April 23, 2024

In Response to Honor Killings

Christmas Day seems a strange day to write about the horrific, all-too-common practice in Islam of male family members murdering their female relatives in the name of honoring their religion. Then again, today is a celebration of the day the Way, Truth, and Light was sent by God to mankind. Why not tell the truth, today above all days?

I recently received a comment on a long-past post on this subject.  For the purposes of discussion I’ll include it in its entirety here:

It is disgusting to read or to hear of such cases occurring in some minority muslim circles. Such incidences or so called honour killings is a deeply cultural practise that predates Islam. It is a violation of human rights and has absolutely NO place in ISLAM the religion.

Unfortunately, still these events occur in muslim countries and sometimes non-Muslim countries, as was the case above. The men behind these events are ignorant chauvinists who have been influenced deeply by their culture. They have nothing better to do than to lord around authority over their women.

The problem here is not Islam, but rather lack of education about Islam and women’s rights, poverty, deeply rooted cultural practises and the lack of women’s rights being actively implemented in some Muslim countries. For example, in Islam, the act of calling a women ‘unchaste’ without producing 4 witnesses to prove this, earns the man 80 lashes (the one who made the false claim) and his evidence is rejected from there onwards in the court of law for as long as he lives. Unfortunately, this in such Honour killing cases, this is not implemented. But rather, it is the woman’s family, namely her male relatives who go out of their way to ‘cleanse’ the family name and honour by eliminating the victim! This is ridiculous, and unjust to anyone who has any brains, but this happens because of a very strong cultural mentality and belief that a woman upholds the honour of the house. To add to this, when males are convicted of unseemly behaviour before marriage, their actions are completely overlooked. Even though in Islam, the punishment for a proven fornicator is the same for the male and the female! The sad part is this sort of thinking gets transferred from generation to generation, to the point where even the women accept this mentality! No one bothers to consult Islam about it, no, culture to these men is taken as first priority. Oh, but when it comes to upholding men’s rights, say for e.g. their rights in marriage, oh no, goodness me, there is no breaking that. The woman must grant his rights. They must be implemented.

I am a muslim woman, and a practising one too (I am not a feminist) and when I hear of these events, it makes my blood boil. The key to women’s liberation in muslim countries is not fleeing Islam, but rather women need to learn their God given rights, granted to them over 1400 years ago and demand these rights. We need to educate ourselves about Islam and our rights. We need sisters to stand up and say "NO" to these sorts of events. Unfortunately, in theory it sounds easier than in practise.

My knowledge is limited and I don’t claim to be a scholar of Islam. So, if I have said anything wrong above, may God forgive me.

The commenter, who calls herself Nargis, makes several interesting points. Forgetting everything I have written on this subject, I wish that all Muslim women could read her words, a statement that reveals much about a primitive, obsolete school of thought, one that has no place in our world, let alone one to be practiced in the name of the Creator.

Much as I admire Nargis’ brave statement, there is a couple of essential points that I must make in rebuttal. First, women (and men, for that matter), were not given their inalienable human rights 1400 years ago in Mohammed’s time. These rights have always belonged to mankind, despite our consistent inability to respect each other’s bodies, property, and faith, these rights are inherent to each of us, male and female alike. It is false to state that Islam, or any other religion, grants us these rights; rather, they are innate in us as a result of the power of conscious, rational thought, as inspired in us by God at the beginning of mankind’s existence on this world.

Second, I must challenge her assertion that the key to women’s rights is not leaving Islam. In a sense, Nargis is correct: A mass exodus of women from Islam would serve to make the lives of those left behind a living hell. Yet there are few human rights more precious than that of the freedom to adopt a faith of one’s own choosing (or even, paradoxically, to reject the idea of a Creator entirely). Unfortunately, Muslim women are denied this choice by threat of rape, beatings, torture, and death, all at the hands of so-called pious men and a certain number of female enablers.  Culturally, Muslim apostasy is considered a great crime rather than the elemental expression of one’s most deeply-rooted personal freedom. Until this changes, there will be no true liberty for Muslims, whether male or female, nor true worship, which can only be given freely, from one’s heart, with no motivating purpose other than respect and love for our Creator.

In conclusion, it must be stated clearly that such changes, though fundamental to human liberty and true faith in God, will not be easily obtained. Like all freedoms, it seems these must be won at great expense, paid for in blood and tears, and maintained the same way.

This, I believe, is the Truth on which a little Light has now been shone.  In the interest of Peace, then, can we, men and women of all faiths and nations, simply examine our beliefs critically, weighing each one as John suggested would be necessary, and discard those that do not make sense? Of these, the murder of women to as a salve to the injured egos of their male kin, men who should love and revere them, must surely be among the most heinous and least worthy of practice, to say nothing of admiration and emulation.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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