‘Honor’ Killing Comes to the US

Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, August 10, 2008

{snip}

But while honor killings may be more prevalent in the Middle East, no longer are they unknown in the West.

In the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro last month, a Pakistani immigrant allegedly strangled his 25-year-old daughter with a bungee cord because she was determined to end her arranged marriage and had gotten involved with a new man. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sandeela Kanwal’s father, Chaudhry Rashid, “told police he is Muslim and that extramarital affairs and divorce are against his religion [and] that’s why he killed her.” In court last week, a detective quoted Rashid: “God will protect me. God is watching me. I strangled my daughter.”

In Upstate New York a few weeks earlier, Waheed Allah Mohammad, an immigrant from Afghanistan, was charged with attempted murder after repeatedly stabbing his 19-year-old sister. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that Mohammad was “infuriated because his younger sister was going to clubs, wearing immodest clothing, and planning to leave her family for a new life in New York City”—she was a “bad Muslim girl,” he told sheriff’s investigators.

On New Year’s Day in Irving, Texas, the bullet-riddled bodies of the Said sisters—Sarah, 17, and Amina, 18—were found in an abandoned taxi. Police issued an arrest warrant for their father, an Egyptian immigrant named Yaser Abdel Said, who had reportedly threatened to kill them upon learning that they had boyfriends. According to the Dallas Morning News, Yaser Said was given to “gun-waving rants about how Western culture was corrupting the chastity of his daughters.”

While many authorities say that Islamic religious tradition does not sanction honor killing, it has long been accepted in many Muslim societies all the same. {snip}

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