A Follow-up to the Texas “Honor Killing” Piece

I think that there have been a lot of good comments to the piece the other day on the killing of the two Muslim girls in Texas, masha’Allah. I am in agreement that it is true that many in the media and outside political forces will use whatever they can to give a bad reputation to Muslims and there are those who will take advantage of this case and use it for propaganda purposes. However, I think that if Muslims are keeping it real, and being honest with themselves, they will also admit that we have a problem in the community and saying that others do the same thing is not exactly addressing the problem.An example of this came to me this morning when a Muslim couple was having a conversation on this topic. The husband, an African-American Muslim said he wished he would see the guy who killed his daughter so he could either beat him or collect the reward for capturing him; but the wife, a Muslim woman from Morocco, defended the man, chastised the dead girls, and said that “America is a bad society” because fathers are not “real men” and do not “defend the honor” of their girls.

This is not the first time I have heard something like this and it will not be the last. A Palestinian brother who was a friend of mine who I used to do security at the masjid with told me that he saw what is known as “honor killings” as a part of the deen. He was not a bad person, as a matter of fact this was a very nice brother who volunteered a lot of his time to the community; but he grew-up in a culture where this was seen as a part of the deen and it had never been challenged in his mind.

So, I am not going to say that this is not a problem in the Muslim ummah and then try and say this happens with other people too, because it has no logical bearing on the situation within the Muslim community.

My overall point is that “Honor killing” is a cultural practice and not Islamic and as an example of this I will point to an example that a brother gave me the other day;

“Point to me an example, even one, of an American-Muslim born and raised here in America, who has ever committed an “honor killing”. Can they point to even one?”

The answer to this question is no. The lesson, that “honor killing” does exist in the Muslim World, amongst other places, and there are those coming from those areas who will defend it; but this is a cultural practice with nothing to do with Islam, hence Muslims coming from places where this is not a practice will not pick up this bad behavior because it has no Islamic justification.

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45 thoughts on “A Follow-up to the Texas “Honor Killing” Piece

  1. I dont think the Muslim community should also let incidences like these make them feel guilty as parents who have rights over their children. Our children are an amaanah arent they? Wont we be questioned about them on that Great day? We still have a responsibility to raise them and expect their obedience.

    People will use this as a way to emasculate Muslim parents in the face of disobedient children. If the children are minors, Muslim parents should be support just like any other parent would.

  2. Salaams:

    Parenting takes a lot of patience. Whose “honor” is maintained by the murder of children? Or wives? Certainly not the honor of the children/wives. Sounds like a face-saving measure to me.

    Honor killing is in the same class as female genital mutilation: part of culture and not Islam.

    The Moroccan sister said that “America is a bad society” because fathers are not “real men” and do not “defend the honor” of their girls. Was the father in Texas a born American?

    Does anyone here remember the days of “shot-gun weddings” in America? Where did our honor go?

  3. Some churches maintain “homes” where disobedient, uncontrollable children can be sent. Why weren’t mosques or imams or even people in the congregation helping this family?

    Probably lots of people knew that the girls were driving him crazy.

  4. To one with a highly experienced eye, it is obvious the murders of the beautiful Said sisters of suburban Dallas were dishonor killings.

    But it is also the case that dishonor killings are pre-Islamic and un-Islamic. They have more to do with culture than with faith.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

  5. Umar, I think this is more or less limited to Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims.

    Has there been a single honor killing committed by Balkan Muslims or Indonesian or Malay or even Hui Muslims? Nope, not at all.

    And keep in mind that just last year, in Chicago, an Assyrian man beat his daughters and his wife with a hammer in an honor killing also, so it is DEFINITELY not limited to Muslims, but will that trashy whore Brigitte Gabriel mention that? Obviously not. Hell, she never even mentioned the Hindu mobs attacking Christians in eastern India, that should clue others on how biased this stupid piece of trash is.

  6. Eliza,

    That isnt such a bad idea actually. What is very sad is that the kinds of behaviors that wayward children exhibit is so celebrated when done by Muslim children especially girls. Doesnt matter that it is self destructive and will leave these girls hallow.

    However there probably isnt a need for facilities like these for Muslim children. Children dont behave like this in a vacuum they tend to have friends or relatives who are in cooperation with them. If you dont have a huge Muslim community like you find in Europe, you will not have these problems. Smaller communities are more concientious.

  7. There are definitely places where girls who are running amok can be sent. Removed from idiot friends, bad family situations, etc. they can straighten out.

  8. Salam alaikoum
    I beg to differ with Danial on the ethnicity of honor killings. Maybe the demographic is different in the US, but in Europe you hear of Balkan “honor” killings rather frequently. Not to mention things at the other end of the violence spectrum- beatings or whatever do not know ethnic boundaries. Whatever the stats are, I don’t think this is an ethnic thing, it’s a pan-Ummah thing and until these issues are addressed as an Ummah rather than everyone saying “oh that’s a Desi thing” or “oh that’s a middle eastern thing”, which I think goes back to your original point, Brother Umar.

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    Amina, 18, and Sarah, 17, who both attended Lewisville High School, were found shot to death in a taxi at an Irving motel January 1, 2008.

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  10. “…but in Europe you hear of Balkan “honor” killings rather frequently.”

    Are you sure you’re not referring to honor killings committed by Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as opposed to Bosniak and Albanian immigrants?

  11. From what I understand, the girls were 17 and 18. There is very little you can do for a person at that age if they are not a willing participant in their own “rehab.”

    I have seen this before, immigrant parents totally ignore their children while they are young, don’t take them to mosques, don’t send them to Islamic schools, don’t teach them anything about their own religion, and expect them to be good children in a terrible environment.
    Only after the children are grownup, and start acting “non-Islamic” that they realize they have a serious problem on their hands and that something must be done. So they start preaching to them, and forcing them to go to mosques or hanging out with kids who are very different than they are. Thats when rebellion strikes and the father goes insane.
    Most of the time, the father doesn’t kill his children. A lot of times they decide “its time to go back to the home country” and pickup and leave; however they return very quickly because they themselves cannot live overseas anymore.

    Its a terrible trend, and Muslim parents have to realize that they need to raise their kids differently than if they were back home.

    Sad sad, poor girls, Allah Yirhamhum.

  12. where girls who are running amok

    The problem is these girls were not running amok, if that even mattered. They were honor students, seems to be descent normal American teenagers.

    Muslim men can’t come to America, marry a Non-Muslim(in this case he was 30, she was 15 when they got married and he has the nerve to get upset of over his daughters having a boyfriend”. They do nothing to raise their kids in the Deen and then when she is almost an adult and behaving as she was raised, start to act crazy and want to put down the law.

    Honestly a lot of Muslims need to stay in Muslim countries, they can’t handle the West and its best they don’t come here.

  13. Anon, you are right, he should not have married a non muslim, nor should he have come here. Tragic that they didn’t realize how dangerous he had become.

    Both boys and girls if raised very strictly, every little move monitored, may completely rebel against the parent’s beliefs, lifestyle, everything. As they grow older they may or may not come back.

    Best not to be too slack or too strict. Good luck.

  14. I was born and raised in Israel . I never heard of honor killing anywhere in the middle east. only in America. So I’m not an American Muslim! and I wont kill my own kids over religion. I do understand this is has nothing to do with Islam. This is going on with alot of culture for example Indian has that problem . Americans too when the wifes go missing it’s because he caught her cheating! these all come to the same conclusions ,but everyone has a different name for it. People from over seas are not bad , and stop saying you won’t commit this because your an American Muslim . I hate to tell you this but only Americans has that problem ! shalom

  15. Danial, thank you, but I think I know the difference between Moroccan and Bosniak.

    I could give you a million links and we could trade links all day long so I am not going to go there. Go on any European news website or womens’/human rights group. None of them say “we don’t have to worry about people from Albania doing honor killings”. You are blind if you think one culture is excluded from a global pandemic.

    But that is still not my original point. I am not here to bash Albanians or Bosnians or whatever. Crimes against women are a pan-Ummah problem, and each time someone tries to say, “oh that’s (insert culture here)” it just deflects from the problem.

  16. Killing a child does not erase your years of sloppy or bad parenting. And it will not help you on the last day. Why don’t people realize that?

  17. Loretta you are full of feces! Honor Killing exists in the middle east. The middle east is not the land of the chaste and many would like to believe as I see many girls in parked cars each night getting their groove on (where’s the self respect?).

    Yes, I remember shot gun weddings LOL

  18. Some selected text from the latest story at dallasnews.com:

    Mr. Said often espoused his version of traditional Middle Eastern values, prompting speculation the murders were “honor killings,” an ancient Arab tribal custom in which the man of the family kills women he believes have shamed the family. The practice is now widely repudiated.
    –news writer commentary-

    By most accounts, the family did not regularly attend religious services, or practice daily Muslim prayer.
    –news writer commentary-

    But cultural differences – especially divisions over gender roles – led to tension in the family.
    –news writer commentary-

    “He found notes from her boyfriend,” said a 17-year-old Trinity senior, who asked not to be identified. “Her lips were pretty much attached to her braces, but they wouldn’t take her to the doctor because her family feared her father would be taken to jail.”
    –unidentified female–

    “I remember her telling me that her dad told her he would take her back to Egypt and have her killed,” she said. “He said it’s OK to do that over there if you dishonor your family.”
    –unidentified female–

    Eventually, friends and family members say, Mr. Said moved his family from Euless to Lewisville to break up his daughter and her boyfriend. Some Muslims believe that it can be religiously acceptable for Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women but that it is never acceptable for a Muslim woman to marry outside the faith.
    –news writer commentary-

    Sarah never shared her address with her closest friends for fear of what her father might say or do if they came by the house, said Zohair Zaidi, a devout Muslim whom Sarah turned to in her quest to become more religious.
    –Zohair Zaidi–

    “She always used that term, ‘He would kill me, I would be dead,’ ” said Mr. Zaidi, the 18-year-old college freshman. She kept his phone number under a female name in her cellphone.
    –Zohair Zaidi–

    Massoud Nasseri, owner of King Cab, has known Mr. Said for a number of years.

    He described him as a good father and a decent man.

    He said Muslim children who are born here or spend most of their lives here are “caught between a rock and a hard place.” They want to do what their parents want, but they also want to follow their friends.

    “They always battle within themselves about what they need to do,” he said. “I call it the clash of the culture and that’s what it comes down to. The kids were born here and part of their blood is Muslim, part of their blood is Christian, and they are caught in between.”
    –Massoud Nasseri–

    Mrs. Said called Lewisville police Dec. 27 to tell them she and her daughters were safe. The report reads:

    “Patricia stated that she was not going to call back again, as she was in great fear of her life. Patricia said she is very fearful of her husband harming her and/or her children, which is the reason she left her husband. Patricia further advised she and her children, Sarah and Amina, are just fine, and are going to continue hiding from her husband.”
    –news writer commentary on Mrs. Said’s words.–

    The next day an officer filed a reported recommending the case be closed, citing an interview with one of Mrs. Said’s relatives.

    “Patricia had told her that since they are Muslim that the daughter was only allowed to date other Muslims. Yaser had found out she went on a date with a non-Muslim and became very angry and threatened her with bodily harm. This concerned Patricia because Yaser has been violent in the past and Patricia was afraid that Yaser would severely hurt their daughter. At that time Patricia decided it would be best to leave her husband and take their daughters and go into hiding.”
    –news writer commentary of Mrs. Said’s relative–

    On New Year’s Eve, Mrs. Said and her daughters returned to Lewisville. Amina told her aunt that her mother lied to her, saying the trip was to put flowers on their grandmother’s grave. Mrs. Said told police she felt guilty about leaving her husband.
    –news writer commentary —

    Later that night, a dispatcher at the Irving Police Department picked up a 911 cellphone call from Sarah….
    –news writer commentary —

  19. It is clear the religion was not really a part of this. First it is known that they didnt attend mosque nor did anyone in the family keep prayers. The father married a Christian, and then you see the “gem” below:

    ““Patricia had told her that since they are Muslim that the daughter was only allowed to date other Muslims.”

    Muslims are not allowed to “date” period, whether other Muslims, or anyone else. If the father was okay with her dating Muslims, then it is 100% clear that Islam was not the motivation here. If it was any dating of ANY kind would have been out of the question.

    When the mother makes it clear that the girls would have been allowed to date Muslims, then she makes it clear that they followed no religion in their house.

  20. Abu Sinan,

    While I agree that Islam is not what killed the girls, the Islamic make-up of the father is surely intertwined to some degree. Saying it is 100% clear that it is not is not particularly helpful and that type of response is what Umar was alluding to in his initial post.

    Where is the line where Islamic influence ends and normative cultural influence begins? I am under the impression that Islam is the culture that encompasses all facets of a Muslim’s life.

    You commented that there is no dating in Islam, period. In their case, living in the US for over twenty years, there was a degree of Islamic influence that one may say will certainly differ than that of Saudi Arabia today for example’s sake.

    We do not know the specifics. From the article, the girl was forced to hide a phone friendship with a Muslim male, so that fact, if true, does not support your position. Maybe the father was against the girls dating at all and was being deceived by them. Matybe western culture was wearing on his patience over time. Maybe when he found out they were dating non-Muslims that was what made him snap. I don’t know, nor do you. The mother and the father did not appear to be on the same page here.

    His supposed statement about taking her back to Egypt to “deal with her” because it is permitted is odd. Religious or cultural? It is both.

    You claim they were irreligious, by your standards anyway. It is not that cut and dry. Maybe the father still considered himself a Muslim and determined that his daughter’s ceased to be and decided it best to kill them, or worse, felt obligated to do so.

    “They always battle within themselves about what they need to do,” he said. “I call it the clash of the culture and that’s what it comes down to. The kids were born here and part of their blood is Muslim, part of their blood is Christian, and they are caught in between.”
    –Massoud Nasseri–

    Regards,

    awake

  21. I wonder if the usual pundits would evoke similar fear-mongering had the father been a Coptic Christian who was angry over her Coptic daughter dating a Muslim.

    And we all know much hatred Copts hold against other Muslims (even non-Egyptian Muslims who have nothing to do with Egypt).

  22. fear-mongering?

    “had the father been a Coptic Christian who was angry over her Coptic daughter dating a Muslim.”

    I don’t know. Let’s wait and see. I fail to see your point about Coptic Christian hatred against Muslims, however.

    Is it a major problem in Egypt? Coptic Christian hatred that is? All of the 15% percent of them, demographically speaking?

  23. “the Islamic make-up of the father is surely intertwined to some degree.”

    What have we got here? A geneto-sociologist in the making. Wonder where all these fine upstanding bigots were when 37 year old Alia Ansari, a mother of sex was murdered execution style in Fremont, California.
    I guess it doesn’t count unless the killer is a Muslim.

  24. Yah Eliza …….and if you bothered to learn about Islam, you’d know what is from Islam and what is from culture. But you’re too busy hating aren’t you?

  25. So says the lying Eliza skank, the racist troll who posts under multiple names(check out Muslim Matters blog), almost always without anything remotely intelligent to say. The product of an inferior and paranoid culture which pretends it has a spotless record and blames all its problems on others.

  26. Eliza- You’re assuming most Muslims know much about their religion. The people you talk to in here are practicing Muslims…meaning that it it plays an important part in how they structure their lives. Growing up nominally Muslims myself, most people only take notice to Islam when Ramadan comes so they can fast during the day and feast at night.

    So of course to people in here, it’s not Islam.Because they actually read and study it, think and analyse it. Most nominal Muslims don’t even pray once a day, let alone 5 times a day. Praying five times a day is a pillar of Islam, meaning it’s something you’re required to do. So if most Muslims don’t do it…well what can I say. Are thier actions now Islamic?

  27. DrM,

    With all due respect, the limited time I spend here, you have been called out as an anti-Zionist, by your brethren.

    Understanding that basic principle of your make-up, you hate “Shlomos”, we get it, your words lack any fire-power.

    That being said, I challenge you to explain how normative “cultural” norms, ancient ones, like honor killings, which are prevalent in the Middle Eastern cultures, have endured Islam’s corrective 1300 years plus of education and influence?

    The lack of traffic on your “Maxtor” blog speaks volumes. Sure, you spend more time trolling on blogs by Tariq Nelson and our gracious host, Umar Lee, because even you must get tired of hearing your own Islamic rhetoric from time to time, essentially arguing with yourself.

    I originally posted a local news article on the subject and initially responded to Abu Sinan, who I personally happen to respect quite deeply, although I disagreed with the value of him not only reiterating Umar’s position, that this act was 100% cultural, 0% Islamic, which I also disagree with, but went on further to essentially declare that the man is not even a Muslim.

    Abu Sinan wrote:
    “When the mother makes it clear that the girls would have been allowed to date Muslims, then she makes it clear that THEY followed no religion in their house.”

    The “cap” above is my revision and I do not accept that statement. That statement does nothing but ensure that this behavior in the Muslim community will continue, regardless of the specific geographical demographics.

    Regards,

    awake

  28. Eliza, it maybe you should follow your own beliefs rather than keep harping on Islam.
    You believe what you believe and we believe what we believe.
    :-) Have a good day.

  29. I don’t have anything on Muslim Matters. “The product of an inferior and paranoid culture….” Dr. Mock, how is it you always describe yourself when slamming others?

    Your imams are following islam, presumably. They seem the worst of the lot.

  30. As-salaamu alaikum:

    We are being in complete denial saying that this is not at least “to a certain extent” part of the deen. It happens all the time in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, in Indo-Pak, in al-Maghrib, Somalia, and yes in the Balkans, in many other places, and yes, even in extremist, fanatically “secular” (at least officially) Turkey!

    A question to everyone:

    Is killing non-combatants (non-Muslims) unIslamic and haraam? I would say YES, no doubt. But obviously many, many practicing and PIOUS Muslims fanatically, TOTALLY disagree. For example, in Falasteen (where so-called “honor” killings happen frequently), if a Muslim kills a Yahoodi (a noncombatant, not a terrorist zionist soldier), this is seen as something that is very, very good, and totally, 100% halaal. It doesn’t matter that they blew themselves up at a restaurant or cafe inside Israel/the zionist entity, killing women, and children, or even babies. The mother, and family will often give away sweets and celebrate, etc. (as this person is seen as a shaheed). What is ISLAMIC about this????? Yet, can you deny that many, many, many pious Muslims agree with these acts in Falasteen? (the killing of noncombatant Yahoodi)

    So that’s my point. How can we say that so-called “honor killings” are not at least to a certain extent part of the deen, when Muslims, everywhere, regardless of ethnicity, are carrying out these acts?

  31. The girls said they did not want a muslim funeral. I think that means they blamed Islam for their father’s behavior.

    All I have gotten from reading about Islam and Mo is that criminal expedients are ok if used in furthering – you guessed it – Islam.

  32. “and yes in the Balkans, in many other places, and yes, even in extremist, fanatically “secular” (at least officially) Turkey! ”

    Provide some evidence that honor killings occur in the Balkans, and yes they do occur in Turkey amongst the rural population.

  33. If “honor killings” have any relation to Islam could any post an Islamic justification for them? The claim that “honor killings” are from Islam in any way is baseless. Please prove me wrong.

    “Honor killing” is definitely a cultural practice. To claim that it is linked to the religion in any way requires proof. So, where is it?

  34. Is that the Ekiza-skank in the background? Do you speak any language that non-gibbering idiots can understand? More fables and misinformation. You did post on Muslim Matters so quit lying. Your blind hatred of Muslims has not only made you stupid without recognition, its also made you careless. Typical of the failed trailer park breed.
    Name your sources. Oh, but I forget you don’t do that do you(too afraid of pointing to Spencer’s website)? I see you’re still packing reloaded shop-worn innuendos and valiantly squirting your tiny pods of octopus-ink at the nested hordes of imagined enemies which your paranoia is driven to confront in an endless grudge-match — so what’s new?
    Run along now, skank.

  35. Muslim bro,
    AsSalaamu Alaikum

    Just because some people who call themselves muslim feel that killing non-combatants non muslims is 100% halal, doesn’t make it that. Allah is the judge. We follow the reminder, the Qu’ran. Since you believe that it is wrong, prove to you brothers that it is wrong. That’s what we must do. Enjoin Al-Maruf and forbid Al-Munkar. Tell them that Allah does not like the Aggressor. It is not part of our deen to kill non-muslims non combatants. In the Qu’ran and I’m paraphrasing, it says in a time of war or battle , kill the kafir whereever you find him. But it also says, if they greet you with hostility, you reply with the same, that was our order to fight but if they greet you with peace, you do the same. So being a murderer is against our religion and a sin. May Allah forgive me if anything I said was wrong, or interpreted wrong by others.

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

  36. Dr.M –

    “The product of an inferior and paranoid culture which pretends it has a spotless record and blames all its problems on others…”

    You have proven yourself to be no better than the people who you demonize. How can you be arguing for logic and reason in this situation and make bigoted statements like this? You have insulted your intelligence and credibility.

  37. I don’t know why this conversation is carrying on for so long (yea and now I’m contributing to it).

    Basically I think it’s fairly clear. I’m no scholar, but from all I know and all I’ve read, honor killings are not part of the essential Islamic creed, worldview, or practice. It is certainly an ancient Middle Eastern practice. To my knowledge, Middle Eastern Christians have also practiced it. Obviously, since both Islam and honor killings are part of the culture, then they can obviously become intertwined. So while it is not part of Islam, it can certainly become part of how Islam is UNDERSTOOD. I’m sure it’s simple: dig up a random hadith, find any out-of-context Quranic verse, understand them within the context of your cultural views, and voila! But those who try to say that it IS part of Islam are really clutching at straws. In fact, I once saw an attempt by an Islam-basher to justify honor killings through the story of Moses and Al-Khird in the Koran, which is absurd, to say the least.

  38. Wrong again, Reza. Turn on your wind shield wipers and pay attention. Back up and read the comments from the start before passing judgment. Perhaps you ought to take those who initiate hostilities here to task rather then those who respond.
    I deal with paranoid bigots and charlatans in my own way. Deal with it.

  39. dr. maggot

    the paranoid bigot deals with paranoid bigots in his own way. get off the merry-go-round maggot. it’s making you dizzy.

  40. And who exactly are you, Brooklyn Shmoe? Eliza’s handler? When I want your idiotic anti-Muslim nonsense, I’ll rattle your cage.
    Now shut your behind, climb back on your special needs tricycle and get your rabies shots, rabid little chihuahua.

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