TCS Daily


Honor Thy Father -- Or Else

By Val MacQueen - February 2, 2005 12:00 AM

Western women have long wryly accepted that their mates rarely notice new outfits and new hairdos. Muslim males, by contrast, take a more intense interest in what female family members wear on their heads, what they put on their faces, how they wrap their bodies, who they shake hands with (no one) and talk to, and obsess more about their genitalia than British lap dance king Peter Stringfellow and the wardrobe chief for Caesar's Palace combined.

Little girls, who should be playing jump rope and taking tennis lessons, are forced to submerge their individuality in hot, uncomfortable, anonymous robes that severely limit movement. This is called teaching them to be "modest". They are made to attend school looking different, and apart, in their headscarves, a barrier, as it is intended to be, to integration.

All these elaborate protocols are done in the name of "protecting" women and girls from themselves. But the truth is, it is self-defense on the part of the Muslim man. To protect Muslim women, immigrant families to the West comply only 50 percent with normal Western dress codes. How often have I seen, in the south of France in the baking heat of summer, a North African family walking across a parking lot, daddy and the teenage son in smart Bermuda shorts, T-shirts and Reeboks, hair cut trendily short and gelled, as Western as you please, and lumbering along in their snappy wake, struggling with the shopping and the swathes of draperies, two or three ambulatory swathes of black sheeting.

The time devoted to the micromanagement of women in most, not all, Muslim societies is unique in the world, not shared by any other society. Plus, there's an entire sub-category in the Islamic publishing industry for manuals by mullahs on how to beat disobedient wives and daughters without leaving a mark. When Western men are watching football or cruising the home improvement aisles for new gadgets, Muslim men are working themselves into a lather worrying whether a female family member is showing a wrist.

Which brings us to "honor killings", or, if you insist on clarity, the tolerance of the murder of girls and women for stepping out of line.

This is so routine in many Muslim societies, the perversity of it is seldom questioned within those societies. We know there is even provision for it in some countries, such as Jordan, which gives lesser penalties to men who commit "honor killings" to "remove a stain from the tribe" than for other murders. They also give a free pass to a man who kills his wife because he suspects she might have committed adultery, and a rapist has his sentence reduced if the woman he raped wasn't a virgin. (By contrast, Pakistan has re-introduced the death penalty specifically for this crime, with accomplices being handed an automatic life imprisonment. According to Pacific News writer Muddassir Rizvi, in 1999-2001, there are estimated to have been 1,100 "honor killings" there.)

And just as genital mutilation takes place in Britain with British doctors turning a blind eye in the name of "multiculturalism", so the murder of disobedient girls and women is countenanced, or at least not reported by the neighbors.

Infractions meriting the death penalty by dad are: being caught with make-up in one's purse, wearing "revealing" attire -- in other words, anything except a black serge curtain and a black pillowcase, refusing to marry the husband the family has chosen and made a deal with and, the worst capital crime in the book, going out with an indigenous British boy or a Lebanese Christian boy.

These are viewed as bringing "shame" on the family. Like murder doesn't.

In the cases in Britain in which a girl refuses to go to Pakistan and meet her new "husband", she is often bundled off to Pakistan anyway, but never comes back. When teachers become concerned and make enquiries, the parents claim she's "staying with relatives" in some remote village. Most often, she is dead. Exporting Muslim girls to murder them in the comfort of their own culture is not uncommon among Muslims in Britain and saves a lot of bother with the police.

But despite the conspiracy of silence, the one-way overseas trips and cover-ups, police estimate that there are 117 "honor killings" still unsolved in Britain. According to London's Daily Telegraph, Scotland Yard, announcing an initiative, said there is "growing evidence that women in the Asian community [British media code for Muslim] are being subjected to violence and sometimes murdered for defying cultural traditions." According to the same article, the initiative was prompted by the conviction of Abdalla Yones, who stabbed his 16-year-old daughter 11 times and cut her throat after she began seeing a Christian boy, was jailed for life. London police say that at least two young Asian women are reported missing under mysterious circumstances every week.

In October of 2003, 21-year-old Sahjda Bibi was at home getting dressed for her wedding when her male cousin burst into the house, knifed her 22 times and left her dying on the floor covered with blood, in her wedding dress. A father of three, her cousin's dainty feelings had been offended because she had broken the family tradition of only marrying first cousins. In addition, the man she had fallen in love with and was preparing to marry, was divorced.

In the case of Abdallah Yones, the Muslim Council of Britain, which has never encountered an accusation against Muslim failure to integrate in Britain that it wasn't eager to disavow, popped up in the person of irritating apologist Inayat Bunglawala. Bunglawala, ever ready with a quote or a letter to the newspapers, told the BBC, "Many Muslims would understand Yones being upset by his daughter's apparent rejection of his faith", but they would never condone his actions.

"It may have been disheartening to see his daughter growing up not with his value system but someone else's. [In other words, the value system of the country that the father, a Kurdish refugee, had begged on his knees to get into.] But many Muslims are uncomfortable about how Islam has been dragged into this, because Islam categorically does not allow people to kill their own daughter."

That must be why they so often hire someone else to do it.

The initiative, launched last year in Britain, is part of a pan-European effort to protect young Muslim women from their families after police chiefs from EU countries met in The Hague last year. According to the BBC, contract killers are frequently used. There is also a new twist on bounty hunters - people, including women, who track Muslim girls who have run away from arranged marriages or beatings at home, and murder them.

The suicide rate among Asian women in Britain is four times that of the indigenous population and other immigrant groups. Being so tightly controlled and abused, suicide is often perceived as the only escape. Rosie Cowan, The Guardian's crime correspondent, writes, "While killings [are] more often carried out by men, women were sometimes involved. In some cases mothers and grandmothers handed a daughter over to her murderers." She quotes Commander Andy Baker, head of Scotland Yard's homicide squad, as saying, "Those who come to police are, without question, the tip of the iceberg." London police have been advised by a behavioral psychologist to listen carefully to any young girl or woman who gets up the nerve to walk into a police station, and not to inform the families and not to try to mediate.

The fingers of "honor" killings snake through the EU, with its great masses of unassimilated Muslims living in self-imposed ghettoes and seething with contempt for their host societies. In Holland, 60 percent of women in women's shelters are Muslim. In Berlin, there is a safehouse for young Turkish women to hide to escape family violence. In the vast social housing estates of Paris and other northern cities in France, violence, including rape, is perpetrated for such minor infractions as running out to the grocery store without wearing a headscarf. In Sweden, a female Muslim campaigner against "honor" killings was herself shot dead by her father for having a relationship with a Swedish man.

Kathleen Knox, for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, writes that in Prague, a 14-year-old Turkish girl was on her way to the supermarket when she was kidnapped and raped. When she was rescued, her father allegedly murdered her and buried her in a forest. The 14-year-old had "stained the family honor" by being overpowered by an adult male and raped.

The United Nations estimates that at least 5,000 women and girls worldwide are murdered every year by way of cleansing some primitive sense of family honor, many of them, like the girl above, having "dishonored" the family by having the temerity to be rape victims.

Meanwhile, Muslim apologists in European countries continue to loftily inform shocked Westerners that, while being perfectly understandable, "honor killing" isn't "the real Islam" and the police and doctors tread lightly for fear of being accused of "racism" (although, obviously, Islam isn't a race).

Former British Home Minister Mike O'Brien described multiculturalism as an excuse for "moral blindness", while Britain's Dhimmi-in-Chief, foreign secretary Jack Straw, praising the progress made by Turkey (population 70 million) in working towards joining the European Union (where it would shortly thereafter become the largest member), which is estimated to have at least 200 honor killings per year, is quoted as saying, "Turkey has undergone remarkable changes over the last few years, putting in place the extensive reforms the EU asked of it. The EU must now deliver its side of the bargain."

In return, Turkey has graciously temporarily shelved a proposal to criminalize adultery.

[For a horrific story of the experience of a young Palestinian girl whose family decided to murder her (she overheard them, including her mother, planning it) for becoming pregnant although not married, and who was rescued and brought to the West while her body was still so charred that the other airline passengers complained of the smell, follow this link.

The author is a frequent TCS contributor. She wrote about Unfriendly Skies in October.

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