Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When Religion Makes the Rules

I have no words to describe how I feel about this article.The gist is that a 17 year old Iraqi girl, Rand Abdel-Qader met a 22 year old British soldier while working as a volunteer at a Basra aid station. When her father was told of the relationship (it is not clear if they were doing anything more than seeing and talking with each other in the course of their duties), he "stamped upon, suffocated and stabbed" her in front of her mother and with the help of her brothers.

Her father was released from police custody without being charged within two hours because:
Not much can be done when we have an honour killing case," said Sergeant Ali Jabbar of Basra police. "You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws. The father has very good contacts inside the Basra government and it wasn't hard for him to be released and what he did to be forgotten. (bolding is mine)

The only good to come out of this is that her mother has since divorced her father, though she is currently hiding from his family, who have threatened her.

The article notes that there were 47 (FORTY FUCKING SEVEN) "honour" killings, JUST IN THAT CITY last year.

Noted that there are many equally or even more heinous instances of violence toward women that have been publicized lately. The most talked about recently is the public stoning to death of Du'a Khalil Aswad in Bashika, a town near Mosul in Iraq. Her crime was to love a Sunni Muslim young man when her family are members of a minority Kurdish religion. A video of the stoning was made by some onlooker and posted on the internet. I will not provide a link to that. In this case, Kurdish leaders have legislated against "honour" killings, but security and police forces neither tried to stop this nor investigated it afterwards, which is the standard reaction in these cases.

I am outraged and horrified and have no idea what should be done (besides the obvious - that the Iraqi people themselves need to wake the fuck up and establish some sort of justice system that works for ALL Iraqis.) What the fuck is wrong with some of these people? How could anyone do things like this to their own children? Despicable!

There's a huge debate going on in the comments section of PZ's post about this article at Pharyngula. I declare myself on the side of those who say that until so-called "moderate" Muslims and their religious leaders openly and loudly declare themselves against "honor" killings, and against stoning adulterers and apostates, they are part of the problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your outrage, Maleficent. And thank you for blogging about this.

Here are a couple ideas:

1. Why don't we start economically boycotting countries that continue to treat their women like this and the companies that do business with them? We could do for women what the boycott of South Africa did for blacks when they were living under apartheid.

2. Why don't we write to our representatives and leaders and demand that they withhold some meaningful portion of our aid to these countries unless and until they materially, measurably, sustainably improve their human rights track records?

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"