Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nothing honourable in killing

Why do we do people who murder their own family members in cold blood the dignity of calling them "honour killings?"

Yet again in the news we have the story of a young woman who was murdered by her father and uncle for doing nothing more than falling in love with someone. My parents haven't always liked my boyfriends (in hindsight, they were probably right but at least my taste has improved with age) but they didn't see it as their business to get involved.

Poor Banaz Mahmod, however, did not have the good fortune to be born to parents who weren't evil, nasty, bigoted arseholes. For her body was found three months after her disappearance, decomposed after she had been murdered by her own family.

There again, my parents aren't very religious, nor are they Muslim, which is the religion where most of these murderers seem to come from. And no, I'm not being an 'Islamophobe' or any other new terms given to people who speak out against things they don't like have been branded. Like Female Genital Mutilation and laws which say that rape must either be proved by the testimony of four men or by a confession from the perpetrator, they are most common in Islamic countries or groups.

Let's expand the last bit further: If a woman has unlawful sexual intercourse, she can be put to death by stoning. If she has been raped and, naturally, her testimony is not sufficient for evidence, then she can be killed by the state for being a victim.

The Hudood Ordinances are a set of laws in Pakistan intended to make the criminal justice system conform with Islamic law. These laws cover offences including Zina crimes (unlawful sexual intercourse including adultery and rape) and Qazf (wrongful accusation of Zina crimes)

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, every two hours a woman is raped in Pakistan and every eight hours a woman is subjected to gang rape. The frequency of rape is thought to be much higher but many rapes remain unreported due to a combination of social taboos, discriminatory laws and victimization by the police. Meanwhile, Pakistani law is punishing victims of rape as though they were criminals while the perpetrators go free.

According to Ms Sood, who specialises in Asian family cases, "honour crimes of some sort" whether or not they resulted in death, were becoming more common in the UK.
"But certainly honour crimes are being perpetrated in the hundreds every year,"

Can anyone tell me what is honourable about them? Why are we calling them that when it's murder? Why are we giving these people any kind of an excuse because of their religious and cultural background? It's illegal in this country to kill people, regardless of whether or not their actions may bring 'shame' on the family, and as these people are living in this country they should abide by those laws. Fine

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