Was this an honor killing
Motive of girls' killer matters more than you may think
09:35 AM CST on Sunday, January 13, 2008
Moderator: The good people make the majority in every group... when they hear the anti-Islam propaganda day in and day out... some of them may start believing in it. If we don't counter it, it reinforces to them that it must be the truth.
The evil exists in the world not because of evil people like Rod Drehrer, Michael Savage or their likes, but because of us, who approve it, by not disapproving it. Silent no more, we need to speak up.... if we don't - then Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan and their likes will define it in our behalf. It is time, a good op/ed is written up.
I have put together some material at the bottom that these ignorants may not even want to read it. Our safety lies in putting the truth out as fast as we can against their propaganda to create hate and malice in the hearts of the people.
Motive of girls' killer matters more than you may think
09:35 AM CST on Sunday, January 13, 2008
Dallas Morning News
Were Amina and Sarah Said, the Lewisville Muslim teenagers found shot to death in their father's taxi, victims of an honor killing? And would it really matter if they were?
It would, and you'd think a lot more people in the media would be exploring that question, particularly because their slayings have so much in common with the honor killing pattern we see in Muslim communities in the West and the Middle East.
True, the only person who can definitively answer the question, Yaser Abdel Said, is on the lam, pursued by police as a suspect in his daughters' deaths. And Mr. Said's teenage son, Islam, while apparently conceding that his father killed his sisters, denies that religion had anything to do with it.
Lewisville teens Sarah and Amina Yaser Said were buried in a Muslim cemetery in Denton. Police believe they were killed by their Egyptian-born father, who is on the run.
But several of the girls' friends told reporters that Mr. Said was furious at his daughters for having boyfriends and had threatened to kill them. The girls' great-aunt, Gail Gartrell – to whose house Patricia Said fled with her daughters out of fear of her husband – used the words "honor killing" to describe the murders.
"She ran with them," Ms. Gartrell told The Dallas Morning News, "because she knew he would carry out the threat."
If Mr. Said killed his children, is his motive significant? After all, domestic violence is found across religious, social and economic lines. Some would say that to speculate on whether Mr. Said's background – Egyptian immigrant and Muslim – played a key role in his daughters' slayings is merely to search for another reason to bash Muslims. One suspects that has a lot to do with the by-now routine media incuriosity when it comes to news stories that might reflect poorly on Islamic culture.
Yet news outlets are wrong to play down or ignore the honor killing angle, and here's why:
"Honor killing" is the term used to describe a practice in which one or more males kills a female relative who has, in their view, dishonored the family – usually by breaking a strict taboo governing sexual behavior or gender roles. To be sure, it is not a practice historically limited to Islamic societies, nor is there clear sanction for it in the Quran.
However, its Islamic proponents do cite this Quranic verse (4:34) in their defense:
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and [as to] those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
Honor killing enjoys significant support in some Muslim societies – and among some immigrant communities in the West. Last week, Jordanian authorities charged a man there with gunning down his unmarried 30-year-old daughter. He suspected her of dating and reportedly confessed to police that his homicidal act had "cleansed" his family's honor.
Several years ago, the Jordanian parliament voted down attempts by Jordanian women and human rights activists to end honor killing, which takes the lives of 20 to 30 Jordanian women each year. Parliament upheld lenient sentences for men guilty of honor killing as necessary to protect traditional Islamic social mores against Westernization. Human rights activists there complain that there is little political will to fight honor killings because the barbaric practice is so culturally entrenched.
The legitimacy of male violence against rebellious women is by no means an extreme view among Arab Muslims. A columnist in the Yemen Times last week argued that violence against women is sometimes necessary to "preserve the morals and principles with which Islam has honored us." In Arab culture, where honor is prized and female sexual purity exalted, a family can be cast out if a female member brings shame upon it. Traditionally, the only way to restore peace is through violence.
According to a Dallas Morning News report, Yaser Said was a rage-filled, troubled man. Almost 10 years ago, his wife and daughters told police he was molesting the girls; they later recanted. He was not faithful to his prayers or his mosque. He was, it appears, a sociopath obsessed with female purity and willing to use violence to enforce his will. This kind of man exists in every society. But Mr. Said comes from a shame/honor culture in which this form of sociopathy is not only tolerated but validated as a positive social value.
What's more, experts say that while educated, urbane Arab Muslims don't practice honor killing, they tend not to condemn it, either. And not all Muslims leave this barbaric code behind when they emigrate to the West. In two separate meetings with members of this newspaper's editorial board, Mohamed Elmougy, a prominent North Texas Muslim community leader and Egyptian immigrant, defended violence, even deadly violence, against women and homosexuals. Though the term "honor killing" did not come up in either discussion, Mr. Elmougy explained that violence against sexual outlaws is acceptable to defend the family and the social order.
"The way we view it, we don't look at it as violent," he said. "We look at it as a deterrent."
Well. When you have a community acculturated to the belief that women (and gays) who break taboos deserve to be beaten, even killed, out of some twisted concept of the common good, you can be sure there are innocent people enduring silent, anonymous suffering.
Rafia Zakaria, an American Muslim woman starting a legal defense fund for battered Muslim women, told The New York Times recently, that Muslims "are reluctant to look within to face their problems because it will substantiate the arguments demonizing them."
It would be preposterous to believe that all, or even most, Muslim men are wife-beating brutes. But it also would be irresponsible to ignore the cultural and religious teachings that create an environment in which females who don't behave as males command deserve to suffer.
And it would be immoral not to confront them.
The Said girls had a funeral at the Dallas Central Mosque. One imam talked about the primary importance of the family in Islam and of the responsibility parents have to keep their families strong. These are arguments used to justify honor killing.
But if a word against honor killing – or violence against women – was spoken in English at that service, no one heard it.
Rod Dreher is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW
The untimely deaths of Amina and Sarah Said may well have met the anthropological definition of "honor killings." ...
That does not make this a "Muslim" or an "Arab" crime. People who love their children do not kill them, no matter where they're from or where they go to church. And deranged, homicidal control freaks come in all flavors.
Some bloggers insist we in the liberal media are purposely engaging in a PC cover-up of the "honor killing" motive:
"The Dallas Morning News, Star-Telegram, AP/Fox and TV station WFAA all steered clear of giving honor killing as the motive," wrote one.
Is he kidding? We couldn't wait to float that exotic possibility – it's the Irving police who have steadfastly refused to be stampeded into drawing public conclusions about the nasty contents of Mr. Said's brain.
If there's some other motive, these murders are still tragedies.
– Excerpted from a piece by Morning News Metro columnist Jacquielynn Floyd. Click here to read the entire column.
Pervaz Rahman responds to Was this an honor killing?
re: mr. dreher'sop-ed,he bemoans the fact that at the funeral services for the slain victims nothing was said against honor killings by the muslim imam. i wonder how many christian and jewish funerals of homosexuals or adulterers has he attended where the ten commandments or the biblical story of Lot were recited. mr. dreherer, there is a difference between a funeral service and a sermon and your quoting the Quran or an individual out of context reflects on your lack of knowledge about religion in general and Islam in particular
The good people are the majority of every group... when they hear the anti-Islam propaganda day in and day out... some of them may start believing in it. If we don't counter it, it reinforces to them that it must be the truth.
The evil exists in the world not because of evil people like Rod Drehrer, Michael Savage or their likes, but because of us, who approve it, by not disapproving it.
Silent no more, we need to speak up.... if we don't - then Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan and their likes will define it in our behalf. It is time, a good op/ed is written up.
It requires 2 responses;
1) Find the stats of killings of kids by fathers around the nation... and why is it not labeled with a religion?
2) Wife beating....op/ed
You may have better references... but I have these available below.
i) Abdulhamid Abusalayman's 32 pages article is worth reading - http://www.theghouseteam.com/mg/WMC_Files/Marital_Final_Text.pdf
ii) The article I wrote
iii) Dr. Lelah Bakhtiar - http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/03/woman-re-interprets-quraan.html.)
iv) Dr. Javed Jamil
Abdulhamid A. Abusulayman recently published a paper (also attached) that draws the same conclusion as Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar on the 4:34 verse containing the daraba verb, which is misunderstood by some husbands to justify the infliction of psychological and physical pain toward their wives.
The article is located at: http://www.theghouseteam.com/mg/WMC_Files/Marital_Final_Text.pdf
Voice of Moderate Muslims
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
Moderate Islam Speaker
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.