Is honor killing a Muslim monopoly?
Details of tragic murder of young Shafilea, a Pakistani born Brit hit internet headlines on Friday as her parents were sentenced to life in prison. To her parents she had multiple crimes. She wished to live a western life style, she ran away from home, she refused forced marriage and drank bleach in protest. This was more than enough for her parent to feel dishonored and gave a death sentence to their daughter by their own. Both of her parents murdered their child by suffocating her.
The incident has once again brought two references together i.e. Islam and Pakistan. This has once again raised question that “Is honor killing a Muslim monopoly?”
Honor killing like murders in United States
In fact honor killing is more of a cultural issue than a religious issue. It happens everywhere in the world. In United States only approximately 1,200 women are murdered annually by their spouses or close partners due to various reasons. A common reason is suspicion of having relations with others.
If any of 1200 women killed in the US is Muslim then her murder will be called as “Honor killing” or “honour killing “ and rest 1199 cases are simply murders.
Islam and honor killing
Honor killings are not a religious phenomenon as Islam has nothing to do with honor killings.
Concept of honor killings is completely missing from Holy Scriptures of Islam and Islamic history does not mention any reported case of honor killings which shows that this is only a recent phenomenon.
In fact Islam strongly condemns and prohibits assassination of anyone regardless of reasons. In an Islamic society there is a complete and comprehensive judicial system which takes care of all judicial matters and under no circumstances anyone can behave in extra judicial manner. Quran, The holy book of Islam clearly states that
“Whoever kills a believer intentionally, their reward will be Hell, to abide therein forever, and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon them, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for them.” (Holy Quran, Chapter 4, Verse 93)
Difference between and Killing and honor killing
From Islamic perspective there is no difference between murder and honor killing. Offenders in both cases have to undergo punishment and in no case honor killing will warrant concession in punishment or a reward based on motive behind. Honor killing is crime against women and crime against humanity.
Why honor killing
The question arises if Islam does not endorse honor killing then why this is so prevalent in Muslim societies. There may be many reasons behind honor killing.
- Parents failure
One of the primary reasons may be their failure in their kid’s upbringing. Asian parents like in Shafilea honor killing case parents tend to enforce their thoughts, their cultural valued and they get hostile in this process. They never try to realize the rational and wisdom behind what they expect their kids to adopt. This communication gap between parents and their off springs leads to loss of precious lives.
- Religion and Culture mix-up
Another very crucial reason may be mixing up culture with religion. Shafilea honor killing case is more of this nature. People who are ignorant about the teachings of Islam commit such heinous crimes like parents of Shafilea did. They are ignorant about the teachings of noble Islam, and often complicate local traditions with Islam.
What need to be done?
There is a strong need that religious vale attached to honor killing should be removed and it should be treated like ordinary murder case. There is strong need for parents coaching and training on how to treat their especially in cross cultural environment.