clear
Thursday, 21 June 2018
Honor Killing and Islam
Share
clear

by Ibn Warraq

 A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killing, by Phyllis Chesler (New English Review Press, 348 pp., $28.75)

Phyllis Chesler pioneered the study of violence against women in the late 1960s, concentrating on women living in North America and Europe. By 2003, she was writing about honor killings, based on newspaper accounts, Internet sources, interviews, and memoirs. She then embarked on a series of equally pioneering, meticulously researched, academic studies of honor killings in the West, but also in the Middle East and South Asia. These studies and over 90 articles on the same subject are collected for the first time in A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killing.

Chesler carefully distinguishes honor killings from “plain and psychopathic homicides, serial killings, crimes of passion, revenge killings, and domestic violence.” An honor killing is the murder of girls and women by their families because of supposedly disgraceful acts perceived to have brought public shame. Honor killings are a family collaboration and even considered by their perpetrators to be legally justifiable acts of self-defense, because the murdered girls’ dishonor is regarded as an aggressive act against their families. It demands a response.

In her second of four in-depth studies first published in The Middle East Quarterly, Chesler looked at 172 incidents and 230 honor-killing victims. She gathered most of her information from English-language media around the world. “There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe,” Chesler found. “There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world. Most of the perpetrators were Muslims, as were their victims, and most of the victims were women.” Indeed, while Sikhs and Hindus do commit such murders, the honor killings in her study, both those in the West and in the rest of the world, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes.

It is a measure of her intellectual integrity that Chesler goes where the data lead. Thus, her conclusion, based on the empirical evidence, is that “the origin of honor killings probably resides in shame-and-honor tribalism, not necessarily in a particular religion.” And she holds each religion—Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism—responsible for failing to abolish, or trying to abolish, honor killing or femicide.

But can Islam itself really have nothing to do with honor killings, even though Muslims have perpetuated the majority of such murders in the West? Yes, honor killings have also been found in various societies in the Balkans, the southern Mediterranean (Sicily, for example), and in India, but could these cultures not have learned from Islam, since they were all under Islamic domination for centuries? Further, how does one disentangle the supposed tribal components of honor killing from the religious ones?

Surely, for example, Pakistani culture, saturated with Islam—a religion that undoubtedly treats women as inferior—could only develop a deeply misogynistic society that makes honor killing possible. Religious authorities do not condemn honor killings in Pakistan, a fact that makes hope of abolition remote. The attitudes that make honor-killing possible are derived directly from Islamic teachings and are further reinforced by them. Muslim nations make similar arguments about cliterectomy and other anti-modern practices.

Chesler has put her scholarship to good use by submitting “affidavits about honor killing in court cases where girls or women, in flight from being honor killed, were seeking political asylum or emancipation from their families.” She has rendered a great service in presenting the fruit of her sober research, which should be the starting point of any attempts to deal with this barbaric custom, whether Islamic or merely tribal. Chesler has contributed, and not for the first time, to the amelioration of the suffering of countless women.

First published in City Journal.

clear
Posted on 06/21/2018 4:26 AM by Ibn Warraq
Comments
No comments yet.


Order from Amazon or Amazon.UK today!


Order from Amazon US
or Amazon UK today!


Amazon donates to World Encounter Institute Inc when you shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/56-2572448. #AmazonSmile #StartWithaSmile

Subscribe

Categories

Adam Selene (1) A.J. Caschetta (7) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew Harrod (3) Bat Ye'or (6) Brex I Teer (8) Brian of London (32) Christina McIntosh (862) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (459) Daniel Mallock (5) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (78) David Wemyss (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Dr. Michael Welner (3) Emmet Scott (1) Eric Rozenman (4) Esmerelda Weatherwax (9408) Fergus Downie (5) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (60) Gary Fouse (131) Geert Wilders (13) Geoffrey Botkin (1) Geoffrey Clarfield (328) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hossein Khorram (2) Howard Rotberg (1) Hugh Fitzgerald (20898) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (21) James Robbins (1) James Stevens Curl (2) Janice Fiamengo (1) Jerry Gordon (2505) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (1) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (119) John Hajjar (5) John M. Joyce (388) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (25) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Marc Epstein (7) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mary Jackson (5066) Matthew Hausman (39) Michael Curtis (581) Michael Rechtenwald (5) Mordechai Nisan (2) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2587) New English Review Press (43) Nidra Poller (73) Nonie Darwish (10) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Weston (5) Paula Boddington (1) Peter McLoughlin (1) Philip Blake (1) Phyllis Chesler (53) Rebecca Bynum (7175) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (84) Sally Ross (36) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (4) Stephen Schecter (1) Steve Hecht (25) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (836) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (3) Tyler Curtis (1) Walid Phares (29) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
clear
Site Archive