Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Honor Continues, The Women Die

Now the mother of the young Iraqi woman killed for having confessed romantic feelings for a British soldier has been killed:

Leila Hussein lived her last few weeks in terror. Moving constantly from safe house to safe house, she dared to stay no longer than four days at each. It was the price she was forced to pay after denouncing and divorcing her husband - the man she witnessed suffocate, stamp on, then stab their young daughter Rand in a brutal 'honour' killing for which he has shown no remorse.

Though she feared reprisals for speaking out, she really believed that she would soon be safe. Arrangements were well under way to smuggle her to the Jordanian capital, Amman. In fact, she was on her way to meet the person who would help her escape when a car drew up alongside her and two other women who were walking her to a taxi. Five bullets were fired: three of them hit Leila, 41. She died in hospital after futile attempts to save her.
Mother and daughter died for someone's notion of honor, a notion of honor reinforced and justified by Islam:
Mariam [one of the women who tried to help Leila escape] has moved out of her home. But within hours of speaking to The Observer a close friend went to her new address to deliver a message that had been left for her at her front door. It read: 'Death to betrayers of Islam who don't deserve God's forgiveness. Speaking less you will live more.' She believes it was sent by Leila's killers.
We can quibble, I suppose, over the quality of the interpretation of Islam: maybe honor killing is forbidden under the best reading of the Koran and the hadiths (contra this). But the fact that we're left to that -- to quibbling over interpretations on a matter as grave as the suitability of stomping, smothering, shooting, and bombing women for the sake of honor -- speaks volumes about Islam.

On some readings but not others, the US Constitution upholds the state's right to execute criminals; on some readings but not others, it protects the right to abortion. The openness of the text on life-or-death matters is one indication that the text has a very human and imperfect source.

What is Islam's excuse for its openness to varying interpretations on a life-or-death matter? As he prepared his dictations to his prophet, did the all-knowing, all-loving god of Islam ...
  • fail to notice the practice of honor killing?
  • notice but not care enough to send a clear teaching on it?
  • notice and approve?
If the god of Islam existed and permitted this barbarity to persist in his name, he would deserve our hatred. As it is, the monsters who perpetuate it here and now, whatever their justifications, deserve no less.

(H/T Ophelia Benson)


Tommy said...

I'm actually trying to determine if Rand Abdel-Qader's death is permissible under Sharia law.

It is my understanding that killing a woman for adultery is permissible, but Rand had not committed adultery. She was just seen talking to a British soldier in public. Grounds for a stern tirade from her father perhaps.

I'm going to make it my mission to keep pushing this case until the SOB and his sons are arrested and convicted. This cannot be allowed to stand.

Dale said...

Tommy, sounds good to me.

I can't vouch for it, but I've been referred to this initiative before, which appears to be a movement to stop honor killing from within Islam:


As for me, I don't care if Sharia law endorses honor killing or not. I don't consider Sharia law legitimate from the word 'go,' so it doesn't matter to me where it comes down on honor killing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

The STOP HONORCIDE! campaign was launched on Mother's Day 2008. The goal of the campaign is to prosecute honorcides to the fullest extent of the law. We want honorcide to be classified as a hate crime and we advocate for every existing hate crime legislation to be amended to include honorcide.