The following is the text of a sermon delivered in a Chicago mosque where domestic violence within the Muslim community, a particular issue of concern is addressed. The Imam speaks directly of the brutal murder of the wife of moderate Bridges t.v. founder Hassan and condemns this brutal act connecting it to the increasing level of domestic violence within the Muslim community. Although he attempts to expunge his Muslim community of violence, he fails to address the fact that this form of violence is specific to Islam in the form of honour killing. He does however make reference to this term at the end of the sermon.
There can be no doubt that cultural aspects play a significant role in these murders. Domestic violence in western culture, as haenous as it is, rarely results in death in comparison. Honour killings however, portray a much different scenario. These killings are often premeditated with the compliance of family members and are sanctioned as a cultural and religious restoration of a good, family name. The shame of a woman’s illicit act, whatever it may be or however it is perceived by family, extended relatives and community, combined with the will to restore the honour of family forms a toxic mix of sanctioned violence. This is a recurring theme in these murders.
For many western apologists of Islam both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, it is a difficult if not impossible task to equate the slaying of a woman with Islam. But the Quaran itself in the absence of any central authority, is open to a multitude of interpretation, with every crackpot misogynist weighing in on the instruction and edict on the value of a woman’s life.
Guest speaker at the Chicago mosque Hesham Hassaballa states; ” Domestic violence may well indeed trancend race, culture, colour and religion. It is a scourge that contaminates very society and socioeconomic status. It is a stain on the human condition and to blame Islam for it is totally unfair”. I agree with him. It is a scourge, but what the good Imam fails to recognize or if he does recognize fails to address, is the import of sharia, and it’s religious and cultural sanctioned deficit for women. Honour killings are simply not the same as domestic violence crimes. Violence against a woman is a criminal act, yet an honour killing holds the separate component of religious and cultural relevance, a relevance inherant to Islam often excused by the community and swept under the cultural relativist carpet.
I presume the Imam at the Chicago mosque did his best to dissuade the wife beaters and any would be honour killers in his congegation to re-think their wayward ways and to seek the guidance of the prophet muhammed and Allah. I’m also certain that this same Imam believes that there is no difference between domestic violence and honour killing. But many, including myself, are growing weary and impatient with half-hearted lectures and weak proclamations; we now insist on the direct denouncement of sharia and it’s refusal as a legitimate form of counsel and religious edict. Denial is indeed deadly, Mr. Hassaballa. Until a strong denouncement is made and sharia rejected, honour killings will continue to masquerade as domestic violence.