To educated Muslims, honor killing has nothing to do with Islam and Turkey is the only "role model" Islamic country, because in all other Muslim countries, honor killing occurs. Unfortunately, after the Islamists came to power in 2002 and opened the gates of gradual Islamization of Turkey, after 8 decades of strict secular rule, Turkey has risen to be the world's "number one honor killing country", with a killing rate 5 times higher than that of Pakistan, known to be notorious for honor killing.
The Quran and hadiths prohibit adultery, apostasy, fornication, and homosexuality etc. And Muslim societies, since the days of Prophet Muhammad, have punished such offenders, normally by killing them, in perfect harmony with sanctions of the Quran, Sunnah and the Sharia.
Victims of Islam's honor violence
In civilized societies, these are not deemed crimes, because those actions do not directly harm another person, whatsoever. The rationale for punishing such offenders in Muslim societies (and in some others) has been that adultery brings shame to the husband and to the offender’s family; apostasy from Islam insults to the Islamic faith or to the Muslim community; etc. And to wipe out such shame and insult, the offenders are killed, generally by family members – frequently the father, brothers and husband, with the mother and sisters often joining in.
Stoning to death, lashing (which frequently leads to death), shooting to death and mob-lynching are common methods of honor violence. The victims are even buried alive in some cases. In countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, those targeted for honor violence by husbands and jilted male lovers are frequently burned and disfigured by throwing acids at them.
With Muslim immigrants, the tradition of killing such offenders also came to the West. Muslim immigrants have committed such extra-judicially killings in countries of Europe, America, Canada, and Australia in recent years. Authorities in Western countries have long ignored such killings, which Muslim communities have often passed on as suicides. As the Muslim populations swelled in the West with increasing religiosity, frequency of such extra-judicial killings in Muslim communities also increased to such an extent that authorities could not ignore those killings any more. And adamant against linking any negativity to the religion of Islam, they coined the term "honor killing" to classify this brand of grievous crimes as something cultural.
Islamic countries, under pressure to observe the rule of law and human rights of their citizens from the UN and Western countries in recent decades, also cannot pass on such extra-judicial killings as a part of their religious affair or as their societal norm any more. So, Human Rights Organizations, more watchful than ever of the violations of human rights around the world, also record and classify these extra-judicial murders as honor killing.
Honor killing doesn’t occur in Islamic societies alone. Some 15,000 individuals, mostly women, are honor-killed worldwide every year. And nearly 90% of them occur in Muslim communities. Since Muslims constitute about 20% of the world population, they are 40-45 times more prone to honor killing than non-Muslims.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, and other Arab Islamic countries are the leading hotspots of honor-killings in the Muslim world. Recently disposed dead-bodies of a 15-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, burned with acid, were recovered from a wasteland in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. The young couple – apparently lovers – were suspected of being killed in honor violence, because the deeply religious Afghan society does not approve romantic relationships between unmarried men and women in consonance with the Quran’s prohibition of fornication. When this story was posted in islam-watch.org, Muslims quickly attempted to distance the religion of Islam from the horrible crime. One reader commented:
"There is nothing like this behavior that is condoned in Islam and to try and insinuate such is a crime itself, and shameful. Maybe if the parents did their job bring up their kids they would not have ventured down that path, but the parents themselves are obviously disturbed individuals who should be punished by the law."
See how these deceptive Muslims contradict nakedly. He claims that Islam doesn’t approve the punishment, and immediately he says, it’s a punishable crime, but the young couple’s parents should have been punished, not them. He does not only contradict himself, he also wants to play God over Allah, who commands punishment to fornicators themselves, not their parent.
Yet other Muslims, to distance Islam from such barbaric crimes, would say "Afghanistan is hardly the "role model" [Islamic country]."
And if you ask back, which is a "role model" Islamic country, they will answer: "Turkey", with the addendum: "Even though it’s secular but Muslim none the less!"
So, Turkey is a “role model” Islamic country, but contradictorily a "secular" one; and no honor killing happens there.
Is that so? Not quite!
In fact, according to the Turkish Government figures, after the Islamists rose to power in 2002, rate of honor killings in Turkey increased at alarmingly fast in the deeply religious segments of the Turkish society, turning Turkey into a leading country afflicted by honor killings. After the current ruling Islamist party, the AKP, came to power in 2002, reports Christian Science Monitor (CSM), honor killings increased "14 folds" over the next 7 years. There were 66 cases of honor killings in 2002, which rose 953 in the first seven months of 2009.
In Pakistan, notorious for honor killing, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recorded 943 cases of such killings in 2011, and about 100 less in 2010. That means Turkey had about double the number of honor killings in 2009 as compared the number honor-killed in Pakistan in 2011. Given Pakistan has a population of 177 million as compared to Turkey’s 75 million, Turkey has an honor-killing rate, which is greater than 5 times higher than that of Pakistan. So, undoubtedly, Turkey is the number one country in the world in terms of total number of honor killings happening every year, and its honor-killing rate is also nearly at the top amongst all countries in the world.
A few incidents of honor killing in Turkey
1) Girl, 18, stoned to death along with her unborn child: We have recently published an unreported incident of honor killing in a remote village in Turkey, described by the victim’s sister. The victim, 18, fell in love with a boy in the neighborhood and became pregnant. When she confided the matter with her loving father, hoping he would arrange for her marriage with the boyfriend. The father, angered by her shameful action, brought her to the Imam of the local mosque, and she was stoned to death along with her unborn child as per advice of the Imam.
2) Girl, 16, buried alive for talking to boys: In December 2010, according to reports by BBC, The Guardian and other news outlets, a 16-year-old girl in Turkey was buried alive by members of her family in the family garden for bringing shame by being friendly with boys. Her hands were tied on her back, and post-mortem found large amount of soil in her lungs and stomach.
3) Father Shot dead his gay son: According to CNN, a father, named Yahya, shot dead his 26-year-old son Ahmet Yildiz, a physics student, in Istanbul, for bringing shame to the family by being a gay. The killing inspired a movie, named “Zenne”, released in January this year.
The "Campaign Against Honour Killings In Turkey” Website has a list of real-life honor killing incidents in Turkey:
- 23 year old Rukiye Küçükbirer was killed by her brother returning from military service because it was alleged that she had a relationship with her brother-in-law.
- Waterpolo teacher Müjgan Albayrak, divorced from her husband, was shot by her brother whilst she was dining with her boyfriend.
- Hülya Yakar was killed by her 11 year old son because she went out a lot.
- Cezvet Murat killed two of his sisters, Ayten Murat and Gülten Söylemez, because they came home late and he decided that they were prostitutes.
- Pregnant Ayse Tarhan was stabbed to death by her husband Behman Tarhan because he suspected that she was having an affair. After killing her he separated her flesh from her bones and then buried in the stove…
- A 17 year old woman, Yurdagül Ayaz, 8 months pregnant with twins was killed by 30 knife wound. She was found in the local cemetery with the knife in her vagina. Before her death, her father Hanife Ayaz (62 years old) chained her in his basement to make her to marry a man she did not love. She was supposedly in love with her cousin and married him but after the marriage he forced her into prostitution and was arrested by the police. Five days later she was found dead. It all happened in Gaziantep.
For more cases, click Some real life stories.
Poor Human Rights records, prominent amongst them is the violence against women, has been a roadblock to Turkey’s desire for entering the European Union. As honor violence started flourishing after the AKP-led Islamists came to power in 2002, the government was forced to form a parliamentary committee in 2005 for investigating the underlying reasons for the high rates of honor killing violence in the deeply religious south-east Anatolian religion of Turkey.
New measures undertaken by the government to stem the rising tide of honor killings in Turkey, seemed to have some impact, as fathers or family members, fearing legal punishments should they honor kill offenders, started encouraging the women to kill themselves so as to relieve the families of the dishonor caused by them. (see Women told: 'You have dishonoured your family, please kill yourself')
Nonetheless, the recommendations of the committee and the measures undertaken obviously didn't work as the rate of honor killings has kept rising higher than ever. Where Islamists come, Islam must come too, irrespective of you call it a secular country or whatever.
M A Khan is the author of Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery.
written by HARKAT UL JIHAD EI KAFIROON , April 10, 2012