choices are their own. Their culture and religion are very stifling and controlling. I had an Afghan friend who wanted to date and American guy and she had to HIDE it from her family for fear of a beating from her father and brothers. This girl was in her twenties and she had to sneak around like a thief. She wasn't supposed to "date" at all and the fact that the guy wasn't Afghan was just the icing on the cake.
I don't care what religion or ethnic group you belong to- control and violence against women is wrong no matter what! NO ONE should condone this sort of behavior no matter who does it!!!!


I reject secular, Western, American, liberal and ritewing moral and ethical superiority.

Are you going to lobby the Jordanian govt to have the law changed? Are you contacting communities to educate them with your moral standards? Are you even assisting Jordan with the millions of refugees its accepted as a result of your invasion and imperial occupation of Iraq?,

No. You use profound, chronic societal problems to justify your superiority and thus as a pretext for your imperial rule over them "because they can't rule over themselves in a civilized way".

Jordan is indeed a British creation from the Sykes Picot Agreement. And the Hashimi monarchy rules NOT by blood, but by raw steel. The British forces gave the Hashimis weapons, training, instruction, and support; they built their military to defend the monarchy ( much like America built today's Iraqi military). Today, king Abdullah who is loved by the western media rules through his police state. Real people will tell you that Jordanian intelligence are worse now than ever before, fearing revolts and threat to the monarchy.

Jordan continues to be under cultural invasion from secularized Arab hedonism from Lebanon and Egypt. Honor killings are the poor, uneducated, people's way of responding to this. Since Jordan is a poor nation, official GDP of only $15.7 billion, per capita being $4400, and unofficial unemployment between 30-50%, it is too weak to care for its own people and its property is being bought up by rich Iraqis and Lebanese.

What does Islam say about 'honor killing'?

First, its a symptom of a greater problem. If Southeast Washington DC was formed into its own nation separate from the rest of America, all the pathologies which exist in the people would be intensified because of the poor economic and societal state of affairs. But Southeast Washington is part of America and recieves millions in aid.

Jordan should really be part of a larger Muslim state, not serving the Hashimi monarchy and Western interests.

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:

I must denounce in the strongest terms possible those of my well-intentioned Muslim brothers who have posted comments above to find lame excuses for honour killings. It is an undeniable fact that barbaric acts ranging from humiliation inflicted on those female family memebers dearest to us for innocent acts like a teenage girl talking to an unmarried young man to honour killings are a common manifestation, in Islamic societies, of a warped sense of honour. Of course, the practice has no basis in the Quran other than both parties (both the male and the feamle) shoud exercie appropriate modesty. But denying that pre-Islamic Middle-Eastern traditions of 'honour killings' have seeped down in Muslim societies that are not even Arab does a disservice to Quranic teachings. Putting the blame on others is worse. It shows our insecurity.

I submit that legislation in Muslim countries that contain the equivalent of Article 98 of the Jordanian Penal Code, where a man can claim “mitigating circumstances”, and receive a light custodial sentence for honour killings should be amended to read 'aggravating circumstances", making a heavy sentence madatory. It ought to be so because, in all cases the poor victims would have done everything to please the male parent and reassure him that she is doing nothing wrong, but at the same time inist on her freedom and dignity.


Thanks to Fairweather, Nabil and WaPo for keeping the spotlight on this.

Notice how Usama is trying to change the subject, and shift the blame. It's not working.

"Another anti Islam Neo Con propaganda piece."

The motivations of the author, editor and publisher are irrelevant. Either the story is factually accurate, or it's not. Challenge Usama to disprove the message, as opposed to attacking the messenger.

"Jordan does not represent Islam or the implementation of Islam."

And your factual basis for that statement is...what? This is a classic example of the "no true scotsman" fallacy.

This is not about the British, violence against US or Indian women, or any of the other distractions you employee. It's about Muslim violence against women in Jordan today. Period.


Honor killings, suicide bombings, fouling your own nest are always said to be non-Islamic but only Islamists seem to do it. Islam is the problem. No other religion tolerates such evil without speaking up.


Usama says;
“Jordan does not represent Islam or the implementation of Islam. Its a monarchy set up by the British empire.”
Now the blame for the dishonor killings is dumped on the laps of The British. Why? Because THEY had set the Hashemites as rulers of Jordan. The only legitimacy that the Hashemite family has for the Jordan throne is their alleged family ties to their prophet, Muhammad. If it where not for those ties neither Britain nor anyone else could have imposed that dynasty on the Jordanians. It is true that there is no verse in the Quran that direcly incites the so-called “honor killing" but the whole thesis of the Muslim religion is the denigration of women, by accusing them of being the source of al evil


Usama says;
“Jordan does not represent Islam or the implementation of Islam. Its a monarchy set up by the British empire.”
Now the blame for the dishonor killings is dumped on the laps of The British. Why? Because THEY had set the Hashemites as rulers of Jordan. The only legitimacy that the Hashemite family hs for the Jordan thrown is their alleged family ties to their prophet, Muhammad. If it where not for those ties neither Britain nor anyone else could have imposed that dynasty on the Jordanians. It is true that there is no direct verse in the Quran that incites the so-called “honor killing" but the whole thesis of the Muslim religion is the denigration of women, by accusing them of being the source of all evil.


A good point Usama, I'm glad you raised it but only because it allows me to point out your backward thinking. Many American women are murdered every year. However, in the US we think this is a very bad thing. These murderers are punished. The point about honor killings is that they are at least somewhat socially acceptable in certain countries and are therefore punished lightly - if at all.

We also don't punish rape victims. We recognize that women who have been raped are not at fault and the person to be punished is the rapist. Whereas in Islamic countries, the rapist is rarely punished, only his victim receives punishment, often death.


Another anti Islam Neo Con propaganda piece.
Jordan does not represent Islam or the implementation of Islam. Its a monarchy set up by the British empire.
The European empires used these types of societal problems to justify their invasions and colonization. Except Jordan is not an Islamic state. Its the king's personal playground where he forces people to do as he wishes or lets them rot as he wishes.

How many women die this way?

Because according to the FBI, there are over 2600 women killed in America each year by 'intimate partners', which include husbands, boyfriends, lesbian partners, former husbands and boyfriends, and family members. BBrazil too has a high murder rate of women. And its been mentioned that India stats on murdered women dwarfs this entire topic.

Marc Edward:

I would point out that in the USA, it's been known to happen that a murderer is set free with a light sentence if his victim was a cheating spouse or the person that spouse cheated with.
(dis)Honor killings seem to stem from people being very backwards (see "traditional"). Even the Christians pretend that Mary remained virginal after she gave birth to Jesus and his BROTHERS. It just goes to show the worthlessness of "traditions" and "traditional values".

Mark W.:

I suppose I have a strong reaction to oppression, whether that source of oppression is the church, state or authority figures. I think that our Founding Fathers here in America realized that real freedom or true freedom means that each person has inalienable rights to choose their own path. These founding idealists were not so perfect and the struggle to gain and practice civil rights lives on today.

Suppose that our society did have the freedom to choose an invasion of Iraq through a representive form of democracy. Recently, a Legislator said that if it was known that Iraq did not possess wmds, a button to press would not have been given to the President of the United States. Perhaps that choice has gone full circle now to those presenting the evidence against an "evil dictator possessing weapons of mass destruction" then add, "He gassed his own people" and show him in full military garb shooting a rifle into the air. With hindsight, the freedom to choose an enemy was taken away from Legislators representing the people, and that right is supposed to be protected under the Constitution of the United States.

Now really, what does that have to do with honor killings ? In America, a lessor form of strict religious norms exists today. Certain religions still try to prevent marraige outside their own religious practice. Civil marraiges allow couples to enter into the institution of marraige outside the Church. And for the most part, civil unions follow commonly held norms of society. Those rights are held on a State level. And yet we do have certain segments of our own population which are advocates from local to federal level still trying to define and impart their own beliefs onto our society at large when it comes to the definition of holy matrimony. Ignoring separation of church and state as well as separation of powers to include state rights, certain inviduals and bodies of individuals try to mandate specific ethical and morals. I suggest civil rights leaves personal unions to individuals themselves.

Here in America, I would be ashamed of any party of government that prevents a union of two people. I would frown on any church not recognizing the desire for two people to wed comes through the power of love. I will not be so ignorant or arrogant to assume I know anything about arab society suffice to say, death seems to be a strong sentence for practicing love.

In the end, all parents must learn to realize that they don't really own their offspring. And we must all realize that people must be free to make their own choices even if those choices do not turn out so good. My button is that oppressors of our modern society are still trying to play the Rule of God or whatever one conceives as a power greater than themselves.

M Karayol:


We must change this hadith. We, in Turkey, are changing many Islamic rules. We live in a modernized society. I know a Turkish Sunii Moslem Girl who is married to a Christian American. They live in Saudi near Mecca.She makes Umre all the time.

If Boys and Girls love each other then they should do whatever pleases them.Who knows may the sinful relationship will turn into a legal one after the couple make Tavbe-repent- of course!


Palaver and Reality.

To those who advocate *two plus two makes five/The cult of desert/submission*

Iranian woman journalist Nasren Afzali,who claims *man-woman equality* in Iran,has been sentenced to 10 lashes by whip and six months in prison in ISLAMİC Republic Iran.

Absolute Reality.
Woman in islam is second class(even third) citizen and can not open her mouth,others are cotton princess tales(if you believe).


I see Asim and his Islamic-fascists do not like the so called Zionist thugs. But Zionist thugs re not committing honour killings Asim et al. Pleasetick to the subject.


As Mr.Kachan pointed out, there are too many dowry deaths taking plance in India where poor hapless young girls are burned to death by husband and in-laws for bringing not enough dowry. It is mostly in those who are traditionally business communities where marriage and dowry is just another business deal. Not that it is not there in other communities. There are instances of even educated civil servents accused of such heinous crimes. Such deaths are never treated as wilful gruesome murder and most of the times culprits escapes the clutches of law with some light punishments. Various women's forums make noise but for no avail. The only thing is that nobody quotes Gita for this murder.
Not that this aspect justifies the honour killings . It is equally heinous and should be dealt with exemplary punishments.
Wilful murder should treated as such and should be dealt accordingly.


Aggggggh enough about Islam. There are enough Hindu "kitchen accidents" in India to put majority Muslim countries to shame!

Adam :

Interesting to see all this unconvincing Muslim self-righteousness with regard to 'honor-killing' murders. If Islamic law is so just and religion so intent on peace and justice, why do they allow these allegedly Islamically illegal murders to continue? Furthermore, what about the large numbers of 'honor killings' having to do with homosexuality? That topic is avoided in most accounts, but according to some researchers, it constitutes a large percentage of all 'honor killing' murders.

While helping to research a 2006 documentary about Jerusalem's one gay bar at that time (since closed), I learned first hand of the constant threat of beatings, maiming, and death which local Palestinian gays and lesbians suffered -- from their own families as well as local Islamic enforcement groups. Bodies turn up with shocking regularity in the Palestinian Authority zones as the product of these vicious 'honor killing' murders. One young Palestinian man assisting with the documentary who hadn't been killed by his own family (his father was deceased or gone, and his mother still loved him) had his family's house firebombed by the local Islamic enforcement brigade, who told him either he married a woman, went into exile, or he himself 'would be next.' The Palestinian Authority neither investigates nor brings to justice such 'honor killing' murders, consistent with so many governments in Islamic lands.

At least in Israel such murders are investigated and, when sufficient evidence is available, punished. While it reduces their prevalance, it still hasn't stopped them. There is a growing diaspora of LGBT Palestinians and Arabs around the world, fleeing such monstrous plights from their own peoples. Tel Aviv has a growing population of LGBT refugees from the Palestinian lands, escaping for their lives, some with official Israeli approval, many without.

While some interpretations of Islam, perhaps all, seem to discourage such 'honor killing' murders, such laws seem rarely enforced. It certainly makes me wonder about similar claims that Islam doesn't accept terrorist behavior either as part of Jihad. Or tolerance of other religions? Perhaps some believe that, but where are such opinions really practiced? And how long will such tolerant Islamic societies and opinions hold out against the rising tide of fundamentalism, Wahaabism?


Asim: Sorry my friend, you are wrong, dowries do exist today, even if it is old fashioned. My close friend's father and mother requested one in case of divorce...she is from Iran, a college educated woman who had a job before marriage. There was a huge fight over the $ and the wedding was almost called off. I saw this back and forth exchange take place. I can have her email you directly, sounds like you do not understand that some traditions hang on...whether we understand them or not.


As I understand the "honor killings" and the stoning to death of women who are unfaithful to their husbands or have sex before their marriage, it has to do, not with "honor", but rather a matter of tribal purity and inheritance. There was never a way of establishing the parents of a person, except that the person be witnessed as born to a particular mother, and the assurance that the mother had sex with no one except her husband. To this day, I believe, in order to be a citizen of Israel, you must prove that your mother is Jewish, without regard to whom you think your father is.

Asim, San Antonio:

Kara Reed:
With all due respect you are way off the mark:
What dowry?? Thou this a right for a women-it is essentially a relic of the past-and it never caused killings in the past or the present.

On inhertince:a Muslim women be she a mother,sister,daughter etc...has a full right to be finacially supported by her son,brother,father,husband or clsoest male relative and such right is enforced before an Islamic court;over and above she gets half of what a male gets when it comes to inheritnec because he supports her.However with the advent of modernity where millions of Muslim women get eduacted and become economically independt,a male supporter can in his life time give his male and female depnedents equal share while he is alive-in a written well.

If a woman choose to stay dependent on a man then she gets half of what her care taker gets.

This is an opinion and not a fetwa-as am not qulaified to give a fatwa but this what I would do with family-males and females.

Asim, San Antonio:

U said it succinctly when u said:"Prophet Mohammed PBUH said that if men are chaste their women will be chaste."
Do our Muslim women commit adultry with themselves?? Where the hell are these men-partners to take responsibility?? OK "honor killings" are not Islamic nor are they judged by islamic law;if the tribilists are so hot minded and have any honor and courage,why do not they go after the men who insulted their honor-or is it easier to go after the weaker party-women.

Does our Arab values and mores of chivlary,courage and manhood say that we go after the women in case a proof is there and leave the HERO man??
It is mind boggling:not only does this go against Islam but even against the great values of true Arab desert values.

Kara Reed:

BB: As other posters have said these acts of violence do happen in India and other countries outside the Middle East. Though it may be due to disputes, such as a dowry, or the husband's family feeling superior to the bride's. I am familiar with Middle Eastern culture from close friends, I think branding these horrific acts as "Islamic" is simplistic. It goes far deeper than that, to the core value of women in their society and their lack of everyday freedom. Many women in the Middle East are forbidden from driving, having jobs and cannot go out without a family chaperone if they are unmarried.

For insight into how women are treated in Iran, read Persian Mirrors an excellent book. Women receive less inheritance than their brothers because they are female, divorce/custody laws favor is the LAW. Many women stay in unhappy marriages because they are afraid of losing their kids.

Asim, San Antonio:

1))While one lost life is too many-am appaled that is subject is brought up while no body is doing any thing about iraqi,palestinian or somali women.One millions iraqis are dead so far-half of them are women;four million iraqis are refugees-half are women.thousands of palestinian women are widows or incracserated in nazi like israeli jails;somali women endure conditions of untold suffering and agony-esepcially in the somali province of Ogaden occupied by ethiopia since 1956 where thousands of somali women are raped by ethiopian soldiers in front of their families to humilaite them.

Should not we all be concerned about all this.

2)) Honor killings have absolutely nothing to do with Islam:believing men and women are unequivocally equal according to the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.There had never ever been a single so called honor killing during the reign of the Prophet.
Men and women who commit adultry are treated equally before the Shariah-islamic law;four witnesses are required to testify before an islamic court that they have physcially witnessed a man or women committing adultry-that is cathing them in the act-in which case the court will deal with the situtaion.

3)) Honor killings are strictly tribal and have gained social acceptance,thou, as indicated in the article are mostly effected without evidence against females and not males-which flies in fcae of logic and HONOR.I would claim that such killings occur more in families of modest socio-economic backgorunds than in well off families.

4)) Were such socities to adhere to Islamic law,such killings would vanish or nearly disappear.Saudi Arabia lives such a facade:it selectively applies parts of Shariah except the most imporatnt aspect:Islamic Government.Saudi is owned and operated by a tribe of ten thousand "amirs"of the saudi dynasty which treats the country as a piece of real esate-so Muslims are deeply offended when western media label saudi as an islmaic state-nothing is farther from the truth,observe the hundreds of millions of dollars plunderd by "prince" bandar while his next door somali muslims pick the trash cans for food.

5)hirsi ali should never be brought into this subject-she is not a qualified witness.


I've seen those on this group linking this to Islam, and others saying it has nothing to do with Islam. I'd be interested in an analysis. Is this practice related to Islam specifically or related to tribalism and a lack of modern (or is it Western?) approach to women and justice? Or is it related to the emphasis on family honor (probably linked with the rest)? Does this happen as often in non-Muslim Asian or Latin American countries where family honor is valued so highly? The latter would suggest it's about tribalism and the value of family honor, rather than Islam per se. But my guess is that mores regarding sex, which are usually linked to religion, play a role here. Again, that is not specific to Islam, and we should find it in more tribalistic and honor-centered Christian communities in Latin America.

Phil Parf:

Honor killing is definitely Islamic. Just look at the demographics. It's undeniable. Also, ask yourself: What could Islam possibly be teaching these people if they think killing raped girls is honorable? There's no sense in pointing to scripture - anyone can support any proposition that feel like. Instead, judge the tree by the fruit. The fruit of Islam is rotten to the core.

Kara Reid :

This is not an Islamic issue, please do not get into that rant. I have a friend who fled an arranged marriage due to verbal and physical abuse on the part of her husband, brother-in-law and the very worse offender, her mother-in-law. This older woman took every opportunity to humiliate and dominate her. This happened in the U.S., among educated people. My friend is hiding abroad under an assumed name. She is not Muslim, not Middle Eastern. This is a cultural practice embraced by some, not a religous one.


Prophet Mohammed PBUH said that if men are chaste their women will be chaste. In most of Moslem countries, some young men try to get an affair witn young women for the intention of showing off. those young men don't care that they are playing with other people's honor.

They hang out with other people's girls and then they find out their sisters- or wives,daughters,..etc- are hanging out with other guys. Suddenly, thier blood boils and then the honor thing takes place.

Those stupid young men never read this hadith.

Playing with other people's honor, Moslems or not, is a very serious crime in Islam.



I think that being caught up in this sort of violence should be considered the same as being persecuted for political beliefs. And if foreigners can get political asylum for suffering political persecution, shouldn't these women and girls be allowed to seek asylum based on gender persecution? Or something like that?


Not related to Islam- then why does it happen so often in Muslim societies. Saudi Arabia-the birthplace of the prophet- is notorious for treatment of its women.

Islam has also influenced Indian society where women are often killed in dowry incidents, female infanticide etc.


What Amir Jafri is saying is absolutely correct. Honor killing is in no way an Islamic practice. While we should of course open our eyes to this horrible practice, to encourage the idea that honor killing is a sanctioned Islamic teaching is ignorant and wrong. We should not make the mistake of tacitly condemning a whole religion because of the way a few members acted.


I love all the people bashing Islam for this. I'm not Muslim, and I am quick to mention that people of other faiths partake in this idiotic behavior. Honor killings, as well as female genital mutilation and domestic abuse, are all pre-Islamic.

The better way to combat this is with strict prison sentences, education campaigns, etc. Blaming religions won't help; it will only make people angry!


crarie ann:

"Palestinine" (sic) genocide? And I thought their numbers were exploding. Of course you didn't know that. Poor Palis. God knows they have no role whatsoever in their misery.
How boring and tedious that you link everything to Israel. I feel bad for your friends and family.


welcome to the peace hat is islam


I am horrified, but this is something we can stop. Why not launch a delegation from NOW to Jordan and Riyadh with the express purpose of interviewing Jordanian and Saudi men about what exactly they are so afraid of, with women making basic human choices? Why not provide You Tube video of each interaction, starting with the visa requests at the embassies.

To JW:

To JW:
Ayan Hirsi Ali will say whatever makes Muslims seem EVIL, and whatever helps her neocon friends the engineers of the AE of the war on Iraq justifie their acts. If you believe Hirsi Ali is a good source, then you don't realy understand what's realy her job.


It may or may not state it in the Koran, but how many Islamic countries have this and so many other issues with women and children's rights? In most Islamic nations, women and children are viewed as a man's property, to be done with as he sees fit. It is sickening and shameful. It is all over Africa and the middle east. If these people treat their OWN people this way, IMAGINE what they would do to us if they had the opportunity. I shudder to think. And people wonder why we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Years from now, our unfortunate ancestors may wonder why we didn't do more to protect western civilization from this scourge. People, wake up! It could happen here!!!!!!

CAC in Takoma Park:

And in the US, we have a cult in Texas "marrying" little girls to old men to be raped and used as baby machines, never to be given a chance at education or to make choices about the direction of their own lives. Some fundamentalist "Christian" beliefs in this country aren't much more progressive.

salim :

I was born in Jordan and went abroad to college in 1957 at the age of 16 never to return except for the occasional visit. I have been in these United States since 1964 and been a citizen since 1977. Yes I heard about "honor killing" in Jordan and I do believe it does occur. The figure that is quoted here ( about 25 every year) is probably accurate. One honor killing is one too many. I want the readers of this blog to know that honor killing has nothing to do with Islam and every thing to do with the evil desire of men to control their women in all societies. Despite what my fellow citizens hear daily on their TV Islam prohibits this and the penalty of any killing including honor killing is death. Before Islam came to Saudi Arabia in the 7th century, infanticide of female children was practiced by some of the tribes there. That stopped immediatly when those who practiced this evil act recieved the eye for an eye punishment. If the Jordanian government does punish the perpetrators of these crimes similarly I am certain this cowardly act of honor killing will be stopped.


to Dr.Annette Reed:
"This female-destruction is horrible, vicious, criminal behavior. Men who do it should be put in prision for life. This kind of culture is totally unacceptable in America"

It is NOT unacceptable in America - 1 in 3 women in America will experience domestic or sexual violence in her lifetime. As long as there are men anywhere who believe that they should have power over women, these sorts of behavior will continue.


It's good to see this subject getting more ink. Unfortunately our government will be ZERO help politically on the matter because of our national oil addiction. Any institutionalized atrocity is okay with us until you threaten to raise our oil prices. Think about that the next time you complain about prices at the pump. They are actually being kept lower than they otherwise would be in return for our tacit complicity in these human rights violations.


Ms. Nabil is a very brave person for pursuing justice and an end to these "honor" killings. I am glad to see the coverage in the Post of this important issue.

Amir Jafri:

I submitted my dissertation (Honor killing: A hermeneutic study of various discourses)to the graduate faculty of the Departement of Communication, University of Oklahoma in 2003, for the fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy.

At the hazard of seeming like hawking my wares, let me add for those who may be interested in understanding the phenomenon rather than indulging in anecdotal, sentimental, and often ad hominem attacks on cultures and social systems that the book (titled: Honour Killing: Dilemma; Ritual; Understanding.), being published by Oxford University Press.

In the hermeneutic study I demonstrate that Islam is an egalitarian and peaceful religion, and has absolutely no place in its guiding ethos for any thing like killing in the name of honor. That some Muslims also indulge in honor killing does not mean they are following the Islamic code.

Honor killing is one form of extreme violence perpetrated on women by men. It most commonly is a premeditated killing of a girl or a woman, committed by he brother, father, or combination of male agnates in the name of restoring what they consider their family's honor.

A large number or honor killings are reported from Mediteranean, Latin, American, and certain Muslim societies, but research suggests that it will be in error to view it as being peculiar to one geographical area or belief system.

(If you are still interested in reading more about it going over to may not be a bad idea :-))


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who became a member of parliament in the Netherlands before going into hiding due to death threats for dishonoring Islam, claims in her book, Infidel, that honor killings and other means of mistreating women are indeed supported by the Koran. Lina claims that the Koran supports treating women & men equally. I'm sure there's room for interpretation when reading the Koran, but these two viewpoints seem too distant to be based on the same text.

crarie ann:

Glad to see this story being done, this subject addressed.

Now, the more important story, in horror and numbers:

Let's see a story on the children and innocent civilians who suffer the Palestinine
genocide. Some numbers and details.

HhHAHAH In the Washington Post?


More Islamic women and men must speak out about this. It is not for non-Islamics to speak of this type of murder as stated in the article it is throughout the Middle East. The silence from Islamic men tells all that they agree with this cowardly treatment of women. Why are Islamic men so fearful of women that they feel they have to keep them so down-trodden. Islamic men appear very weak and cowardly to me.


This is why some Jordanian women leave their families never to return. It's a matter of life and death for them. What a shame. Wake up Jordan to this cruel antiqated belief.Thank god i was born in the USA.

Dr.Annette Reed:

That the word "honor" is in any way connected to cold blooded pre-meditated murder is an oxymoron. This female-destruction is horrible, vicious, criminal behavior. Men who do it should be put in prision for life. This kind of culture is totally unacceptable in America, and we should forbid them to enter this country. Send the victims, the women, here for help.

Annie Laurie:

Thank you Lina for your courage and grace in helping these women. It is tragic how blind people can be, especially when it comes to their own stupidity and cruelty. These violent family members belong in jail for harming their girls emotionally and physically.


This is absolutely horrific.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.