Honour in Islam depends upon the dishonouring of women.
I suspect that by now many are familiar with the honour killing of Mississauga teenager Aqsa Parvez in December, 2007. Her story is a tragic one. A sixteen year old girl, lured back home by sweet promises of family resolution and endearments only in the end to be strangled to death in her family home. Both her father and brother sit in jail awaiting trial for their alleged collaboration of her murder. Ms. Parvez clearly understood the peril she faced and made no secret of confiding to friends her fear that one day her family would “restore the honour” that she had so compromised for wanting to assimilate to western culture, specifically by refusing to wear hijab.
In her memory, Islamists have decided to hyper focus upon and to ‘correct’ a fundamental flaw which they believe an ignorant, uninformed media seem to repeat when covering these stories: her murder cannot be described as an honour killing. To do so is a racist, bigoted act against Muslims and Islam. There is no connection as they so boldly assert between Islam and ‘honour’ killings, distancing themselves from the horrific reality within their community, insisting that to report otherwise is the fault of an undeniably Islamophobic, western press.
This December’s issue of Toronto Life magazine covers the brutal slaying of Aqsa Parvez and does describe it as an honour killing, a description that the author believes is an honest and accurate one. Predictably, the magazine has been deemed the latest offender engaged in Islam bashing, a now familiar criticism by Islamists and their apologizers wishing to divert unwanted attention. A protest has been launched by those who find offense in this apt description, calling for people to barrage the magazine’s editor Sarah Fulford with telephone and e-mail criticism.
Soon after Aqsa Parvez’s death, Mohammed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Canada’s grand mufti in waiting and top Islamist apologizer described her killing as a typical, “teenage issue”. He pointed out that he didn’t want the public to think that these murders are an Islamic or immigrant issue. I would not have expected any other statement from him. According to the CIC, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a dog.
To claim that honour killings are only a cultural phenomenon, denying the religiously motivated aspect is a lie of grandiose proportion. It is a crafted attempt to hide Islam’s misogyny and protect a gender apartheid system where half of the population is subjugated, viewed as stained and disposable and burdened with the suffocating task of maintaining the purity of Islamic society.
Phyllis Chesler writing an essay for Front Page Magazine and found on Women Against Sharia, states that “most honour killings are committed by Muslims who believe that what they are doing is a sacred, religious act. They may misunderstand the Qu’ran but as yet, no mullah or imam has stood up in the global, public square to condemn such murders as dishonourable and anti-Islamic”.
No fatwa has ever been issued against a Muslim honour killing.
Naomi Lakritz writes in the Calgary Herald that maybe as Canadians living in comfort, we can afford to play stupid word games, tripping all over ourselves to find new ways to avoid saying that some cultural (and I would add religious) practices are wrong. In seeking to legitimize some backward traditions, customs and religious edict(s) as worthy of equal respect in the name of multiculturalism do we not denigrate and belittle young women like Aqsa Parvez even more?
Former Muslim Syed Kamran Mirza author of an essay entitled ” Honour Killing is absulotuely Islamic!” cites that these killings can indeed be attributed to Quaranic passages and specific hadith(s). They are not, as he contends, to be confused with instances of domestic violence often described within a western atmosphere. Amongst other Quaranic citations, he references the following:
Qu’ran 4:15 ” If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them. Or God ordain for them some (other) way”.
Whether these vicious crimes are done in the name culture, tribalism, tradition or religious doctrine and are committed to regain a sense of honour should mean little to any thinking, caring person. Attempts by those who would seek to whitewash these murderous acts should be held to account, shamed and ridiculed by the global community.
If it looks like an honour killing, walks like an honour killing and talks like an honour killing, it is an honour killing. Honour in Islam depends upon the dishonouring of women and to claim otherwise is a lie.