Brigitte Gabriel: FGM and Honor Killings Downplayed Because ‘Islamists Have Perfected the Public Relations War’

AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, June 7, 2017:

Brigitte Gabriel, president ofACT for America and author of They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, was a guest on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam.

Kassam asked Gabriel to expand on the article she wrote for Breitbart News on Monday, “The War on Girls.” The piece includes the harrowing account of a 16-year-old girl stabbed to death by her Palestinian father in a 1989 honor killing. A recording made of the incident captures the girl screaming and begging for her life while both father and mother order her to die quickly and quietly. The murder occurred not in the Middle East, but in Missouri; the girl was killed because her father thought she had become too “Americanized.”

“This is ‘honorable’ in Islamic societies, unfortunately, in many places around the world,” Gabriel said. “It is so sad that we in the West are starting to see such a rise in honor killings due to the rise of Islamic immigration into our countries.”

“I believe it is our duty to stand up for girls who are born in America, or England, or anywhere else in the world because they are Western girls,” she urged. “They want to adopt Western lives. They want to wear makeup. They want to get a job. They want to be able to drive a car and get out of the house with their friends to a coffee shop. But these are the sins that in some cases parents are killing their daughters for. That’s why this killed Tina, his daughter, because she got a job, she wanted to wear makeup, and he thought she was becoming too Westernized.”

Gabriel noted that in Europe, in 2004, “all European police associations held a meeting at the Hague to discuss the rise of honor killing in Europe.”

“The situation has gotten worse,” she said. “I know that in 2005, in London, in England, the British police reopened 1500 cases where originally they had thought it was just killing, just murder. 1500 cases were all reopened because they believed they were all honor killings, and the situation has just gotten worse.”

Kassam asked why the political Left seems to believe the defense of Islam takes priority over “the rights, and freedoms, and liberties, and lives of young women.”

“This is the perplexing question that we all are asking, and trying to figure out,” Gabriel replied. “I can understand why they’re not going to line up and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t think we need to stop immigration, or we should be able to welcome refugees,’ et cetera. That’s fine. But when it comes to women’s rights, when it comes to genitally mutilating young girls – as young as six or seven years old – when it comes to killing women in the name of honor, you would think that the women’s movement at least would stand with us shoulder-to-shoulder to say this is not acceptable.”

“These are young girls – in the case of female genital mutilation, you are literally damaging the girl’s life for the rest of her life until the day she dies. The psychological effects, the medical effects, for years and years of misery to come. But they are not doing it,” she observed.

Gabriel suggested this was because “in order for them to admit that we’ve got to stand up for this, they’re going to have to shine the light or put the cause of this under the microscope.”

“People say well, it’s cultural. I say to them, if it is cultural – honor killing or female genital mutilation – how come we do not see Jews from North Africa or the Middle East genitally mutilating their daughters, or killing their daughter in the name of honor? How come we don’t see Christians from North Africa and the Middle East genitally mutilating their daughters or killing their daughters?” she said.

“The statistics speak for themselves. This is done almost 99 percent on Muslims by Muslims. It’s an Islamic practice, sanctioned in the Islamic code, for an Islamic religion,” she declared.

“For the lefties to basically say, ‘We need to stop this, what is causing this?’ to march against it will be literally standing up against and having to shine a light on the cause du jour for them, which is the Islamic cause, because they feel that Muslims are the underdog, and the oppressed, and we need to stand for them,” said Gabriel.

“What they call the right wing, or what they call wealthy business owners, they’re not poor. In the minds of the Left, you’ve got to be poor and downtrodden in order for you to be worthy of standing up for. This is why they are siding with the Islamic side instead of us,” she said.

Kassam suggested the Left pay attention to “the hard data that there is one case of female genital mutilation reported every hour in the United Kingdom,” and between 12 and 15 honor killings in the U.K. just last year. He said they should also be disturbed by the difficulty of obtaining solid numbers about such incidents in the United States.

Gabriel said the Left refuses to understand the problem, in part because “the Islamists in our countries, whether in Europe or whether in the United States, have perfected the public relations war.”

“They have perfected manipulating the media, which was already halfway there because, because as you know the Saudis and all the other money flowing from the Middle East into our universities has done an incredible job in brainwashing students in our political science departments and Middle East studies departments. By the time they graduate, they’re completely lock, stock, and barrel bought into the Islamic propaganda machine and ideas. They are today the news anchors, the news writers, the newsmakers, the policy shapers, the foreign policy makers. That’s why we’re seeing the attitudes and the resistance we’re seeing right now to our messages,” she said.

“However, we don’t have to stand back and wonder and watch them demonstrate, with us sitting on the sidelines talking about it and wondering why they’re doing this. We are organizing on our own. I can tell you that we in America, my organization ActForAmerica.org, this Saturday in just three days we are having rallies nationwide in the United States, in 29 major cities across the country, in 21 states,” Gabriel announced.

She said participants would “march against sharia, march for human rights, march for national security.”

“People can go to our website, ActForAmerica.org, click on ‘March Against Sharia,’ and find a rally near you,” she said. “We are the resistance movement that Europe did not have. America is not going to roll over and let the Islamists walk all over us, like what they have done in Europe. Here we are very organized, we are very passionate. We stand strongly behind our Second Amendment right, and we will defend ourselves.”

“We are applying pressure on our elected officials to do the right thing,” she added. “We have passed laws stopping sharia law from being instituted in many states in America. We have a bill called ALAC, American Love for American Courts, which has now passed in 12 states and is now introduced in another 10.”

***

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, ACT for America is having March Against Sharia events in cities across the nation.

Also see:

Trump’s New Immigration Order Creates Database of Honor Killings

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

PJ MEDIA, BY ROBERT SPENCER, MARCH 7, 2017:

President Trump’s new executive order on immigration calls for the establishment of a public database of honor killings, which are defined as “gender-based violence against women … in the United States by foreign nationals.”

This is an extraordinary first step towards protecting Americans not just from jihad massacres, but from the cultural encroachments of a societal system that institutionalizes discrimination against women, non-Muslims, gays, and others.

Predictably, the Left hates it. They have steadfastly refused to notice anything about Sharia that is oppressive or destructive to the human spirit.

Jeva Lange writes in The Week:

Alleged “honor killings” are a major concern of opponents of the U.S. refugee programs, although supporters of refugee programs say the language demonizes Muslims and that there is insufficient evidence of such killings by refugees in the United States.

“Demonizes Muslims”? This is just more Leftist hysteria. In reality, the new version of the immigration ban maintains that the first version was “not motivated by animus toward any religion,” and doesn’t associate honor killings with Islam. Lange is concerned, however, about comments from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the target of the Leftist establishment’s latest attempt to demonize and destroy members of the Trump team:

[Sessions] has expressed concern about honor killings in the past, such as in a 2016 discussion with a State Department official.

In that discussion, Sessions noted:

Twenty-seven people were killed in the United States for honor killings according to a DOJ report.

Obama State Department official Simon Henshaw replied:

I have no evidence that there were any honor killings among the refugee population resettled in the U.S., sir.

Sessions:

Well, it’s from the same cultural background, I would say.

Lange then quoted Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates claiming that while Sessions was in the Senate, he was:

 … one of the most, if not the most, anti-immigrant senator in the U.S. Senate. … He has a long record of demonizing non-white immigrants, especially Muslim and Latino immigrants.

While making these utterly baseless charges that Sessions is a racist, Khera was apparently silent about the reality of honor killing. (Lange doesn’t mention the fact that it was Khera who wrote to John Brennan in 2011 demanding that all mentions of Islam and jihad be removed from counterterror training materials. Brennan immediately complied.) Was Sessions correct when he noted that immigrants “from the same cultural background” as those who have committed honor killings in the U.S. might share a positive view of the practice, and even resort to it themselves in extreme circumstances?

To answer that question, it is useful to know that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide — and they do so with justification for their actions in Islamic law.

A manual of Sharia which was certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that:

[R]etaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.

However:

[N]ot subject to retaliation [is] a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring. ( Reliance of the Traveller o1.1-2).

Someone who kills his or her child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. And this is not just some legal abstraction — it is incorporated into present-day law in many Islamic countries:

The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders.

Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, but there is no change yet.

Syria, in 2009, scrapped a law limiting sentences for honor killings. However:

“[T]he 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.’”

In 2003, the Jordanian Parliament voted down, on Islamic grounds, a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported:

“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. The Palestinian Authority, Iraq, and Jordan are not named in the ban, but the countries that are named share this “cultural background.”

Trump is right to protect women from this scourge.

Will another Leftist court, acting in the name of “tolerance” and “multiculturalism,” find it somehow unconstitutional to protect women in this way?

Honor Killings Are Lawful in Islamic Sharia

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Aug. 18, 2016:

While Muslim leaders and apologists continue to publicly tell the media and others Islam does not sanction honor killings, the truth is, Islam does.

The most common rebuttal heard from Muslims in the media is that the term “honor killing” is not found in the Koran nor any hadith (records of the actions and sayings of Islam’s prophet Mohammad).

This is true.

honor killing

The phrase “honor killing” won’t be found in the Koran nor in any Sunnah of the Islamic prophet Mohammad.  The authority for a parent to kill their children or grandchildren for any reason they see fit, however, is found in the sharia (Islamic law), and does come from the Koran and Sunnah of Mohammad.

The Reliance of the Traveller, authoritative Islamic sharia certified by Al-Azhar in Egypt – the highest authority of Islamic jurisprudence on the planet- and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Fiqh Council of North America, states:  “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.”  It goes on to say those “not subject to retaliation” includes “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, Book O Justice, o1.1-2).

This means, in Islam it is okay for a mother and/or father to kill their children or grandchildren with no legal consequences.

This is done when children or family members “dishonor” the family, thus it is called an “honor killing.”

So, even though “honor killing” is not found in the Koran or Sunnah, the authority to do it is.

Some examples in the United States include:

In April 2004 a Turkish Muslim killed his four year old daughter in Scottsville, New York because she was “sullied” by a gynecological exam.

In 2006 a Somali Muslim in Kentucky brutally killed his four children and raped his wife because he suspected her of infidelity.

In January 2008 an Egyptian Muslim shot and killed his two daughters in Irving, Texas.  The girls great aunt told reporters they were “honor killings.”

In July 2008, a Pakistani Muslim in Atlanta, Georgia killed his daughter because she did not want to go through with an arranged marriage.

In October 2009, an Iraqi Muslim from Arizona drove over his daughter for being too Westernized.  She died two weeks later and he was convicted of her murder.

In October 2009, a Muslim woman in New Brighton, New York tried to kill her husband by slitting his throat because he was not “muslim enough.”

The Department of Justice reports there are approximately 27 honor killings in the U.S. each year.

Pakistani Muslim Muzzimmil Hassan founded Bridges TV in Buffalo, New York as the first Muslim American network broadcasting in English.  Bridges TV was established to counter negative stereotypes of Muslim.  Muzzimmil Hassan (a close friend of Nihad Awad of CAIR) personally demonstrated his “moderation” by sawing his wife’s head off.  In March of 2011, Hassan was sentenced to 25 years in prison for this heinous crime.

All lawful under sharia.

How academia whitewashes Muslim honor killings

Former TV executive Muzzammil Hassan was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2011 for the beheading of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, in an apparent honor killing. Photo: AP

Former TV executive Muzzammil Hassan was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2011 for the beheading of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, in an apparent honor killing. Photo: AP

New York Post, by Phyllis Chesler, February 22, 2016:

The whitewashing of Muslim honor killings in America has seeped into academia. And the PC police have found a new scapegoat: Hindu Americans.

In January, the Journal of Family Violence published “An Exploratory Study of Honor Crimes in the United States” by Brittany E. Hayes, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven M. Chermak. It was an act of cowardice as well as a shoddy piece of research. It broke absolutely no new ground, either theoretically or statistically, and is so “politically correct” that it completely misses an entire forest for a tree.

The study’s first error consists of comparing violence against women in general with femicide. Being battered is not the same as being murdered.

A classic honor killing is a family conspiracy mainly against a young daughter; fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins — sometimes even grandfathers — may join in. Westerners don’t often kill their teenage daughters.

The reason Hayes et al. place honor killings within the broader context of “violence against women” is clear. They don’t want to be accused of “Islamophobia” or of targeting any ethnic or religious group.

They don’t tell us the names of any of the 16 honor-killing perpetrators or the names of their victims. The phrase “Muslim perpetrator” and “Muslim honor killing” appear nowhere. In 10,000 words, only 14 are related to “Islam,” “Muslims,” “Arabs” or “Middle Easterners.”

Three times, Hayes et al. rail against “Western media coverage.” They write: “Significantly, media reporters in the United States may be more inclined to cover honor crimes, especially those committed by Middle Easterners, compared to other fatal crimes because they may be perceived as more ‘exotic’ and news worthy.” They insist, “Reporters may search for an honor crime angle when the victim and/or offender are of a particular ethnicity or religion . . . there is a need to study honor crimes in the United States that involve victims and perpetrators from other cultures, like India, or extremist ideologies.”

Wrong.

The New York Times, for example, has published a series of articles on Hindu honor killings in India and has published very few articles about Muslim honor killings in the United States, in North America or in Europe.

These authors seem not to be familiar with the 2012 study which compared Hindu honor killings in India with Muslim honor killings in Pakistan and Hindu versus Muslim honor killings worldwide. Hindus absolutely do perpetrate honor killings (and some of them are quite gruesome), but they do so mainly in India; they don’t bring the custom with them when they emigrate to the West. (Or those who emigrate are not honor-killing tribalists.) That is why one cannot study them here.

Also, many honor killings in India are perpetrated by Muslims as well as by Hindus.

That study showed that most Hindu honor killings are caste-related and that Muslim honor killings are triggered by many more reasons, e.g., girls have been killed for looking at a boy, allowing their veil to slip, being seen without their veil, refusing to marry their first cousin, insisting on divorcing their first cousin, developing non-Muslim friends, having a non-Muslim boyfriend, being suspected of having an affair, wanting a higher education, etc.

Ironically, this comparison of Hindu and Muslim honor killings actually supports a politically correct view: The origin of honor killings probably resides in shame-and-honor tribalism, not necessarily in a particular religion. I don’t understand why other scholars have not yet absorbed this point.

The Koran does not command that a woman be honor-killed. It does, however, demand male and female “modesty” and female “obedience,” and it allows husbands to physically chastise wives. Perhaps extreme misogynists have allowed superstitious and illiterate people to believe that committing intimate family femicide is religiously sanctioned.

Neither Islam nor Hinduism, as religious institutions, has worked very hard to abolish honor killing. The Indian Hindu government has tried to do so. The Pakistani government has not.

Nevertheless, Hayes, Freilich and Chermak bend over backward not to single out any one ethnicity, religion or nationality — except, perhaps, India.

Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology, author of four studies about honor killing and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Documentary Exposes Islamic Abuse of Women

honor-diaries

Religious Freedom Coalition, By Andrew Harrod, PhD. June 1, 2015:

“Women under the Islamic rules” are “slaves to a dictatorial, theocratic regime that does not consider them human,” states Iranian-American women’s rights activist Manda Zand Ervin in the documentary Honor Diaries.  While Ervin decries that “Muslim women are being ignored” in their plight “by the whole world,” Honor Diaries, now entering an international screening campaign, gives voice to these often overlooked victims.

Jasvinder Sanghera, a British Sikh woman, opens the film with her personal history and indicates thereby that misogyny worldwide originates not just in Islamic culture.  At age 14, her family kept her home for weeks until she agreed to a marriage already arranged when she was eight, similar to many of her six adolescent sisters forced to leave school and marry.  One burned herself to death to escape a bad marriage in a culture where divorce is not honorable.  Sanghera elaborated how she ran away from home at April 20 and April 23 Washington, DC, presentations of the film at Georgetown University’s Mortura Center and the Rayburn House Office Building respectively.  Since this flight 35 years ago her family has disowned her and does not have any relations with her children.

Honor Diaries, however, focuses almost exclusively on Muslim females in examining what the Afghan-American women’s rights activist Zainab Khan describes as “one of the most alarming human rights issues in the world.”   The film cites statistics such as the World Economic Forum’s listing of the ten countries worldwide with the worst gender disparity, nine of which are Muslim-majority.  Canadian human rights activist and author Nazanin Afshin-Jam points particularly to the “gender apartheid” in her ancestral Iran, a country that became an “instant theocracy” in the 1979 Islamic Republic’s founding.  Before the 1979 revolution, recounts her American colleague Nazie Eftekhari, Iranian women like her mother and grandmother were unveiled professionals, but after a “100 year journey forward…overnight they took that step back.”

Honor Diaries highlights specific abuses faced by Muslim females such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriages.  “These marriages are consummated through rape,” states Iraqi-American Sherizaan Minwalla of the Tahirih Justice Center.  A Yemeni girl personifies this brutality by recounting her “husband” simply covering her screaming mouth during sex at the age of eight.

Such issues are not merely far away in Muslim-majority societies, but also affect free countries like the United States.  Tahirih estimates as many as 1,500 forced marriages occur here annually and the Center for Disease Control considers 150,000-200,000 American girls at risk for FGM.  “No doubt in my mind you have a big problem,” Sanghera states, but America’s “victims are hidden” (at the Mortura Center she discussed having already heard of forced marriage threats in America after only nine days here).

The women’s rights activists in Honor Diaries like the Pakistani-Canadian Raheel Raza discuss as well how they face hostility for addressing Islam’s women’s rights controversies.  While calling “Islam…my spiritual journey,” she analyzes how “‘Islamophobia’ is a recent construct…to deflect any criticism of Islam and Muslims,” a “manufactured term…used to just silence people.”  The American Muslim Raquel Saraswati, meanwhile, is “afraid all the time” in the face of physical threats, “but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be courageous.”

Similarly mentioning physical threats, Sanghera at the Mortura Center additionally cited canceled meetings during her American visit, amounting approximately to a “50/50” open/closed doors ratio.  Indicative of this unwillingness to hear, the ubiquitous grandstanding Muslim gadfly Saba Ahmed left during the middle of Sanghera’s presentation and Honor Diaries extract screening.  Raza at the Rayburn presentation also mentioned intimidation against her agenda of “expose, educate, and eradicate” from organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), but abuse victims appear at Honor Diaries screenings with thanks.

Saraswati in Honor Diaries raises a “very difficult question to answer” about the women’s rights abuses therein profiled, namely “is this Islam.”  Pakistani-British Muslim Qanta Ahmed states that FGM, something that “does not appear in the Quran,” is “not advocated in Islam in any way, shape, or form,” yet overlooks various non-Quranic Islamic canons supporting FGM.  The Iraqi-American Christian Juliana Taimoorazy notes that her coreligionists “did not adapt to honor killings” in their Iraqi Muslim surroundings, but Raza counters that these murders also exist, for example, among Indian Hindus and Sikhs.

Interviewed at Rayburn, the Sikh Sanghera also stated that the “experience of honor abuse is actually the same” among British Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh South Asian communities, yet noted other Islamic variations.  In her experience the “absolutely barbaric” practice of FGM occurred in “predominately Muslim communities.”  The United Kingdom’s Bangladeshi Muslims also exhibited a “higher prevalence” of marrying girls under the age of 10.

At the Rayburn presentation, though, Arizona police detective Christopher J. Boughey, an adviser to Honor Diaries and the AHA Foundation of former Muslim and film participant Ayaan Hirsi Ali, had a more singular focus on Islam.  “All of these cases are almost identical,” he said of his work with honor killings, something that for him in North America had been a “completely Muslim experience,” he elaborated in an interview.  These murders formed along with forced marriages and FGM a comprehensive “control situation” and “systematic breaking down of someone’s will.”

Amidst such bleak analysis of Islam’s treatment of women, Raza’s Rayburn interview offers cold comfort with her theological analysis.  Questioned about support for FGM and child marriages in the canonical biography of Islam’s prophet Muhammad (hadith) and Islamic law (sharia), she responded that “I really don’t give that much precedence to hadith and sharia.”  She dismissed much of this Islamic orthodoxy as “man-made created stuff for the benefit of the men” and argued that “there is so much garbage in hadiths” given their often contradictory and dubious nature.  Abuses like FGM are “tribal practices that have existed long before Islam.”

For spiritual guidance on abuses of women “I go back to the word of God,” Islam’s “source and it is not in the source,” Raza declares with reference to the Quran, even though Quran 65:4 indirectly references child marriage.  Contrary to almost all Quran translations, she asserts that female Quran interpreters like her find no support for wife-beating in Quran 4:34.  Such interpretations come from the “mindset of the male elite who have been translating the Quran.”  Referencing the Quran’s oft-(mis)quoted verse 5:32 (“whoever saves one—it is as if he had saved mankind entirely”), but not the following brutal verse 5:33, she proclaims that “I take the higher law.”

Honor Diaries is essential viewing for investigating Muslim misogyny and those brave women, both within and without Islam, who combat it on the basis of bitter personal knowledge.  Yet the film at times contradicts itself and its feminist activists with what could be called pious hopes that all such abuse is an aberration from, and not anchored in, Islamic doctrine.  Objective observers will have difficulty finding in Islamic canons Raza’s understanding of a merciful “God of all human beings.”

Andrew E. Harrod is a researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School.  He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project, an organization combating the misuse of human rights law against Western societies.  He can be followed on twitter at @AEHarrod.

A Faith that Dare not Speak Its Name: Honor Killings Documentary Ignores Islam

honorkill-300x167by Andrew Harrod, PhD.

To “get to the root cause of an emerging pattern of criminality” precludes “vague terminology,” states a December 18, 2013, petition by British Hindu and Sikh organizations concerning Muslim-dominated child molestation gangs in the United Kingdom.  Yet precisely vagueness plagues not only this ongoing controversy, but also the British honor killing documentary Banaz: A Love Story, demonstrating the difficulties of openly discussing all matters Muslim.

An International Emmy Award winner, this 2012 documentary recently posted online examines the 2006 London murder of Banaz Mahmod, a young woman whose family immigrated in 1998 from Kurdish Iraq.  Banaz’s dissolution of her arranged marriage and relationship with another man had provoked her father and male relatives into murdering Banaz.  “In the countries that we are from, a woman has absolutely no rights,” declares Diana Nammi from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO) early in the film.

With only her eyes appearing through a black niqab, Banaz’ sister Bekhal elaborates in the film via a disguised voice how her family forbade her things like long nails.  Bekhal’s disobedience brought beatings from male relatives and flight from home.  Like Banaz, Bekhal suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) from family members, something “you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.”  “My life will always be in danger,” Bekhal states given her cooperation in solving Banaz’s murder and film appearance.

A 17-year old Banaz herself had an arranged marriage with a man recently arrived from Iraq whom she had only met once.  This illiterate individual had “absolutely nothing in common” with Banaz, observes prosecutor Victor Temple, and was “strongly adherent to that Kurdish culture” according to Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode.  This husband “kicked my head in,” Banaz states in a previously videotaped police interview while describing bleeding lips and ears received for offenses like mentioning her husband’s name before guests.  “He wouldn’t take no for an answer” to sexual advances and “would just start raping me,” Banaz added.  Afterwards “he just acted like nothing has happened…I was his shoe and he would wear it.”

“For a Muslim female like me it’s very hard to get a divorce,” Banaz complained to the police with reference to religion, not ethnicity, pace Goode.  “Leaving my husband in my culture is not allowed.”  The marital breakdown ultimately led the father to arrange with Banaz’s uncle her strangulation by three male cousins.  Banaz’s case demonstrates the “very collaborative nature” of honor killings, Joanne Payton from the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network (HBVA) discusses in the film.  “Verily we belong to Allah,” Banaz’s tombstone reads in the film.

A “landslide of mistakes flowing from…a lack of understanding” hindered authorities in protecting Banaz and investigating her subsequent murder, prosecutor Nazir Afzal criticizes.  Fear of being “branded racists” makes people “wary of stepping into this minefield” of culture-based gender violence.  Afzal similarly wrote in 2014 about accusations of having “given racists a stick with which to beat minorities” for leading the 2012 child molestation gang prosecution of 47 men, mostly from Afzal’s own Pakistani background.

Banaz director Deeyah Khan concurred in an interview that “many young women, like Banaz, are let down by officials in the West.”  A “lack of understanding and training in identifying the signs” of honor killings as well as “fear of upsetting cultural sensitivities” are problems.  Not letting the “issue get swept under the carpet in the name of political correctness” also worries Goode in the film, who calls for specific police honor killing training.

Banaz, though, seems to practice its own political correctness in never directly discussing Islam, a faith omnipresent in the film.  The overwhelming majority of British honor killing victims cited in the film credits, however, are from Muslim backgrounds.  This reflects a 2010 study showing Muslim perpetrators in 91% of 230 surveyed honor killing cases worldwide.

HBVA itself estimates an annual average worldwide of 5,000 honor killings, with 1,000 each in majority-Muslim Pakistan and a much larger, Hindu-majority India.  Additionally, Muslim-majority Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries have a “high recorded level of HBV.”  “India is indeed a striking exception to Islam’s near monopoly on contemporary honor killings,” Phyllis Chelser, the 2010 study’s author, concludes.

“Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Hindu honor killings,” Chelser elaborates, however, “is the fact that Indians abandon the horrific practice when they migrate to the West whereas many Pakistani Muslims carry it with them.”  “Although Islam does not specifically endorse” honor killings, Chelser observes, “some…involve allegations of adultery or apostasy…punishable by death under Shari’a.”  That “women who stray from the path can be rightly murdered” is therefore “consistent with such Islamic teachings.”

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

‘Honor’ Killings: A New Kind of American Tragedy

Amina-Ajmal-Honor-Killing-Evidence-Photoby Dr. Phyllis Chesler:

A new kind of American tragedy is taking place in a Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.

Both the defendant, standing trial for conspiracy to commit murder abroad in Pakistan, and the main witness against him, his daughter Amina, wept when they first saw each other. Amina’s extended family stared at her with hostility. As she testified, Amina paused, hesitated, and sobbed. She and her father had been very close until he decided that she had become too “Americanized.”

This Pakistani-American father of five, a widower, worked seven days a week driving a cab in order to support his children; this included sending his daughter, Amina, to Brooklyn College.

This is a successful American immigrant story—and yet, it is also a unique and unprecedented story as well, one which demands that Western law prevail over murderously misogynistic tribal honor codes.

At some point, Mohammad Ajmal Choudry sent Amina to Pakistan so that she might re-connect with her “roots”—but he had her held hostage there for three years. During that time, Amina, an American citizen, was forced into an arranged marriage, ostensibly to her first cousin, who probably expected this marriage to lead to his American citizenship. Such arranged marriages, and arranged specifically for this purpose, are routine. They are also factors in a number of high profile honor killing cases in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

For example, the Texas born and raised Said sisters, Aminah and Sarah, refused to marry Egyptian men as their Egyptian cab-driver father Yasir wanted them to do and he killed them for it. Canadian-Indian, Jaswinder Kaur, refused to marry the man her mother had chosen for her and instead married someone she loved. Her widowed mother and maternal uncle had her killed in India. They have been fighting extradition from Canada for more than a decade.

Amina, who grew up in New York from the time she was nine years old, did not want to be held hostage to this marriage. Indeed, Amina had found a man whom she loved and wished to marry.

Plucky Americanized Amina fled the arranged marriage within a month. With the help of a relative, the U.S. State Department, and ultimately, the Department of Homeland Security, Amina left Pakistan and went into hiding in the United States.

She had to. Her father had threatened to kill her if she did not return to her husband, give up her boyfriend, or return to her father. Mohammad may have pledged Amina’s hand without her knowledge, long, long ago.

A female relative’s sexual and reproductive activities are assets that belong to her father’s family, her tribe, her religion. They are not seen as individual rights.

Acting as if one is “free” to choose whom to marry and whom not to marry means that a woman has become too Westernized, or, in Amina’s case, too “Americanized.” This is a capital crime.

From Mohammad’s point of view, his beloved daughter had betrayed and dishonored him. She had “un-manned” him before his family. The desire to marry whom you want or to leave a violent marriage are viewed as filthy and selfish desires. Many Muslims in the Arab and Muslim world; Hindus and Muslims in India; and Muslims and, to a lesser extent, Sikhs in the West share this view and accordingly, perpetrate “honor killings.”

I do not like this phrase. An honor killing is dishonorable and it is also murder, plain and simple. It is a form of human sacrifice. It is also femicide–although sometimes boys and men are also murdered. I would like to call them “horror” murders.

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