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Is Muslim €œHonor Killing€ Islamic?

by Alamgir Hossain

24 Nov. 2011

Recently, in Facebook, I posted a news-report of an honor killing incident, titled Jordan: Man cuts sister throat to cleanse family honour, with my caption €œMuslim girls: Dare fall in love? This is what you get.€

Lovers victim of Islam's honor killing

This infuriated a highly educated and very nice Muslim friend of mine. He is the most sober, tolerant and humane Muslim friend I have known. And unable to bear my "supposed" insult to Islam, he wrote:

This is with respect to your recent post in facebook about a Muslim killing his sister to safeguard his so-called Family limpidness. This is a prime example of your intension of maligning Islam for any cause.

As you know this kind of incident is not uncommon in any society irrespective of their religion. Your attempt to highlight this incident to attack Islam, the asperity of your criticism shows a kind of your rancor with Islam. I have seen that you are posting this kind of thing almost daily basis; I don€™t even pay attention to all. I€™ve just picked up this item to start an argument with you to understand you better. I don€™t want to start an altercation here, but want to know you better as a well-wisher.

With the amount of time you spend to defame Islam, it looks like you make it part of your Job under the tutelage of some organizations, as if you are paid to do so regularly or you are imbued by a fact that encourage you spending your valuable time to do so regularly. Sometimes I feel like you are mesmerized by someone or something to continue this spurious task.

From my point of view, there is a common denominator of your analysis of incidents. You look at surface level (as long as you can relate it to attack Islam) rather than finding the root cause, finding causes that instigate the incident.

My reply:

About your comment regarding the honor-killing incident, I agree with you that it happens in some other societies as well €“ in India and South America (Brazil) for example. But Muslims account for nearly 85-90% of the world€™s honor-deaths. Given Muslims constitute about 20-25% of the world population, the ratio of Muslim vs. non-Muslim honor killing is about 40:1. Muslims are 40 times more prone to committing this horrendous barbarism as compared to average non-Muslims worldwide.

The reason for honor-killing is the patriarchal nature of societies and ethos, where women are placed below men. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and such other religions that were formulated at the hands of men are all patriarchal in nature. All these religions, and particularly Islam, put women below men, dehumanize women, subjugate women under men, and do not see women as equal human beings, equal with men. The Bible says: Church is the head of man, like man is the head of woman. And because of such subjugation of women under men and command of the Bible to kill witches, Christians societies witnessed horrible such incidents in the Middle Ages. Hundreds of thousands of women were burned alive in Europe, identifying them €œwitches€. But thanks to vigorous criticism of the Christ faith in the 18-19th century, it has abandoned its patriarchal nature and has given greater equality, dignity and liberty to women. Judaism had the same problem and mended its ways.

Islam is riddled with more problems of patriarchy, incorporated in its divine statutes. The Quran dehumanizes women by calling them deficient in intelligence, giving them half the rights of inheritance and making their worth as witness half of men. Moreover the Quran says, men are in charge of the women. Apart from these repeated dehumanization, and subjugation of women under the men, the Quran also commands this for women (24:31):

€œYUSUFALI: And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.€

According to this verse, a Muslim woman must veil herself even in front of her brothers-in-law (husband€™s adult brothers). So, when a Muslim girl falls in love with a complete stranger and exchanges sexual gratifications, that goes much much beyond bounds of what Allah has commanded. Defying Allah€™s commands deserves due punishments.

Islam is the most patriarchal Abrahamic religion and honor-killing happen exactly because of this patriarchy of Islam. Islam has to go through the same experience €“ especially in today€™s age, when human rights are considered non-negotiable. We are not living in the barbaric Middle Ages; and that€™s why, you may notice more vigorous criticism when violations of life, human rights and dignity of a person happens. Most people are not barbaric anymore and will always speak up when barbarism is committed upon innocent souls, although it may cause discomfort to those, who commit it as well to those, who support it through maintaining silence.

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