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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Du’a Khalil Aswad: two years on


    by Rumbold on 2nd April, 2009 at 9:37 am    

    Two years ago this April, Du’a Khalil Aswad, a Kurdish teenager, was stoned to death after the Yazidi (a non-Islamic sect) girl had fallen in love with a Sunni Muslim:

    “She was abducted and brutally murdered in front of hundreds of men by her relatives — who stripped her body, beat and kicked her, and killed her by crushing her body with rocks and concrete blocks. These brutal and inhuman acts were filmed by the participants on their mobile phones and many of them have been circulating on the internet and from phone to phone. They show the participation of the police in this disgusting communal murder and the murderous excitement of the crowd as the girl’s uncle, brother and cousin commit the grisly murder.”

    In response, Sunni gunmen killed a number of Yazidis.

    Despite plenty of publicity and evidence, little has been done in Kurdistan to catch the killers (and the even more sobering fact is that there have been at least three hundred more ‘honour’ killings in Kurdistan since the death of Du’a Khalil Aswad). You can e-mail the Kurdistan representative in your area to ask why more isn’t being done to prosecute her killers.



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    1. Google Bans Tethering App From Android Market | Bet Mobile Wager — on 2nd April, 2009 at 11:04 am  

      [...] Du’a Khalil Aswad: two years on Two years ago this April, Du’a Khalil Aswad, a Kurdish teenager, was stoned to death after the Yazidi girl had fallen in love with a Sunni Muslim: “She was abducted and brutally murdered in front of hundreds of men by her relatives - who stripped her body, beat and kicked her, and killed her by crushing her body with rocks and concrete blocks. [...]

    2. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd April, 2009 at 11:13 am  

      I do apologise for how rushed the post Rumbold linked to was was: the anniversary rolled up with nothing particular planned.

      Just as some background information, Du’a’s family has accepted blood money in a solih agreement, so although the KRG could go on to prosecute the murderers, I don’t think it’s likely that they will.

    3. Jai — on 2nd April, 2009 at 11:21 am  

      “She was abducted and brutally murdered in front of hundreds of men by her relatives — who stripped her body, beat and kicked her, and killed her by crushing her body with rocks and concrete blocks. These brutal and inhuman acts were filmed by the participants on their mobile phones and many of them have been circulating on the internet and from phone to phone. They show the participation of the police in this disgusting communal murder and the murderous excitement of the crowd as the girl’s uncle, brother and cousin commit the grisly murder.”

      A real-life example of the type of depraved, “feeding frenzy” mob-mentality human behaviour described so accurately in ‘Lord of the Flies’. Horrific.

    4. munir — on 2nd April, 2009 at 12:06 pm  

      What is interesting about Duas tragic death is that she was a non-Muslim who was killed by non Muslims for dating a Muslim- but Muslims got blamed for it!!!

      “In response, Sunni gunmen killed a number of Yazidis. ”

      The killing of the Yazidis had little to do with this- more to do with Yazidis seen as collaborating with the US/Iraqi government or being considered heretics.

    5. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd April, 2009 at 1:17 pm  

      Another interesting point would be that local Islamists released supposed conversion videos featuring a girl in a veil claiming to be Du’a stating her Muslim faith, and spread the rumour that Du’a was murdered for this conversion rather than for the elopement, inciting the slaughter of the Yezidi. About six months before, Muslims had burned down Yezidi churches because the Yezidi had refused to hand over a taxi driver who helped a Muslim girl to escape a forced marriage (although she was later captured and killed by her family.) Tensions between the Yezidi and Muslim populations are as often about ‘honour’ as they are about politics.

    6. Raj Saxena — on 2nd April, 2009 at 2:43 pm  

      all this chaos happened because Christians and Jews decided to burn down Iraq to get its oil. In Saddams Iraq Yezidis were safe.

      “Safe” 1300 years after the Muslim imperialists invaded, leaving at best a relict population, just like they did with the Zorastrians, Copts, Syriac Christians…

    7. munir — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

      Raj saxena

      “”Safe” 1300 years after the Muslim imperialists invaded, leaving at best a relict population, just like they did with the Zorastrians, Copts, Syriac Christians…”

      Yeah “Raj” cos Iraq before the Muslims came was a huge Yezidi Empire. Egypt and Syria became majority Muslim in the 13th/14 century about 6 centuries after Islam entered there which kind of fvcks up your theory.

      Indeed since the Copts as monophysite Christians were considered heretics by the Church, Muslim rule actually saved them frome extinction- had they been ruled by the Byzantines they would be wiped out as the Cathars and other heretic Christian sects were. This is one reason why the relatively small Muslim army met so little resistance.

      The fact that non-muslim minorities exist (including Yezidis who are essentially devil worshippers) after 1400 years is a testimony to Islam’s tolerance- yet this is used to attack Islam!! Medieval Muslim rulers such as ruled Iraq dealt with huge numbers of different religions and sects. In europe you were either Christian or dead.

      Thnk God the Iraqi people rejected this hated “Muslim imperialism” at the last election.

      BTW what happened to the indigenous non-Christians of North, South America and Australia? And what about the non-Christian minorities in Europe?

    8. munir — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

      Interesting that Galloise Blonde’s comment
      ” Muslims had burned down Yezidi churches ”

      stays but my retort

      “all this chaos happened because Christians and Jews decided to burn down Iraq to get its oil. ”

      was removed.

      Why is that?

    9. Raj Saxena — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:30 pm  

      munir

      Before the Muslims there was, in fact, a huge Zoroastrian Empire, a series of several, in fact, which kind of fvcks up your theory.

      And huge populations of Copts in Egypt, and Buddhists in Central Asia, and the Manichaeans, who used to reach from Algeria to China.

      What happened to them?

      The continued existence of non-Muslim minorities is as much a testimony to Islam’s tolerance as the continued existence of Australian aborigines or Native Americans: THEY’RE THE *SURVIVORS* OF IMPERIALISM AND GENOCIDE.

    10. munir — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

      munir

      “Before the Muslims there was, in fact, a huge Zoroastrian Empire, a series of several, in fact, which kind of fvcks up your theory.

      And huge populations of Copts in Egypt, and Buddhists in Central Asia, and the Manichaeans, who used to reach from Algeria to China.

      What happened to them?

      The continued existence of non-Muslim minorities is as much a testimony to Islam’s tolerance as the continued existence of Australian aborigines or Native Americans: THEY’RE THE *SURVIVORS* OF IMPERIALISM AND GENOCIDE.”

      Really ? and there was me thinking the people had converted because they wanted to.

      So any explanation for most of the countries of Eastern Europe (Greece, Bulgaria etc), being under Muslim rule for over 500 years and still being over 95% non-Muslim ?

      So Raj tell us which type of Islamophobe are you- Im guessing from your name your an extremist Sikh embittered by the fate of the Gurus? or maybe a Hinduvata nazi? or a zionist? or perhaps just a BNP racist? Do tell.

    11. munir — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:49 pm  

      Raj Saxena
      ” and the Manichaeans, who used to reach from Algeria to China.”

      “The spread and success of Manichaeism were seen as a threat to other religions, and it was widely persecuted in Christian, Zoroastrian, Buddhist. Later Muslims however showed tolerance to Manichaeism and gave it protected status.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichean

      Since when did Islamophobes need facts ?.
      They have their “feelings”

    12. Raj Saxena — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:49 pm  

      there was me thinking the people had converted because they wanted to.

      Yeah, and the indigenous non-Christians of the Americas converted because they wanted to.[/sarcasm]

      Imperialism is imperialism.

    13. persephone — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:50 pm  

      You can tell a weakening argument when the commenter resorts to choice of blog handle to make a ‘point’ & justify their losing battle

      God knows what is read into my handle

    14. Azad — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:51 pm  

      How exactly are the Yezidis a “non-Islamic sect”??

      They are a separate and distinct religion.

    15. Raj Saxena — on 2nd April, 2009 at 3:53 pm  

      [self-deleted because I have better things to do than carry on a conversation with a bigoted troll]

    16. persephone — on 2nd April, 2009 at 4:10 pm  

      An observation.

      A topic about a female honour killing has detoured into a debate about religious factions/other group think and their historical actions with all sides wanting to assign blame to others.

      Its the type of underlying discontent that explains why honour killings are happening.

      When do we move on from the past and deal with the now and present.

      For, after all, we cannot rectify the past, only hope to not repeat any failings.

    17. Raj Saxena — on 2nd April, 2009 at 4:35 pm  

      we cannot rectify the past, only hope to not repeat any failings.

      Well said, persephone; however, the problem is that, instead of viewing the sins of the past as failings to avoid repeating, some view them as glories that they dearly wish to repeat.

    18. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd April, 2009 at 5:55 pm  

      I can’t imagine why munir at 8 assumes my comment should have been deleted. The facts are pretty much as stated here with a few inaccuracies due to shaky memory and being in a rush.

      Persephone: Its the type of underlying discontent that explains why honour killings are happening.

      It’s very much part of the background in this particular case: increasing pressure on the tiny Yezidi minority, regarded as infidels by extremists, leading to radicalisation and hostility within the Yezidi groups themselves including the formation of a ‘Yezidi Youth’ group, with a typically custodial view of Yezidi women. It was this group put pressure on community leaders to return Du’a for the mob ‘justice’ demanded by her uncle. Then we get the faked conversion video mentioned above to exploit the notoriety of the case amid calls for vengeance from Islamists, leading to guys being pulled off buses and executed for having Yezidi on their ID cards, rioting and harassment to the point where Yezidi students were excused from their exams so they could escape the threats of violence in the cities and return to their enclaves.

      Just to finish, I can never think of the murder of Du’a Khalil without remembering also the murder of Sahar al-Haideri.

    19. blah — on 2nd April, 2009 at 8:53 pm  

      munir

      “all this chaos happened because Christians and Jews decided to burn down Iraq to get its oil. In Saddams Iraq Yezidis were safe.”

      Raj Saxena

      “Safe” 1300 years after the Muslim imperialists invaded, leaving at best a relict population, just like they did with the Zorastrians, Copts, Syriac Christians”

      The fact that you believe Yazidis existed before the Muslim conquest of Iraq and that they had a large population, when Yazidis are an outgrowth of a Sufi Muslim sect that started in the 12th century - is suffice to discredit you as a “historian”.

      For anyone interested in a balanced approach to this subject Id recommend “The Spread of Islam in the World ” by Thomas Arnold a non-Muslim

    20. blah — on 2nd April, 2009 at 9:01 pm  

      Galliolise Blonde
      “It’s very much part of the background in this particular case: increasing pressure on the tiny Yezidi minority, regarded as infidels by extremists, leading to radicalisation and hostility within the Yezidi groups themselves including the formation of a ‘Yezidi Youth’ group, with a typically custodial view of Yezidi women.”

      Well yes and no-the Yezidis have some pretty un PC and extreme beliefs themselves (this is not to say any discrimination of them is acceptable)

      - One of the key creation beliefs of Yazidism is that all Yazidis are descendants of Adam rather than Eve.[7]
      -The first of these is expressed in the system of caste, the food laws, the traditional preferences for living in Yazidi communities, and the variety of taboos governing many aspects of life.
      -The Yazidis’ concern with religious purity, and their reluctance to mix elements perceived to be incompatible, is shown not only in their caste system, but also in various taboos affecting everyday life
      Too much contact with non-Yazidis is also considered polluting. In the past, Yazidis avoided military service which would have led them to live among Muslims, and were forbidden to share such items as cups or razors with outsiders
      - Yazidi are dominantly monogamous but chiefs may be polygamous, having more than one wife. Yazidi are exclusively endogamous; clans do not intermarry even with other Kurds and accept no converts. They claim they are descended only from Adam and not from Eve.
      -The tale of the Yazidis’ origin found in the Black Book gives them a distinctive ancestry and expresses their feeling of difference from other races. Before the roles of the sexes were determined, Adam and Eve quarreled about which of them provided the creative element in the begetting of children. Each stored their seed in a jar which was then sealed. When Eve’s was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam’s jar was a beautiful boychild. This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidi are regarded as descending from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and Eve.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazidi

    21. Don — on 2nd April, 2009 at 11:43 pm  

      Blah,

      You have discovered Wikipedia. How wonderful.

      As a tedious troll here you may not have noticed that Galloise Blonde actually knows what she is talking about. Cut’n'paste wiki isn’t an adequate response.

    22. persephone — on 3rd April, 2009 at 8:53 am  

      Galloise Blonde @ 18

      Thanks for the background. You pinpoint what I am saying should be the focal point in the phrase:

      “typically custodial view of Yezidi women”

      Strike out the word Yezidi from this and you have the generic issue of the custodial view of women per se which can be prevalent in all sorts of ways & levels in all countries, races etc whether Yezidi et al.

      What I’m saying is that the issue of it being the way women are treated/perceived gets hi-jacked instead by the discussion detouring around race/religion as it has done on this topic. Typically, the current background distorts into a discussion further back into history in an attempt to blame which race/ religion did the ‘wrongdoing’ first. When this happens there is no resolution or way forward.

      It turns from (what I see) a gender/human rights issue into a race/religion debate while the central issue of women being treated as custodial is not delved into. Your insight as to the use of the fake conversion video demonstrates this perfectly.

      The central issue of the abuse of human rights or just plain humanity gets little focus. Perhaps because it has no justification, gives the apologists for it room to manoeuvre out of the central issue or the perpetrators like the status quo. And I find the latter both frightening and despicable.

    23. platinum786 — on 3rd April, 2009 at 9:25 am  

      There is a video in the Guardian about the Taliban flogging a girl in Swat. Locals claim she refused to marry the local Taliban commander so he created false charges against her adn flogged her.

      In the past people have sanctioned Pakistan, for not having a democratically elected government, for demanding the right to be equals on this world by having nuclear weapons, yet they blindly support this government and it’s deal in Swat.

      Someone has to say something, you can’t let Pakistan get away with this negligence in this part of our territory.

    24. Rumbold — on 3rd April, 2009 at 9:40 am  

      GB:

      Not at all. You are doing things for the anniversary. And perhaps I should have posted this on the 7th, but I wanted to raise awareness.

    25. Amrit — on 3rd April, 2009 at 11:15 am  

      Strike out the word Yezidi from this and you have the generic issue of the custodial view of women per se which can be prevalent in all sorts of ways & levels in all countries, races etc whether Yezidi et al.

      Thank you, persephone.

      Typically, the current background distorts into a discussion further back into history in an attempt to blame which race/ religion did the ‘wrongdoing’ first

      Yup. This is what those who want to prevent violence and honour killings must keep their eye on: the desire of bigots to do nothing by bandying blame around. For example, I went to a discussion on Bangladeshi marriage yesterday.

      A guy at the back tried to imply that the Bangladeshi community was being unfairly targeted, i.e., trying to play the ‘victim’ card.

      What he was saying, essentially, was ‘Why should we feel bad about the fact that these things happen in our community when they happen in the ‘indigenous population’ (his term)?’

      Thankfully, the secretary of the group who arranged it shot him down, pointing out that the event was about BANGLADESHI MARRIAGE. Also, a judge who has dealt with forced marriage cases, domestic violence etc., for 20 years, was one of the speakers. She pointed out that the problem is pronounced in many South Asian communities, and that’s why we need to do something about it.

      I’m going to go further and say that even though patriarchal attitudes still persist in British (and other ‘Western’) cultures, violence against women is not, on the whole, ’sanctioned’ by religious justification, whereas in SA communities, it almost ALWAYS is.

      Whether the religion in question in each case sanctions the behaviour or not doesn’t matter (Sikhism, for example, encourages full equality of men and women, but that hasn’t stopped the murder of young Sikh women). What nobody can deny is that the people who do this often use religion to sanction their deeds. Those who are truly religious need to stop letting them get away with it.

    26. Jai — on 3rd April, 2009 at 11:30 am  

      Amrit,

      Once small point:

      I’m going to go further and say that even though patriarchal attitudes still persist in British (and other ‘Western’) cultures, violence against women is not, on the whole, ’sanctioned’ by religious justification, whereas in SA communities, it almost ALWAYS is…..

      …..What nobody can deny is that the people who do this often use religion to sanction their deeds

      Hmm, I don’t know. Amongst Hindus and Sikhs at least, I think that “culture” is used more often to sanction this kind of behaviour, rather than “religion”.

      However, I do agree with the rest of your points. It also goes without saying that in many cases — whether in South Asia, Afghanistan, Kurdistan or anywhere else — claims of religious/cultural sanction are frequently just “excuses” rather than genuinely-justifiable “reasons”.

    27. Amrit — on 3rd April, 2009 at 11:46 am  

      Jai:

      People often use ‘culture’ AND ‘religion’ to justify these deeds, and unfortunately, even when they don’t mention religion, it’s often implied that religion has something to do with it.

      I think we’re sort of saying the same thing here. What I meant is that bigots, who aren’t actually that educated about their religion, often use that to justify their behaviour. Such as when Sikh/Hindu parents spread those ludicrous stories about their daughters being secretly converted to Islam, or whatever. The attitude in question is one of racism/snobbery - they’d often be equally disgusted if the girl took up with a Christian or whatever - but then religious history (Mughal occupation of India, historical Mughal/Sikh tensions) is used to add the finishing touch. Do you see what I mean?

      Another example is when people like my parents use Sikh history to cover their own anti-Pakistan Indian nationalism. D’oh!

    28. douglas clark — on 3rd April, 2009 at 11:54 am  

      munir,

      Galloise Blonde has worked hard for womens rights. She is one of my favourite people.

      You’ll get the sharp end of my tongue, if you keep this nonsense up, young man.

    29. persephone — on 3rd April, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

      ” I think that “culture” is used more often to sanction this kind of behaviour,rather than “religion””

      And there is an inseparable link b/n the two. Because, those who see themselves as religious also see themselves as more cultural. Therefore giving them the licence to operate & uphold what they see as the cultural norm.

    30. Rumbold — on 3rd April, 2009 at 12:25 pm  

      Well said Douglas (#28) and Don (#21).

    31. Jai — on 3rd April, 2009 at 12:30 pm  

      Amrit,

      People often use ‘culture’ AND ‘religion’ to justify these deeds, and unfortunately, even when they don’t mention religion, it’s often implied that religion has something to do with it.

      Correct, although perhaps a more accurate description would be ‘religious affiliation’ rather than ‘religion’ per se. Apart from the make-it-up-as-they-go-along variety, many of these people know damn well that they don’t have any religious mandate for their behaviour. Which is why they use the sacred cow (no pun intended) of ‘culture’ instead.

      but then religious history (Mughal occupation of India, historical Mughal/Sikh tensions) is used to add the finishing touch. Do you see what I mean?

      Yep.

      ****************

      Persephone,

      And there is an inseparable link b/n the two. Because, those who see themselves as religious also see themselves as more cultural. Therefore giving them the licence to operate & uphold what they see as the cultural norm.

      Agreed to some extent although I think it depends on the individual. Some people end up using the loophole of ‘culture’ if they know that their religion doesn’t actually condone their beliefs or behaviour, as I mentioned above.

      But I agree that some of them may deliberately blur the boundaries and promote the veneer of religious piety to excuse their behaviour. The ludicrous actions of the Sri Ram Sena and other Hindutva extremist groups in relation to Valentine’s Day, dating, female attire etc is one example of this.

      And of course you’re also right that some people who engage in pretty nasty behaviour do put on a big song and dance about how ‘religious’ they are. Which is unfortunately not surprising, in the context of cultural norms where highly-visible symbolic outward expressions of religious devotion are presumed to be valued and respected.

      This does overlap to a great extent with some of the things I’ve been saying on the “Afghanistan” thread about nasty people claiming moral authority & superiority because of their bureaucratic adherence to some of the more ritualistic elements of various religions — ie. placing a greater emphasis on “the letter of the law” rather than the “spirit of the message”, and treating people like dirt accordingly — so check that out too if you’re interested. (Same to you, Amrit).

    32. persephone — on 3rd April, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

      Jai: “people claiming moral authority & superiority because of their bureaucratic adherence to some of the more ritualistic elements of various religions”

      There is a bit more linkage to explore here in view of the topic. Unfortunately, some of the elements of religion are male orientated & so dropped the moral authority & superiority into the laps of males. This further fuels the custodial view of women, even today.

      Some commenters here have said that in an unsafe country men are the protectors who must shield women by such laws.

      I say that those with the underlying discontent, issues with other races/ideologies should fight it out amongst themselves & not use women as the custodial pawn to play out their game of revenge or to settle past grievances.

    33. munir — on 3rd April, 2009 at 2:05 pm  

      persephone

      ” Because, those who see themselves as religious also see themselves as more cultural. Therefore giving them the licence to operate & uphold what they see as the cultural norm.”

      Not true certainly in the case of Islam. “Reformist” movements and the ulema (religious scholars) are invariably amongst the biggest critics of their culture and the things in it that contradict religious teachings. For this reason they are often unpopular with the people.

      Indeed it is often secularists who push the notion of culture to offset religious teachings/movements. In a Indo-Pak context for example secularists oppose to the increased wearing off the Islamic hijab try and counter that tradtionally in the culture Muslim women wore see-through dupattas instead.

      As people have moved more towards what their religion says against what their culture says their have been loud shreaks from such secularists about how cultural identity has been lost or about “Arabization” (sic)/Wahabbism. Strangely these secularists rarely condemn the far wore widespread westernization in these socities. Likewise when someone does something bad because their culture (not religion) says so they are happy to claim this is a religiuos since Islam-bashing finds such a ready audience in the west.

    34. Jai — on 3rd April, 2009 at 2:07 pm  

      Some commenters here have said that in an unsafe country men are the protectors who must shield women by such laws.

      The problem with that argument is that one could subsequently say that this rationale would only be valid & possibly applicable when it involves women venturing into territories not governed by people who are from the same background as them, or at least territories where the latter are not in the majority.

      Otherwise, who exactly are they being protected from ? And why would they be “unsafe” amongst men from the same background who presumably adhere to the same moral code ?

      It’s a rhetorical question, but you get my point.

    35. munir — on 3rd April, 2009 at 2:22 pm  

      Galloise Blonde

      “I can’t imagine why munir at 8 assumes my comment should have been deleted. The facts are pretty much as stated here with a few inaccuracies due to shaky memory and being in a rush. ”

      I dont think your comment ” Muslims had burned down Yezidi churches ” should have been deleted . Rather I question why my response ““all this chaos happened because Christians and Jews decided to burn down Iraq to get its oil. ” was.

      Douglas Clark
      “munir,

      Galloise Blonde has worked hard for womens rights. She is one of my favourite people.”

      Sad then that she falls into such Islamophobic bigotry about an entire group of people as ” Muslims had burned down Yezidi churches ”

      “You’ll get the sharp end of my tongue, if you keep this nonsense up, young man.”

      Oh Im shaking. Im sure Galloise can defend herself if she disagrees with what I said. Or do you believe women are incapable of defending tehmselves and need a man like you to help them? Thats pretty sexist Dougie boy

    36. Rumbold — on 3rd April, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

      Munir:

      When you are in a hole, stop digging.

    37. The Common Humanist — on 3rd April, 2009 at 2:51 pm  

      Munir

      Do you consider yourself to be a joyless individual?

      How far do you take the Bin Laden wannabee-ness?



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