Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Honour killings in Europe Why?

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According to the United Nations, more than 5000 women and children are killed every year under the name of honour killing. The murder of Fadime Sahindal in Sweden brought about a lot of feelings and media coverage all over the world.

Following this tragic event, a lot of questions were raised and debates carried out as to why and how such a crime could have happened. A lot of people talked about the fact that women are killed in different circumstances and that it involves violence by men against women.

The fact that women are killed is a bitter truth. However, when women and children are murdered by their own close relatives and loved ones is a concept that has its roots mainly in the Middle East where women’s sexuality has always been the centre of power and production.

Power itself together with nationalistic sentiments and religion control the society. Following the honour killings of Pela and Fadime in Sweden; and Hursu in England, a lot of academics and pro cultural relativists said that “honour killing lives in the original culture that is still left in certain parts of the world and has nothing to do with religion”. If we accept this explanation then we have given all religions a free hand in interfering in women’s lives.

There is no doubt that honour killing is far more ancient than for example Islam or Christianity. However my question is why does it still happen? Does the original culture exist in Europe?

Obviously the political and religious situation and the consequence culture in the Middle East have a lot to do with the issue. After all it is not any coincident that most honour killings happen in the region or have their roots in the Middle East. For me, honour killing involves physical and physiological violence against women at home and in the society.

Women who choose to take control of their lives, choose their own partners, exercise their freedom, or choose to have sex before marriage are targets for honour killings.

The person who kills under the name of honour is trying to consolidate his/ her position in the society, in the family and community. He/she uses religion to achieve such position. Families who loose their honour are not taken seriously in the community. This is, without doubt, the consequence of the political power that dominates people’s lives. The same system and power imposes laws and regulations such as compulsory veil, negates the right to choose ones life and prohibits freedom of speech in the society. Political Islam steers women’s lives with the help of Sharia law.

In Iran the constitution is based on Sharia law where women are considered immature and imbeciles in every aspect of society. Today, there is a strong women’s movement all over the Middle East against religious injustice in women’s lives and against patriarchy. There are campaigns against honour killings in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon and Morocco. It is a movement for equality and human rights.

This debate has another angle in Europe. There is talk of “culture in ethnic minority communities”. It means women’s and children’s rights are tramped on, while cultural relativists take over women’s and children’s lives. Respecting culture takes precedence to human life and women’s rights. Imams and priests have become the representatives and speakers of these communities. It has created a situation where medieval culture is kept alive and religion takes over.

I put a few questions to you. Is this culture so progressive and an advance phenomenon in today’s society that needs to be preserved? Should we have a set of rules for ethnic minorities and another set of rules for the rest of the population? Doesn’t this remind you of apartheid system? Or is there something that I call state racism since it treats people differently?

The result of cultural relativism is worsening of women’s lives. Human history has shown that the old traditions and religious interference in women’s lives is not something that can be fought against without radical actions that show society stands by progressive values. Cultural relativism and racism are two sides of the same coin. It is about time that women activists and human rights organisations look at this issue seriously and change their position against reactionary forces in Europe and engage their energy and recourses into progressive and radical fight in the Middle East.

Abbas Rezai (2005):  A 20-year-old Iranian man, gets killed in Hogsby. The motive is supposedly that his girlfriend’s family, who comes from Afghanistan, could not accept their relationship. The trial found the girlfriend’s brother guilty and fined him four years in institutional youth welfare and banishment from Sweden for life. Her parents are free. The lawyer of the mother to the murdered man is convinced that they planned the killing and has the opinion that they also should be sentenced for the murder.

A Kurdish Wife (2003): A 28-year-old Kurdish man stabs his one-year-younger wife with 37 slashes in Strangnas. The man did not accept that his wife wanted to get a divorce. The trial found him guilty and fined him ten years in prison and banishment from Sweden for life.

Fadime Sahindal (2002): A 26-year-old Kurdish girl, was killed in Uppsala in the evening of the 21st January. Her father did not accept that she had a Swedish boyfriend and wanted to have Swedish life style. The trial found her father guilty and he got a life sentence. Two months before she was killed she held a speech in the Swedish Parliament about her life and how she was treated by her family, relatives and Swedish authorities.

Pela Atroshi (1999): She was shot to death in Dhouk in Iraqi Kurdistan. Her sister called the Swedish police and reported the murder. Two uncles got a life sentence for the murder. The father is still wanted by the authorities.

Umea (1996): A 15-year-old Iraqi girl in Umea was killed by her brother and cousin after a party. The motive was that she had a Swedish life style.

Palestinian Girl (1994): A Palestinian man in Vastmanland killed his 18-year-old daughter when she refused to marry the man the father had chosen for her.

Parvin Kaboli, Secretary of Organisation for Women’s Liberation

Name:     closed

Name: vbv
Date: Wednesday September 26, 2007
Time: 23:39:33 -0700


Honour killing? Whose honour and whose life? Islam is a barbaric religion which treats women as one's private property and women are just objects of sexual gratification of men. They (women) do not have an iota of self respect as a human-being. In islam women are sub-human species to be totally under the tyranical grip of men to do their biddings unquestioningly and in abject slavery! The men can dump them at will by merely pronouncing the triple talaq !No rights are given to women and they cannot but live in absolute fear of men in abject surrender! Can you call this kind of culture civilized or sane? It is the most retarded,worse than primitive , and the most barbaric creed that ever existed in human civilisation! May islam be eradicated from the face of this Earth!!!

Name: Honor Killing is Not Islamic
Date: Thursday September 27, 2007
Time: 01:34:57 -0700


From the perspective of Qur’an, prophetic traditions, and law, sex outside of a legally binding tie is considered zina, and is punishable for both women and men. Though there is a double standard in that men are, under certain circumstances, permitted to have several lawful sexual partners while women must always remain monogamous, when it comes to punishment for illicit intercourse men and women are treated exactly alike. In this sense, the traditional framework for dealing with illicit sexual behavior is balanced – unlike in the case of honor killings for actual or suspected sexual misconduct, in which only women are targets. Still, while honor killings find no sanction whatsoever in Qur’an, prophetic traditions, or law, these sources cannot be absolved of all responsibility for placing a greater share of the burden of maintaining societal chastity on women. Though the Qur’an commands both men (24.30) and women (24.31) to “cast down their gazes” and to “protect their chastity,” it specifically regulates only women’s dress (Q. 24.31; 33.59). Yet it is a long stretch from these commands, which have the declared intention of protecting women from harassment (Q. 33.59), to the legal rules that allow men, especially husbands, to impose seclusion on women, forbid them from leaving the home, and limit their access even to other relatives. These rules for seclusion were never strictly observed by more than an elite minority, and are not generally enforced today. But the basic perspective they embody – that the separation of men and women is to be enforced by keeping women apart from men, and that women who violate these boundaries are suspect – remains influential.

Name: why muslims want to control sexuality of woman ???
Date: Thursday September 27, 2007
Time: 05:52:34 -0700


islam claim it give equality to woman. why do muslims want to control sexuality of woman ???? man want 4 wife and unlimited number of right hand possessions [ sex slaves ] on earth and 72 hot sex houries with big pointed breasts jannat. but woman hv only 1 man at a time and if they go to jannat only 1 husband. why muslim men want to control sexualy and vagina of woman it emans only 1 thing : muslim men r sex crazed beasts not worthy of woman to let them touch her body.

Name: men are not punished
Date: Thursday September 27, 2007
Time: 06:29:12 -0700


I just read the second comment about men and women being treated euqally when they break the law on sexual conduct in islam. I couldn't finish it because it's so totally wrong. When was the last time anyone heard of a MAN being stoned? Or killed because he raped a woman or had sex outside of marriage? No, the men in this part of the world and religion are pretty much "free" to do what they want and will towards women in their family. And if a woman is raped, SHE is the one that is condemned instead of the man because she didn't die during the attack, there by bringing shame and dishonour to her family. When it's the man's shame and dishonour that he did the deed, but is not punished for it.

Name: Philip Saenz
Date: Friday September 28, 2007
Time: 08:15:46 -0700


If honor killing doesn't stem from the religion of Islam, then, why is it that mostly all honor killings are within the religion of Islam??? How many honor killings do you see in the Christian religion? Exactly none!! How many honor killings do you see in the Jewish religion? Exactly none!! We must destroy the evil ideology of Islam before the Islamists destroy others. And the best way to destroy the horrible ideology of Islam is to destroy the evil philosophy of the false prophet Muhammad.

Name: Marie
Date: Friday September 28, 2007
Time: 08:52:26 -0700


Honor killing is not Islamic, your commentary needs correction. The seclusion of women goes on in many Muslim countries and only a few countries do not follow these rules. These rules were created by a madman who could not control his hormones and had a very warped ideas about infidelity and morality. So he made mandatory for women to cover themselves, in order not to sexual arouse men who could not maintain decency and respect towards women. These rules are the reason why nonmuslim women are raped by Muslim men, because in the view of Islam if the women are not covered from head to toe, then men could do anything they want to do. Islam also demands that women are to be totally obedient and submit to the authority of their husbands, fathers, brothers, and other male relatives. In the Islamic culture women who do not adhere to the men in their lives are challenging their authority and honor. Muslim men in order to keep their honor resort to the so-called honor killings. Honor killings is about men maintaining their so-called honor, that is to get rid of their disobedient women who will not submit to their authority.

Name: allat
Date: Friday September 28, 2007
Time: 10:31:53 -0700


Yes, there is ABSOLUTELY no compability betw the West and the Arab culture/islam. We - in the West - have advanced by stages into respect for human life and the Rights of Mankind. It has taken us CENTURIES to get to this point - It's been a long hard struggle - from the 1st recorded failures of the Helots of Greece and Spartacus (how many other slave revolts went unrecorded) - to the Peasant's Revolt (how many other peasant revolts went unrecorded?) to the Negro Civil Rights Act of 1961? Do we need to retrograde to accommodate the insidious islamics? Allat-Polytheist Pagan

Name: allat
Date: Friday September 28, 2007
Time: 10:33:12 -0700


Oops. I meant to say "incompatibility" in my previous msg.

Name: Feyi
Date: Sunday September 30, 2007
Time: 12:23:47 -0700


I'm thinking of converting to Islam, but as of right now if this is going to the definition of My life as a Muslim, I don't think so. I value my freedom.

Name: Nowonmai
Date: Sunday September 30, 2007
Time: 18:53:36 -0700


The reason for the violence against women, the 'honor' killings and the treating women like subhuman is because weak men want their women weaker, so the men don't appear as weak as they truly are. Fear is a great weapon for weak men. All the women in the above article were strong women, who knew who they were and what they wanted in life. In Islam, strong women not to be tolerated. How dare they forget their places in a weak mans' fantasy world.

Name: Jen
Date: Thursday October 04, 2007
Time: 17:44:59 -0700


"Honor killing is not Islamic, your commentary needs correction." -Marie Let's see if Marie's comment holds water: "Pakistan, where "honour" killings are known as karo-kari, is probably the country where such atrocities are most pervasive." "n Jordan, "honour" killings are sanctioned by law. According to Article 340 of the criminal code, "A husband or a close blood relative who kills a woman caught in a situation highly suspicious of adultery will be totally exempt from sentence."" ""Honour" killings are also regularly reported in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip." ""Honour" killings of women (and occasionally their male "partners in crime") reflect longstanding patriarchal-tribal traditions." I think "tribal" may be the key word. 'Reputation is Everything': Honor Killing among the Palestinians of a woman brings shame to the family--through allegations of premarital or extramarital sex, by refusing an arranged marriage, or attempting to obtain a divorce--her male relatives are bound by duty and culture to murder her. " "The family plays a role in every aspect of life in the Arab world,"" I think it's pretty clear that 'honor killings' are the mandate of Islam and the Arab world!

Name: ExMuslim
Date: Thursday October 04, 2007
Time: 20:32:04 -0700


Jen, Honour killing is not Islamic but tribal. Because it brings shame to the tribe, family. But such shame exist almost solely among Muslims.

Name: Jazon
Date: Monday October 08, 2007
Time: 07:12:30 -0700


Only satan, loves killings. And who ever is doing such a cruel thing like this is a true son of satan. The true God give life and only true God takes it. But the moon God (Allah) loves innocent blood as vampires do. Mind you islam is an occult sec.

Name: Mis-understanding
Date: Sunday October 14, 2007
Time: 18:03:11 -0700


There is alot of misunderstanding among many people of various background into "honour killing", linking it to religion Islam. First, I myself am against honour killing, because no religion portray such killing and due to the lack of knowledge, we end up in wrong assumptions. My friend try to understand the facts; but sometime to know the facts one has to keep in control his own desires and temptations and Islam if truly followed in practice within the daily life, such as: work, business, multi-cultural society and in their homes according to the Quran and Sunnah, believe me that you will notice the crime reduction within the society as a whole. This will benefit society as a whole and try to inquire that how many non-muslim from many countries become Muslim and majority of them are women; why?. If, I wanted their is alot of thing to complain about within the Western countries that are affecting their own people, where alot of women become a target of abuse by men in various aspects of life, this is not to comment against in a rude manner; but just one of the crime takes place. I would not say that this is done because of religion, but of our own wrong doings. We live in a civilised society and talking foolish puts us into the dark ages, try to create an atmosphere to understand each other and bring this understanding towards being humans. Good luck.

Name: rinjaniLala
Date: Tuesday October 23, 2007
Time: 06:10:23 -0700


honor killing is NOT Islamic. even though most of the cases occur in countries where the majority of the people is Muslim, it actually has been a tradition in the Middle East area long before Islam came. before Islam came, people bury their baby daughters because of shame and don't respect women as much. Islam appreciates women, there even is a hadith (saying of the prophet) that says "Paradise is under a mother's feet". Another fact that supports honor killing is cultural and not Islamic is that in other Muslim-majority countries, like Indonesia and Malaysia, people don't do honor killings. About Islam being injustice towards women in marriage. A men MAY have 4 wives, IF he can be fair with his wives. Islam also imposes a man to be kind with his wife. If in reality a lot of men don't follow the rules: treat their wives unfair and intimidate them, that is the PERSON, NOT Islam in whole. That happens in every religion: there are always people who don't follow or misunderstand the rules. so then if Muslim men do honor killings and other things that seem barbaric, it's THEM as a human being, NOT Islam. People can't generalize all one point something billion Muslims in the world act the same way as hundreds that do bad stuff. Say the Ku Klux Klan and their racism. Their Christians, but then we don't generalize all Christians to be racist. To judge a religion, don't look at its people, but look at its holy scriptures. People are never perfect and can always make mistakes. The essence of a religion is in its scriptures.

Name: Dawn Lee
Date: Wednesday October 31, 2007
Time: 02:32:41 -0700


Don't mean to be rude.....I think it's got a lot to do with a small-willy syndrome. How archaic can these men get? Each life is your own to lead. I can't fathom anyone still thinking that your credibility or honour is in the hands of someone else. That's total irresponsibility on the part of these men to think that the women have to uphold their honour, while they, as men, can do anything. That's total simple-mindedness, but is revered cos it is supported by its associated to the word 'tradition'. It's also like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum - "my sister got herself a boyfriend and is having fun (while I should be the only one int he family to be having fun), so I got to kill her. I get to be honoured as a real man anyway...." How dumb...

Name: Me
Date: Monday November 05, 2007
Time: 06:53:47 -0700


"Honor" killings (of women) - as far as they're not covered-up crimes for personal gain - stem from ancient patriarchal systems. They are not part of any religion, but of cultural traditions that regard family matters as domain of the tribe rather than the state. Poverty, lawlessness and dependance of the individual upon the family for mere survival lie at the heart of the problem, as well as the perception that a man is only a "real man" if he has complete control over "his" females (in Japan, many marriages are still arranged by the parents, and the "pride" of Spanish males is legendary, for instance). In Europe, too, Women's emancipation has taken decades to hundreds of years. Maybe the most important factor was wealth/economic opportunity which allowed women to find jobs outside the family, and a strict rule of law which was accepted by people who saw themselves as part of a nation, not only a tribe. A strong government is required, but one that has support of the majority and benefits the whole. Much "Islamic radicalism" is in fact veiled criticism of the regime seen as selling out the country (to the West) while doing nothing for its subjects, as well als escapism towards a revanchist utopia which will see the "glory" of the Muslim world restored. Ranting about the "evils of Islam" only gives credit to the most wacky radicals of this faith, and shows that "we" are not that open-minded or intelligent either. I don't believe anyone engaged in a genuine "honor killing" really enjoys what he/she is doing, but society is seen as forcing it upon them. It is that "peer pressure" which has to be fought, and important aides for the future are lasting peace and economic development. The Taliban rose to power through the Soviet-Afghan war. Afghanistan and Iraq are in shambles now, and the same could happen to Iran. "We" are surely not going to promote humanistic values by causing destitution and resentment.

Name: pissed off
Date: Monday December 03, 2007
Time: 11:04:59 -0700


wheres the honor in not having free choice? continue the way you do and all traces of your screwed up religion will be erased from all of earth's cultures

Name: Anita
Date: Sunday December 16, 2007
Time: 23:45:27 -0700


I was so close to marrying a muslim man even though as a christian it's against our religion to do that because it's considered to be unequally yoked... anyways i still love him and don't trust him. It's true islamic men are control sexual freaks they are hypocrites just like us christians can be. Islam is not from God it contradicts it's self in the Quran AND contradicts what Jesus taught.

Name: Malyun
Date: Thursday July 17, 2008
Time: 09:47:25 -0700


Hey my name is malyun and i am a somali kenyan. i read ur article and it moved me in my community women have no right, we get married of, treated like slaves and FGM, but thats not islam its culture and tradition, i want to fight for the rights of women

Name: dcat
Date: Friday July 18, 2008
Time: 21:35:15 -0700


FACT: I know the killers will burn in hell for all eternity!

Name: Nouran
Date: Saturday September 20, 2008
Time: 09:17:39 -0700


WHAT THE FUCK!? this is soooo not true this is not the truth about islam these are ppl who are doin the wrong things they dont deserve to live and they dont represent islam this is not wut islam is about. Islam has banned murder and it gave rights to women. Its true that women can only have one husband while a man can have 4 wives but that has its reason, im not a relegious person who knows everythin im just a 16 year old just tryna tell ppl who has only seen the bad side of muslims that muslims r not supposed to b like this y cant u see the good side of Islam for god's sake its like christians r so perfect. In all relegions u will find ppl who do the good things and ppl who do the bad things. THOSE PPL DO NOT REPRESENT ISLAM PLZ BELEIVE ME!! thankx

Name: katherine
Date: Thursday October 02, 2008
Time: 22:54:17 -0700



Name: katherine
Date: Thursday October 02, 2008
Time: 22:57:35 -0700



Date: Wednesday November 19, 2008
Time: 02:51:39 -0500


replying to the comment on the bottom....It has nothing to do with the relgion of is more of tribal or cultral value.....where in the islamic religon does it say to shoot a person point blank or burn someone because they refused to do what you wanted them to is some ignorant people that are doing is stupid that a muslim man killled his wife because she did not bring him food...Stupid....has nothing to do with ISlam

Name: David Weitzler
Date: Tuesday November 25, 2008
Time: 12:23:39 -0500


Either these murders are in accordance with Sharia and orthodox Islam or Mullahs are not doing enough to disavow the connections that are being made by their flock. Whoever cajoles relative to commit such murders, is also a murderer--albeit a pious murder.

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