Phyllis Chesler has some searching questions regarding the murder of Aasiya Z. Hassan. This was no ordinary murder. She was beheaded by her husband. The question that is raised here is: was it an honour killing or just domestic violence? It does not matter to me what it is called because domestic violence that ends in death is as much an evil as honour killing. The difference though is that honour killing is a practice amongst cultures where the majority belong to Islam. This is why we make the link to Islam when we read and then talk about honour killings. Yet, there is always that cultural component to take into consideration. In this case Aisiya Hassan and her husband Mohammed came from Pakistan. Hassan is a well respected banker within the Muslim community in Buffalo.
This raises the question about honour killings, which is something that is often denied as being unIslamic. Just like in the USA, and the UK, Australia has had its share of honour killings, and the victim has almost always been a young girl who has brought “dishonour” about her family becuase she wanted to have an Australian boyfriend. The killer is usually the father, or another relative such as a brother, and the girl is usually brutally stabbed to death.
I do not believe that we understand the nature of honour killings. We do not fully appreciate the nature of Muslim society. We do not understand that the men own the wife, daughter or sister. This is why these crimes in Muslim lands are not criminalized. Some Muslims claim that honour killings are against Islam but that is also not true.
If anyone believes that this is not Islamic then think about the statistics that have come to light – that 90% of women in Pakistan are routinely beaten both in childhood and as wives and mothers. Also take into consideration that there are mullahs who have openly stated that it is ok to beat the wife or daughter, and remember that some of the most horrific crimes that are perpetrated these days are ones involving girls from Pakistan or other Muslim lands who have wanted to be freed from the violence.
I have a question for all of the feminists who want to reclaim the night, and who rail about domestic violence: why is it that not one voice is raised to help these women, who are our sisters when they are being treated like animals? Why is there not one voice being raised against honour killings?