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Dis-honor Murders by Muslims in America and Elsewhere

Honor Killings in America
7/21/2010
by Judy

I was amazed to see a cover story about honor killings in America in Marie Claire. I hardly ever look at the magazines at my hairdresser’s, but this jumped out at me so I read the article, An American Honor Killing by Abigail Pesta. Pesta is an editor of the magazine, and this was clearly a big investigative project.

It’s the story of Noor Almaleki; Ann has reported on the case in several posts. It begins:

Around the sprawling, sunbaked campus of Dysart High School in El Mirage, Arizona, not many people knew about the double life of a pretty, dark-haired girl named Noor Almaleki.

At school, she was known as a fun-loving student who made friends easily. She played tennis in a T-shirt emblazoned with the school mascot — a baby demon in a diaper. She liked to watch Heroes and eat at Chipotle. Sometimes she talked in a goofy Keanu Reeves voice. She wore dark jeans, jeweled sandals, and flowy tops from Forever 21. She texted constantly and called her friends “dude.” In other words, she was an American girl much like any other.

But at home, Noor inhabited a darker world. She lived a life of subservience, often left to care for her six younger siblings. Noor’s father, 49-year-old Faleh Almaleki, was strict and domineering, deeming it inappropriate for her to socialize with guys, wear jeans, or post snapshots of herself on MySpace. Her responsibility was to follow orders, or to risk a beating. From her father’s perspective, the only time Noor’s life would ever change would be when she married a man he selected for her — back in his homeland of Iraq. Noor, however, had a different vision for herself. Having lived in the U.S. for 16 years, she held dreams of becoming a teacher, of marrying a man she loved, and, most importantly, of making her own choices.

So her father ran over her with his SUV crushing her face and her spine. She died of her injuries.

The fact that this was an honor killing was minimized in the media that reported on the crime. But the Marie Claire article confronts it.

Local police characterized the incident as an attempted “honor killing” — the murder of a woman for behaving in a way that “shames” her family. It’s a practice with deep, tenacious roots in the tribal traditions of the Middle East and Asia. (The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women die annually from such crimes.) Women are stoned, stabbed, and, in the recent case of a teenage girl in Turkey, tied up and buried alive. But honor killings in America are a chilling new trend. In Texas, teen sisters Amina and Sarah Said were shot dead in 2008, allegedly by their father, because they had boyfriends. That same year in Georgia, 25-year-old Sandeela Kanwal was allegedly strangled by her father for wanting to leave an arranged marriage. Last year in New York, Aasiya Hassan, 37, was murdered in perhaps the most gruesome way imaginable: She was beheaded, allegedly by her husband, for reportedly seeking a divorce. And this past spring, 19-year-old Tawana Thompson’s husband gunned her down in Illinois, reportedly following arguments about her American-style clothing.

Amazingly, honor killings in the U.S. have been largely ignored by the national media. That’s because these incidents are typically dismissed as “domestic” in nature — a class of crime that rarely makes the headlines. Since the murderer is a member of the woman’s family, there’s no extended investigation to capture the public’s attention. Also, the family of the perpetrator rarely advocates for the victim, due to either fear or a belief that the woman got what she deserved. “From the family’s point of view, if the goal is to end rumors about their female relative, the last thing they want is to have the press talk about the case,” says Rana Husseini, a human-rights activist and author of Murder in the Name of Honor. Still, the lack of media coverage or public outcry cannot erase the evidence: Honor killings have washed up on our shores.

They don’t emphasize the Muslim aspect, but they don’t completely ignore it. Their main emphasis is the crushing of a girl who wanted to become American, and the reaction of her friends and acquaintances. One friend established a Facebook group that now has almost 4,000 members, in Noor’s memory and to discuss honor killings. – Source

Muslim Mother stabbed Muslim daughter in ‘honor crime’ says Canadian Police

6/14/2010

MONTREAL – Favouring her left forearm, on which spots of blood had soaked through the white bandage, the woman stood in the prisoner’s box looking crushed, accused of stabbing her own daughter in what police say was an “honour crime.”

After her lawyer, Tom Pentefountas, asked to delay the formal laying of charges so his client’s psychological fitness for trial could be determined, the woman’s husband stood up in the back of the court and shouted to the judge: “Please sir, my wife is innocent!”

He soon began to weep, completing the picture of a family utterly torn asunder by what transpired early Sunday morning.

The 19-year-old daughter remains in hospital with knife wounds to the head, shoulders and arms.

It’s believed that the daughter came home late, Pentefountas, a prominent name in the Montreal legal community, indicated to the court.

One source said she is believed to have returned home after 3 a.m. The assault happened just after 8, according to police.

Police based their theory that it was an honour crime on “what we saw at the scene of the crime,” said Olivier Lapointe, spokesperson for the Montreal Police Service, and especially on interviews with people inside the house and the victim herself.

It appeared related to the “behavior of the victim,” Lapointe said.

The woman, 38-year-old Johra Kaleki, faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

According to Amnesty International, there are more than 5,000 honour crimes in the world each year.

They are an “ancient practice” in a number of countries tied more so to culture than religion. Typically the woman is murdered by a member of her own family after tarnishing the family’s honour for ostensibly “immoral” behavior, often in relation to virginity or modesty.

The three other daughters in the family are currently in the custody of provincial youth protection authorities.

The family, which is Afghan in origin, moved to the neighbourhood in Dorval, near Montreal’s main airport, about five years ago, according to neighbour Emery Dora.

The family was pleasant, but “mostly kept to themselves,” Dora said. For instance, the father and the girls would play together but not with other children in on the street. The father, Ebrahim Ebrahimi, wouldn’t let a younger daughter play soccer with other girls in their backyard, Dora added.

In court on Monday afternoon Kaleki, dropped her head in despair as Pentefountas asked the judge for a mental assessment for his client.

“We think there was a temporary lapse of mental capacity,” Pentefountas told Justice Serge Boisvert.

Boisvert said Kaleki is normally a “balanced individual,” but that it’s alleged she “lost possession of her capacity on that particular morning.”

Crown Prosecutor Anne Gauvin said the police file only states that she was “hysterical,” but did not oppose the mental assessment, which the judge agreed to.

The court granted Gauvin’s request to bar communication between Kaleki and her children, but not her husband.

“He’s an important witness in the Crown’s case,” Gauvin said.

Lapointe said according to their information, the husband tried to intervene during the alleged altercation.

Last summer, after a car was found submerged in the Kingston canal, a Montreal-area couple of Afghan origin were accused along with their son of killing their three daughters and another relative in what was also believed to be an honour crime. Their trial will begin next year.

Kaleki will be back in court July 12. – Source

Turkey pressured on honor killings
Families murder [female] members they view as having disgraced the
family — sometimes because they were raped or merely talked to a man.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Ignoring the pleas of his 14-year-old daughter to spare her life, Mehmet Halitogullari pulled on a wire wrapped around her neck and strangled her — supposedly to restore the family’s honor after she was kidnapped and raped.

Nuran Halitogullari, buried Thursday in a ceremony attended by women’s rights advocates, is the latest victim in a long history of so-called “honor” killings, which Turkey’s government is struggling to curb.

Each year, dozens of girls are killed in Turkey by their relatives for allegedly disgracing their families — some for merely being seen speaking to men. The practice is especially common in the more traditional southeast and among families who have migrated to big cities from the region.

Honor killings also occur in Pakistan and some countries of the Middle East and among immigrant families in EU countries like Britain and Sweden. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, is pressing the country to take steps to curb a practice it says is a violation of women’s rights.

Parliament last year voted to raise the punishment for such crimes to as long as 24 years in prison. But a loophole in the laws allows relatives to escape with sentences as light as eight years if they can prove they were “provoked” into committing the crime.

European countries want Turkey to ensure that family members cannot benefit from the loophole.

“No reductions should be made and everyone should know that such crimes will be punished and that no one can escape,” Sweden’s ambassador to Turkey, Anne Dismorr, said in an interview with the weekly Nokta magazine. “In our view the main cause behind the honor killings is the fact that honor is regarded as grounds for reduced sentences.”

Turkey has embarked on a major overhaul of its penal code and is expected to rectify the loophole, but the draft code is still weeks away from being endorsed. Some politicians on Thursday called on the government to immediately bring the issue to parliament.

Lawyer Senal Saruhan, a woman’s rights advocate, fears the draft may not go far enough. She insists that family members who incite or encourage the killings should be punished alongside the perpetrators.

“Unless we bring severe punishments we will never stop these killings,” she said.

Guldal Aksit, the minister in charge of women’s issues, added that attitudes are what really need to be addressed to stop the deeply entrenched practice. “These are not problems that we can solve on paper by changing laws … We need to educate society,” she said.

Women’s groups believe that a number of suicides among young women in the southeast are actually murders by relatives who believe they are saving the family honor. Often the youngest member of the family is forced to carry out the killings in the belief that a youth would get a less-stringent punishment.

On Wednesday, authorities charged two brothers with murder after they shot their 22-year-old sister in the head in her hospital bed, where she was recovering from an earlier attack by them. The woman had had a child out of wedlock.

Last year, a pregnant woman was reportedly stoned to death by her family after having an affair and buried in a pauper’s grave after her family refused to hold a funeral.

In the latest case, newspapers said Halitogullari was abducted in Istanbul on her way back from a trip to the supermarket and raped over six days. She was rescued by police and returned to her family.

The murder came to light this week but it was not clear when it took place.

In a rare confession, Mehmet Hatipogullari told police he and other relatives took the girl to an aunt’s home where he strangled her, ignoring her pleas and her cries.

“I decided to kill her because our honor was dirtied,” the newspaper Sabah quoted the father as saying. “I didn’t listen to her pleas, I wrapped the wire around her neck and pulled at it until she died.”

He said he buried her body beneath a chicken coop, which upset his other children, and later reburied her in a forest.

The newspaper said Halitogullari also had planned to kill his daughter’s rapist. – Source

Related articles:

Aqsa Parvez choked to death by her Muslim father and brother in Canada

Europe Grapples with “Honor Killings”

Amnesty International’s Fact Sheet on Honor Killings

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