Sunday, April 22, 2018

An American Bride in Kabul
Macmillan books

Phyllis Chesler

...In the West, batterers and wife killers are not celebrated—they are shunned. If possible, they are also prosecuted. Hindus in India and Muslims worldwide who commit honor killings are viewed as heroes who have saved their family’s honor. Thus, they feel no shame or remorse.

I initially sailed into what was, for me, uncharted territory. Over time, I increasingly made it a point to find and cite all those whose work in this area had preceded mine. Their names are legion and are listed in the bibliographies of my studies. Researchers in the 20th century, (Ginat, Glazer and Abu Ras), others in the 21st century, (Berko, Brandon and Hafez, Ghanim, Feldner, Kulczycki and Windle, Lasson, Pope, Rosen, Saltzman, Storhaug, Weber, Welchman and Hossain, Wikan), studied the phenomenon of honor killing. Without exception, scholars agree that an honor killing is not like Western domestic violence.

Only those who believe that it is shameful to expose anything negative about Muslims, especially if it is true, silence such exposure by “shaming” it as racist and “Islamophobic.”

In the 1990s and into the 21st century, an increasing number of journalists also began to cover honor killing cases, especially if the perpetrators were brought to trial; memoirs and books were written about honor killing and attempted honor killings among immigrants in the West and in developing countries. A number of important films appeared on this subject including: Banaz: A Love Story; Dukhtar; A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness; The Price of Honor, FOX: Honor Killings in America...

The United Nations still continues to insist that there are only 5,000 honor killings, worldwide. However, in 2010, according to two legal researchers in India, there were roughly 900 reported honor killings in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh alone while 100-300 additional, recorded honor killings took place in the rest of the country. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 800 women were killed for honor in Pakistan in 2010.

Both figures likely represent only the tip of the iceberg. According to the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani human rights organization: “At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the calendar year 2011 for allegedly defaming their family’s honor.” Almost 77 percent of such honor cases ended in acquittals.

Although no “true” measure of incidence is possible, I decided to do what was feasible. For my next study, I relied upon the global, English-language coverage of reported honor killings in 29 countries and territories as long as all the variables I wanted to study were known. Given these limitations, it is amazing that I found so many statistically significant differences.

In “Worldwide Trends in Honor Killing,” I studied 230 cases which took place between 1989-2009 in Europe, North America, and in the Muslim world. There were two kinds of honor killings or rather two very different targets. A classic honor killing targeted victims who were an average age of 17; the second, less frequent honor killing targeted victims who were an average age of 36. These age differences were statistically significant.

The younger-age victims were killed by their families-of-origin 81 percent of the time worldwide.

The group of older-age women most closely resembled a Western-style domestic violence dispute turned murderous. They were usually killed by their husbands but even here there were significant differences. Nearly half (44 percent) the time, murderous husbands were assisted either by their own families or by their victim’s family.

Motives were significantly different across continents; in the West, victims were killed for being too “Western; in the Muslim world, it was mainly for allegedly committing an “inappropriate sexual act.” The rate of torture-murders were at their highest in Europe. Perhaps those who were tempted to assimilate had to serve as human sacrifices and object lessons of what could happen to those who “Westernized”...

My 2012 academic comparison of “Hindu and Muslim honor killings in India, Pakistan and the the West” documented significant differences in terms of motives. Hindus honor kill when caste violations are committed; Muslims for many different reasons; Hindus often kill the men as well as women, whereas Muslims rarely do. Hindus do not bring this custom with them when they come to the West; Muslims, and to a much lesser extent, Sikhs, do.

At the outset, I did not understand the role that women played in honor killings as conspirators, collaborators, and as hands-on perpetrators. As the author of Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, I should have suspected this, but since maternal filicide is such an unthinkable act, my understanding dawned slowly...

Women are known instigators and collaborators, and are sometimes either the ones who lure their daughters home to certain death or are themselves hands-on perpetrators. Such mothers have rarely been charged in America. I documented this in “When Women Commit Honor Killings” in 2015.

Once I was certain about the probable tribal origin of honor killing, I made a point of stressing that. Surprisingly few Muslim or ex-Muslim dissidents “heard” me; they were too invested in blaming Islam. Some Hindus tried to persuade me that Hindus did not perpetrate such crimes but, even if they did, that they had probably learned it from Muslims. More interesting: Even fewer Islamists understood that my tentative conclusion helped support the argument that honor killings are not necessarily religiously mandated...

Ultimately, I held—and still hold—both the Hindu and Muslim leadership responsible for failing to abolish this barbarous custom.

Although people know that the majority of honor killings in the West are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes, the American mainstream media nevertheless persists in focusing on Hindu honor killings in India and rarely on Muslim honor killings in North America. A recent “Islamically correct” pseudo-academic study on this subject ridiculously suggests that Hindus in America bear watching, that they are the problem...

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