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  • Samaira Nazir’s brutal murder


    by Sunny
    16th July, 2006 at 4:36 pm    

    Miss Nazir, a recruitment consultant from Southall, west London, was murdered in April last year. She was strangled with a silk scarf, stabbed 18 times and had her throat cut. She had argued with her Pakistani family after rejecting an arranged marriage and falling in love with an Afghan asylum seeker. Her two nieces, aged two and four, were made to watch the murder, and were found spattered with her blood.

    Last week, Diana Nammi, the co-founder of the London-based International Campaign Against Honour Killings, revealed that the number of women seeking help from her organisation had quadrupled over the past year.

    She said that the women’s desire for independence had caused friction within their families. “The number of honour killings has gone up because more women are realising that they have rights,” she said.

    Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, said of the phenomenon: “It occurs more and more as people migrate to Britain from the rural, tribal areas of the Indian subcontinent. They bring the customs with them.”

    He added: “Mainstream Islamic thought totally condemns the concept of honour killings. They mostly occur when women are being forced to marry, but Islam believes marriage should be based on willing consent and force should play no role whatsoever.”

    From the Daily Telegraph

    Riazat Butt also has a report in the Guardian, looking more at some of the background.

    Jurors were told the family disapproved of Ms Nazir’s boyfriend, Salman Mohammed, because of his caste and they were so determined to split the pair up that when the couple announced their engagement, Ms Nazir’s father, Azhar, lunged at Mr Mohammed with a knife and threatened to kill him.

    Her brother Azhar Nazir, a 30-year-old greengrocer, threatened to “get” the couple if they married, even if they were abroad. He was, the court heard, so incensed that his sister had turned down the suitors waiting for her in Pakistan in favour of the Afghan that he ordered the 25-year-old to come to the family home in Southall, Middlesex.


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    1. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 4:58 pm  

      ‘Brutal muder’ does not do justice to the details of this case, beyond brutal, beyond sadism. Forcing a two year old and four year old girl to witness the act of cutting their aunt’s throat and splattering them with her blood to warn them about what will happen to them if they follow her path shows a level of moral depravity and barbarity that is impossible to comprehend. Who are they living with now? What are social services doing?

      There was a recent case in Scandinavia following an honour killing in which the victim’s mother and other relatives who had lured her to the place of her murder knowing that she was going to be killed were convicted as accessories. I would now like to see a similar approach being taken here in England. I want to see a no-holds barred judicial approach to these cases, I want to see anyone who knows about this kind of thing being charged as an accessory, locking up the entire family if neccessary.

      The details of this will haunt me for a long long time, and are beyond my ability to understand, even if I plunge myself into the twisted logic of the perpetrators according to their vicious and evil reasoning, the level of cruelty and naked cannibal barbarism of carrying out a ritual murder in front of two children plumbs new depths of horror for this phenomenon.

      May Samaira rest in peace, and may the man she loved and died for be held strong and also find peace of whatever kind he can be granted.

    2. raz — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

      DESPICABLE

    3. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

      >>“Mainstream Islamic thought totally condemns the concept of honour killings. They mostly occur when women are being forced to marry, but Islam believes marriage should be based on willing consent and force should play no role whatsoever.”

      This is true and it should be repeated ad nauseam by the mullahs/community ‘leaders’ at very opportunity there is, accompanied by some gruesome fire-and-brimstone scenarios perps will face in hell. Using religion to do good.

      What is tragic is that samaira was ready to make the break and strike out on her own - some girls/women never even reach that state- and lost her life because she did not heed the warning signs, ie the death threats. But then it is not the sort of thing most humans can envisage - that one’s nearest and dearest will *really* slit one’s throat.

    4. El Cid — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

      Yeah, as i said on another thread, these people are right up there with predator paedophiles — complete and utter cuntz, beyond comprehension. I really don’t understand this caste business, fucking madness

    5. SajiniW — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

      I don’t see why cases like this can’t be made an example of; forced marriage and honour killing have been treated with legislative kid-gloves for too long.

    6. Kulvinder — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

      I realise this isn’t directly to do with forced marriage but it is in a sense related, for similar arguments to laws against FM im against drafting legislation against ‘honour killings’ simply because it would duplicate existing laws. That said this was an horrific crime especially as there were minors present. Im curious about whether child protection agencies get involved after cases like this, i can’t comment directly on this specific case as i don’t know enough about it, but it really wouldn’t be beyond the bounds of reason to say other children in a particular situation similar to that would also be in danger once they reached a certain age or if they ‘dishonoured’ their families.

      If its already done i apologise for assuming its not but i think there should be a serious evaluation in future cases about the risk posed to minors, and if need be they should be taken into care.

    7. Kulvinder — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

      forced marriage and honour killing have been treated with legislative kid-gloves for too long.

      Im curious what makes you say that? kidnapping and murder is treated as kidnapping and murder.

    8. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

      Well I wonder why the mother was not charged. She doesn’t appear to be innocent of wrong-doing based on her daughter’s last words, as heard by the neighbour.

    9. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:33 pm  

      El Cid

      This was not about caste. It was about tribal honour systems. I think the term ‘caste’ has been misunderstood in the reporting of this case. They wanted her to marry WITHIN the family. They could not abide her refusing to marry a cousin of her parents choice. The fact that he was an Afghan who the believed was nefariously plotting to disinherit them of their business shows the clannish and small minded mentality of the individuals.

      Kulvinder, you make good points. Social Services should enact a study, in league with womens organisations, as to the responsibility of the state towards children, especially girls, who remain in a household in which an honour killing takes place. At the very minimum they should be placed on a ‘watch’ case.

    10. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:39 pm  

      From the Copenhagen Post:

      Long sentences were handed out to all nine family members found guilty in the murder of Ghazala Khan

      The Eastern High Court handed out sentences for the family members convicted for the murder of 18 year-old Ghazala Khan. Earlier this week, a 12-member jury returned guilty verdicts against the nine, all family members or friends, involved in Ghazala’s murder.

      The young woman was shot dead by her elder brother two days after she married her Afghan husband, Emal. Her husband, who was shot in the stomach, survived, and now lives under police protection.

      The 18-year old’s father, Ghulam Abbas, was sentenced to life imprisonment, the longest of the sentences. Ghazala’s brother received 16 years imprisonment, as did two of her uncles involved in the plot. The remaining five sentences range from eight to 14 years in jail.

      Apart from the prison terms, the guilty members were ordered to pay almost DKK 1 million in compensation to Ghazala’s husband, Emal. The aunt and cousin, who were among those who received lesser sentences, were also ordered to leave the country upon the completion of their jail terms.

      Prosecutors had originally pursued life sentences for the six family members involved in the murder; still they were pleased with the sentences.

      ‘This is a highly satisfactory result. The court has sent a clear signal to families that consider killing their children like this, that we won’t tolerate that in Denmark,’ said prosecutor Jeanette W. Andersen.

      This is what I want to see happening in Britain. Go after the mother, the father, the uncles, the aunts. Get them all. All who knew or lured or conspired - get them as accessories. No mercy.

    11. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

      We need to lay down markers in the sand. The punishment must be swift and total. Samaira’s father, the snivelling little coward that he is, has dissapeared to Pakistan. He should be found and extradited. Ruses to ameliorate the punishment to the guilty by saying that a 17 year old cousin who acted as a minor did the act so he could not get a full sentence should be addressed with the Danish example. None should be allowed to walk free or be spared investigation or prosecution. Those who act as accessories should be prosecuted and punished with severe jail time. And like Denmark has done, conspiring ‘aunties’ with visa problems should be sent back to their homelands. And if neccessary, compensation should be paid out of the family coffers.

      Yes, investigate and charge and convict the mothers, the fathers, the uncles, the aunts, the cousins, all those who connive and plot and scheme these things. Let those who carry out these crimes know that they will not be spared.

    12. Sunny — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

      Hi Queen Bee, you’re right. I’m putting together another post on how to tackle such killings.

    13. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

      Queen Bee expresses my feelings very well.

      Mirax the danger is that you end up portraying it as a problem within one community when has happened across the South Asian communities.

      In this case caste was mentioned when that too is against Islam.

      When I was quite young (going back to school days), there was a case of a sikh girl who fell pregnant and she was butchered by her brothers in their cellar.

      And there are many more. A recent case of a Sikh fiance had his eye taken out by the fiancee’s brother because the father of the girl discovered the intended was of a lower caste.

      Again Sikhism opposes casteism.

      Kulvinder there is a way of treating these types of cases with greater severity - as in anyone convicted of a racially aggravated crime.

      It needs to be done. Give them no quarter.

    14. El Cid — on 16th July, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

      Thanks for clearing that up Queen Bee
      Subs always think they know best when they follow formulae to explain complicated issues, but in their attempt to reach a broader audience they also sometimes misinform. Thye should not be afraid to say “within the family”, even if it might offend.
      Is this extreme tribal-honour system particular to rural Pakistan? They should definitely go after the father (but he’s reportedly dead), and maybe even the shunned in-laws, even if all they can do is make some noise.

    15. Sunny — on 16th July, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

      Is this extreme tribal-honour system particular to rural Pakistan

      Nope, it’s more a village thing than anything. Middle class Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sikhs would have different views from those from the village - where this tribal loyalty rubbish is out of control.

      “honour killings” are rampant in India too remember. Though not amongst British Hindus because they’re primarily middle class.

    16. El Cid — on 16th July, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

      OK, fair enough Sunny,
      I only asked because I read once in a book on genetics that inherited genetic diseases were particularly prevalent amongst British Pakistanis because of the cultural practice of marrying within the family.

    17. Amit — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:02 pm  

      Hey reading this it makes me think that familes don’t have a mutual bond that understanding from the core is lost. Regardless of religion, Honour is understandable, but Kulvinder and Queen Bee you guys are making some proper good points, i actually mean that, but the core of a families nature, what you do with them, i.e eat with them, praying together, should bring you much closer in a sense that it shouldn’t even come to a stage where if she refuses an arranged marriage obviously its for a reason and hence someone else is making her happy regardless of his colour and caste. I guess obviously being in that environment and being brought up a certain sort of way and then going against some of the core principles can have a sad ending like this. I was truly appalled as many others that your own family can do this to you purely cos it would leave a bad stain mark on the families name, reputation etc…

      Mirax u made a really good point here … let me paste it yeh hold up..

      What is tragic is that samaira was ready to make the break and strike out on her own - some girls/women never even reach that state- and lost her life because she did not heed the warning signs, ie the death threats. But then it is not the sort of thing most humans can envisage - that one’s nearest and dearest will *really* slit one’s throat.

      Obviously its not something that humans envisage, but our dear ones the ones that brought you into this life, obviously shouldnt have the right to take it away from you.

      Thats all i wanted to say really… I mean sorry about the spelling mistake i just found this site like yesterday..

      I just do wanna leave with one note though..

      Families.. and Unity and bonding and one selfess love for one another has turned this family into a family of murderers..

      Queen Bee - I agree - “No Mercy” but at the taxpayers cost they will argue?

    18. 13point1 — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

      “honour killings” are rampant in India too remember. Though not amongst British Hindus because they’re primarily middle class.

      >>You should know a little better. I have never heard such things happening any where in East, South and West India. Only regions where cases has been reported are from North/North-west of India.

    19. Sunny — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

      13point1 - I suppose it depends on how you define the debate.

      Dowry killings and killing daughters before they’re born or just after is, I believe, symptom of the same problem - treating women as commodities of “honour”.

      Also, given Tamil Nadu (where I lived for three years) is extremely conservative in some bizarre ways, I have no doubt there is persistent coercion to force women to marry.

      I sort of partially helped an old ex-gf escape the country a few years back because her parents would not let her out of the house when she wanted to marry a Hindu Malyalee (from Kerela). Caste issues.

    20. raz — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

      Honour killings have been found in many other cultures outside the subcontinent as well.

    21. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

      El Cid

      The greater prevalence of the phenomenon amongst Pakistanis may have something to do with the practice of cousin marriage and the imperatives of marrying within a family to bolster not even tribal but family affiliations. This means that there is less leeway for any deviation or leniency for a girl to choose a man of her own because of the literal ‘betrayal of blood’ that occurs. These are serious issues that are particlar to Pakistani Mirpuris.

      Refresh

      Just because it is not Muslim specific does not mean Muslim clerics shouldnt take a stance in public against the practice. The extent to which backwards mullahs counsel against or for the perpetuating social paradigms in the communities of Britain that exacerbate this problem need to be studied. I have horror stories about clerical responses to these cases that will make you scream in pain. The existing social structures including religious bodies have to take responsibility. Silence or indifference or closing of ranks as if Islam is under attack is not an option.

    22. raz — on 16th July, 2006 at 7:50 pm  

      Just to add a couple more observations,

      It’s worth noting that ‘honour killings’ (in the subcontinent as least) do not exclusively target women. For instance, if a girl and a boy have an illicit relationship, both of them are guilty of dishonour and may well end up dead. Obviously, in the West, women are the majority of targets, but men have been killed as well. For instance:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/oxfordshire/4520682.stm

      Also, ‘honour killings’ do not always revolve around relationships/sex. The concept of honour is so firmly woven into the psyche of many Asian families that any transgression which brings percieved ‘shame’ to the family name may end up with a honour killing being inflicted.

    23. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:01 pm  

      There is currently a demographic bulge amongst the Pakistani community in the UK in which a large number of boys and girls of ‘marriageable age’ are prevalent. This means that these issues are going to growe because the elder generation with their tribal and village mentalities are finding that some of their daughters (and sons) are at complete odds with their own perception of who they are and what their destiny and life should be. It is a generational bulge that means things are coming to a head especially now.

      Hence, we will find that these two inter-related phenomena of forced marriage and honour killings are not going to dissipate but will become more visible as parental control and daughter/son independance increasingly clash.

      So what we can do, apart from preventative measures like activism and outreach to girls under threat, is with an iron fist start nailing the perpetrators to the bars of the prison cell en masse.

      The actual murderers, and the co-conspirators, the mothers and cousins and uncles and aunts. Mass trials of whole families to convict those on the peripheray who conspired or lured. Nail them all.

      Someone above said that Samaira’s father is now dead. That is not true. Like a snivelling little coward he fled to Pakistan to escape punishment. This is the mentality of putrid spineless manhood we are dealing with here.

      Eviscerate the guilty and all of those who lure and conspire. Nobody should calculate that a son spending 15 years in jail is a price worth paying for family izzat. Put all of those who conspire into jail. Make it an offence to even know that death threats are being made and not to act on them by warning the police. Pound them into the ground. Anyone with visa problems, deport them back to their homeland after they have served their sentences.

      This is a war, and we have to be tough.

    24. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:02 pm  

      Raz

      Good points Raz. Men are the victims of honour crimes too.

    25. El Cid — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:06 pm  

      More power to you Queen Bee

    26. Queen Bee — on 16th July, 2006 at 8:07 pm  

      Someone should ask the CPS to study the case of the Danish-Pakistani girl which I quote in a previous post. What a wonderful and pleasing spectacle to see the Danish judicial system deal so firmly with this case and convict the members of her family who lured her to her death and knew what was happening. Let’s have some of this kind of decisiveness here in the UK.

      Any legal activists out there, take note.

    27. Clairwil — on 16th July, 2006 at 9:42 pm  

      Agree 100% with Queen Bee. For a family to brutally murder their own daughter in full view of her young nieces is wicked, depraved and almost beyond belief. I note Kulvinders point above regarding duplicating legislation by making honour killings a specific and distinct offence from murder, however I wonder if it would be possible to impose an increased minimum sentence for honour killings as I think it is important that a clear message is sent that honour killings are totally unacceptable.

    28. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 10:19 pm  

      Refresh,

      You wrote :

      >>Mirax the danger is that you end up portraying it as a problem within one community when has happened across the South Asian communities.

      My intention was to focus on a possible solution that the post above alluded to- use of religion to instill fear of Allah’s wrath- and was not to unfairly stigmatise just one faith group. Other South Asian groups, Sikhs and Hindus are guilty of honour killing too of course. However if you want to keep the focus on Britain and Europe, you must admit the evidence is overwhelming that it is muslim-origin groups : Pakistanis, Kurds, Turks which form the bulk of the cases, followed by some Sikh cases. If there are Hindu-origin killings, then they are thus far under the radar (at least to me)and I’d appreciate appreciate links and referrals. Believe me, I’d like to nail those bastards too.

      As part of a South Asian Diaspora, I must say that honour killings in the SE Asian Indian communities (all faith subgroups) are unheard of. SE Asian Malay-Muslims don’t suffer the scourge either. It is not something intrinsic to Islam as such (though I am not going to let some aspects of sharia off the hook later on)
      My first statement does not mean that forced marriages do not exist in my neck of the woods or that there is no violence against women at all.But there is no honour killing. Coercion, yes, the kind of locking up Sunny refers I encountered myself with my friend in Singapore, but people here just disown their recalcitrant daughters, not murder them. I have seen - in one or two Tamil movies from the past, not in real life- Hindu parents carrying out a ritual funeral ceremony for kids they consider ‘dead’ to them- though this act is considered really extreme and an irrevocable breaking of the parent-child tie.

      Note I stress HONOUR-KILLINGS. Sunny has muddied the issue by adding quite a few other crimes against women under honour killing : dowry murder (5000 a year annually) and female infanticide*. Well why not include eve-teasing, all rapes,child marriages, sex trafficking and wife-beating then? Because it seems to me that you, Sunny, are operating under a very loose and convenient definition -all gender-based violence. If you want to be lazy about this, fine(you do have some company with some at HRW adding dowry murder but not female infanticide, this is really a stretch)I want to stay focussed on honour killing because it represents an extreme reaction along a continuum of abuse and violence.

      Let’s look at definitions of the term first.

      Wiki : >>Honor killing refers to extra-judicial capital punishment of a female relative for supposed sexual or marital offenses. The justification given is that the “offense” has brought “dishonor” to the family. This is a (I would insert the qualifier “often” here)double standard, because a man will not be killed for such an offense; if he rapes a woman, it is she who “brings dishonor” to her family, not he.

      >>Honor killing is a practice where a family member kills a female relative as punishment for sexual or marital offenses considered to have brought “dishonor” to the family. The prior concept usually relates to unsanctioned sexual activity—often including cases where a woman is raped.

      >>In societies and cultures where it occurs, honor killing is often regarded as a private matter for the affected family alone; rarely do non-family members or the courts become involved or prosecute the perpetrators. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that the annual worldwide total of honor killing victims may be as high as 5, 000 women.

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

      UNPF categorises honour killling quite clearly too:Many forms of communally sanctioned violence against women, such as “honour” killings, are associated with the community’s or the family’s demand for sexual chastity and virginity. Perpetrators of such wanton acts often receive light sentences or are excused by the courts entirely because defence of the family’s honour is treated as a mitigating circumstance.

      “Honour” killings are on the rise worldwide, according to Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions. Ms. Jahangir is working closely with United Nations special investigators on violence against women and on the independence of judges and lawyers to address the issue.

      “The perpetrators of these crimes are mostly male family members of the murdered women, who go unpunished or receive reduced sentences on the justification of having murdered to defend their misconceived notions of ‘family honour,’” Jahangir wrote in her 2000 annual report to the Commission on Human Rights.32 Such killings have been reported in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom, according to the report.

      http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2000/english/ch03.html

      The UNFP thinks that 5000 such killings occur a year.

      I would say that honour killings have this particular dynamic that is quite centred on male/tribal control of women’s bodies, their sexuality and their sexual choices. Sure there is an economic component but there is also a strong notion that the tribal/social order will be undermined by specific sexual behaviours of women.

      Dowry killings- lack the ‘honour’ aspect, they are purely venal in motivation.

      Honour killings occur in India, of course. but there are very few numbers. I am trying to locate reliable numbers but not much luck so far.

      This is a bloody long post, let me continue in another one.I actually wrote everything out with links about an hour ago but the pc got hung and i lost everything. 2nd time it happened at PP today.

      *female infanticide in India is both a middleclass,upper caste and urban phenomenon as well as a poor, lower caste and rural one with different dynamics at work in each.

    29. Refresh — on 16th July, 2006 at 10:45 pm  

      Mirax - the danger of following your line of identifying occurrences within a specific faith group could have lost us the sharing of knowledge of how widespread it is.

      If it is to be tackled we need to have clear thought and clear actions. Which Queen Bee is alluding to.

      I personally would include dowry killings. That too is on the same continuum. Why? Because the society/community where these occur are those that demand a particular form of conduct and any ‘misdemeanours’ are pinned on the whole family or even tribe. Which in turn affects the marriageability of siblings. Unless these core issues are tackled then people are open to blackmail and violence.

      Great information in your last post.

      Queen Bee, my partner is actually very active in partner abuse (a veteran if you like) - and is astonished how levels of abuse (reported) has increased in the last year or so, particularly in South Asian communities. And specifically in Pakistani communities, and they are invariably linked with broader family issues.

      Yes I agree the imams and priests need to stand up and speak out. But that is not enough. They themselves are open to persuasion that the family is doing the best for their off-spring.

    30. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 10:59 pm  

      >>Honour killings occur in India, of course. but there are very few numbers. I am trying to locate reliable numbers but not much luck so far.

      I mean that there are few numbers quoted, not a few cases only.

      Ok at first I agreed with Sunny (not for the reasons he quotes though, which were absurd) that there were more honour killings in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan due to there being a lot more endemic caste violence/wars in these states. Honour killing of couples who cross caste/religion lines(usually both partners, but often the lower caste partner- who is almost inevitably male because it is the uppercaste woman-lower caste man pairing that seems to stir the blood) is reported quite regularly and portrayed in the movies.
      The violence is very often directed towards the lower caste dalit male, it is more often than not solely family centred because the entire village (and the braindead morons from the next) turn up for the lynching, and the families of the couple involved may even be against the killing but powerless to act against community leaders. I still would consider this honour-killing despite the ambiguities. Dalits may retaliate when their women are raped by the uppercastes- quite a routine occurrence - and a classic example of social humiliation through abuse of a woman’s body.

      Then there is the other kind of honour-killing that a poster here actually referred to earlier. This is the type you lot in Britain should be more concerned about since I assume caste wars are not raging just yet on the streets of London. Why? Because it is specifically centred in the Northwest of India where most Brit Indians hail from. Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are the chief culprits. In fact it is estimated by AIDWA, an NGO that documents honour killings that the first two states account for 10% of all honour killings annually in India.

      >>The largest number of cases were found to have occurred in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh - most of the incidents reported at the convention took place in these three States. One reason for the increased visibility of such crimes is the trend of more and more girls joining educational institutions, meeting others from different backgrounds and castes and establishing relationships beyond the confines of caste and community. Such individuals, both boys and girls, are being targeted so that none dares to breach the barriers of castes and communities. Significantly, in the majority of cases it is the economically and socially dominant castes that organise, instigate and abet such acts of retribution.

      http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2103/stories/20040213001205000.htm

      There’s a lot of interesting reading in that link.

      Note the UNFP, AIDWA and Diana Nammi are all agreed on one thing- the numbers being reported are rising.

    31. mirax — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

      >>Mirax - the danger of following your line of identifying occurrences within a specific faith group could have lost us the sharing of knowledge of how widespread it is.

      He he, I was just about to start on my Pakistan section. Sorry, but women’s lives at being lost here and I think that anyone who wants to stop this must have as much correct and precise information as possible.

      My reasons are not that I hate Pakistan or Islam(I already said that Islam per se is not to blame. But because whenever you look up the literature- from UNPF, Amnesty International, etc- Pakistan figures prominently.Over a 1000 cases annually (out of the 5000 acknowledged by the UNFP. Their accounting and their focus. And also because you need to understand what goes on in Pakistan because this thing follows you back to the UK.

      Raz’s point about men being victims is true but the proportions are 3 women killed against 1 man.

      >>During year 2003 around 1,261 cases of honour killings were reported with 938 committed against women and 323 against males

      http://www.chowk.com/show_article.cgi?aid=00003178&channel=gulberg

      >>If it is to be tackled we need to have clear thought and clear actions. Which Queen Bee is alluding to.

      Clear knowledge too, Refresh!

      >>I personally would include dowry killings. That too is on the same continuum. Why? Because the society/community where these occur are those that demand a particular form of conduct and any ‘misdemeanours’ are pinned on the whole family or even tribe. Which in turn affects the marriageability of siblings. Unless these core issues are tackled then people are open to blackmail and violence.

      You just read up more about dowry killings, it is not quite what you describe here. It is barbaric and despicable and based on the numbers alone, equal to global numbers of honour-killing (thus hindus are worse than muslims, no?) but it isnt the problem this thread is discussing.

      The Chowk article discusses the legal background to honour killings, specifically the 1979 huddood/ZINA enactments which : The 1979 Zina law has also contributed to restricting women`s rights. The gender discrimination inherent in it sent an affirmative signal to those intent on treating women as second class human beings with fewer rights than men. It has also provided a handy tool with which to detain women who take any initiative with respect to their choice of a spouse, as fathers often bring zina charges against such women. (from the chowk link)

      The zina laws also place tthe burden of proving innocence (!) on the rape victim when such allegations surface and you can just imagine how easy that must be in Pakistan.

      Another link:
      >>There are many different aspects to this story but two things stand out in the report. One, that the Hadood laws brought in during Zia ul-Haq’s time gave legal sanction to the belief that a woman deserved to die if she was unfaithful. The burden of proof was entirely on her. The Shirkat Gah report writes: “These laws, based as they are on the most retrogressive interpretation of Islam, have served to confirm the inferior status of women in a deeply misogynist society and, in effect provided official sanction to their oppression”. As a result, “honour” killings, which were confined to tribal areas, have now moved into cities.

      The Shirkat Gah report is about Pakistan but there are many parallels in India. Both Pakistan and India have signed the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This requires that they do not “invoke custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations” under the convention.

      http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2002/11/03/stories/2002110300560300.htm

      What Pakistan has in common with say, Jordan, is not Islam, but a very lax state sanction (worse, maybe even tacit official approval) against honour killers.
      And what Jordan shares with Turkey (or kurdistan)or Palestine is not religion that sanctions women killing as such but culture.
      http://www.phrmg.org/monitor2002/Aug2002.htm

      Honour concepts vested in women’s sexuality have a long history in the Mediterranean rim. That links the south european countries - Spain, Italy and Greece- to the crime-of-passion killings or legal tolerance for such killings in Latin America.

    32. 13point1 — on 16th July, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

      Dowry killings and killing daughters before they’re born or just after is, I believe, symptom of the same problem - treating women as commodities of “honour”.

      >>I dont think you have any idea why people kill their daughters before they are born. You said earlier that its mostly the village folks who indulge in Hounor killings. FYI its not the village people who kill their daughters in womb. Its mostly middle class Indians doing it. So you contradicted yourself there or may be you were not aware of it.

      I have nothing to discuss if you think that coercion and honour killings are same thing. What i said in my message was based on the data i have seen in the media. Honour killing IS NOT a common act all over India. Even killing of girl child in womb is not.
      Hey but i understand your desire to include all communities from South Asia in this.

      You did the same thing in this thread with India and Pakistan.
      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/621#comments

    33. raz — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:14 am  

      Mirax,

      Just to add, thankfully the barbaric Hudood Laws are finally under scrutiny, and may well be amended/repealed soon. Already more than 1000 women were recently released from jail. A small step, because only a total scrapping of these absurd, backward laws is acceptable:

      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/f7fc221fd2e092366fbb57c8bbf4391c.htm

    34. raz — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:16 am  

      “Even killing of girl child in womb is not”

      50 million missing Indian females would disagree.

    35. mirax — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:36 am  

      >>Just to add, thankfully the barbaric Hudood Laws are finally under scrutiny, and may well be amended/repealed soon. Already more than 1000 women were recently released from jail. A small step, because only a total scrapping of these absurd, backward laws is acceptable:

      thank goodness, Raz. I find some of the hudood laws, particularly the zina components, really a threat to women’s freedoms but you know saying this in all honesty lays one open to the charge of islamophobe - as if that(hudood) was the sum and total of Islam (er, even I as rabid atheist will not stoop to such thinking); anyway glad that you aren’t here to scold me.

      Where did you pull your 50 million figure from? Let me tell you something, if ultrasound had been widely available when I was a foetus, my dad would have aborted me. He badly wanted a boy and I was the third girl (and he was a ‘progressive’ atheist!)In fact he was quite keen to give me up to his childless sister - she wanted me badly-but my mum refused pointblank. My dad died when I was kid (he was a pretty ok dad in the end) but it did me no good at all to have my mother and aunt regaling me quite regularly with this story - the angle being how bitterly them women fought over baby me- when I was growing up. Explains half my problems ;-)

    36. mirax — on 17th July, 2006 at 1:23 am  

      >>Also, given Tamil Nadu (where I lived for three years) is extremely conservative in some bizarre ways, I have no doubt there is persistent coercion to force women to marry.

      Tamils are no more bizarrely conservative than other indians and the forced marriage syndrome exists mainly within a numerically small upper-caste elite. The middling/lower castes(OBS and SC) marry quite freely. The dominant DMK ideology for the last 50 tears has also meant a consistent promotion of a strong anticaste, anti-hindu (some interpret the two as an anti-brahmin bias), pro-women political culture. That’s why the state government would sponsor mass public weddings for widows remarrying, as well as inter-caste marriages. Trying to break taboos. All a bit moonie like and quite cynical and hypocritical (on the part of the politicians) quite often but not a backward social policy. Not compared to the vast majority of Indian states. In fact the TN has been been out of step - together with Kerala and W bengal-with the rest of India and it’s been sometimes quite revolutionary.Just wanted to say that.

      one small point. I recently found out that CM Jayalalitha’s ‘friendship’ with a female friend whom she lives with is more than a friendship. This was only alluded to in the english press very, very infrequently and indirectly. Hoping to spring a surprise on my aunt from india, I told her about this a few months ago. She told me that that has been an open secret for years and that I would have known if I read the Tamil press. A lesbian CM whom quite a lot of people hate for many, many reasons apart from *that*. I thought it was quite bizarrely cool.

    37. raz — on 17th July, 2006 at 1:27 am  

      mirax,

      Belive me, Hudood laws are despised by most modern Pakistanis. Sadly, for various reasons, getting rid of them has been extremely problematic, but it seems finally we are making progress. I am confident that sooner or later they will be gone for good.

      Here’s a link about the 50 million missing females:

      http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/24/opinion/edswami.php

    38. mirax — on 17th July, 2006 at 1:42 am  

      Hey Raz, we had a discussion on this on PP. the missing number over the last 20 years is 10 million girls.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4592890.stm

      That swami guy who wrote the article you linked to must be smoking something.10 million is bad enough.Haryana tops the table in the sex imbalance. Compare that with the honour killings estimate. Something’s rotten in that state.

    39. Sunny — on 17th July, 2006 at 2:11 am  

      Jayalalitha was a lesbian? WTF? But wasn’t she that film star’s mistress for ages? God I hated that woman, and still do, while I was there.

      I dont think you have any idea why people kill their daughters before they are born. You said earlier that its mostly the village folks who indulge in Hounor killings. FYI its not the village people who kill their daughters in womb. Its mostly middle class Indians doing it.

      13point1 - I’m not sure how that stands up. They abort their daughters for one main reason - they cannot afford to pay the dowry. If they were middle class then it would be easier to pay dowry, or more manageable than a poor person.

      I believe it was in India Unbound (though i’m not sure I read about 20 books when I was travelling around India), in which an author said they found female foetocide primarily in the villages.

      I’m not discounting that middle class people do it too. I’m talking about the majority here.

      In India they don’t just have girls being killed, they have bizarre cases where girls are forced to marry a tree or forced to marry a dog or whatever. Believe me I’ve read them stories.

      In the UK it is primarily Pakistanis - I’m not going to deny that.

      Queen Bee has said everything I wanted to.

    40. xyz — on 17th July, 2006 at 3:40 am  

      [they have bizarre cases where girls are forced to marry a tree or forced to marry a dog or whatever. Believe me I’ve read them stories.]

      I think it’s unfair to call these practices bizarre. They are tribal practices and don’t result in harm to the person or living thing involved. There are other tribal practices that are harmful of course, but marrying a tree or a dog is not one of them. The girl is free to marry a human later. It’s more of a superstition or good luck practice, no more bizarre than practices in the rest of India or the West such as wedding ceremonies and the many religious rituals/prescriptions we all do for one odd reason or the other. Frankly, marrying a dog or a tree or conducting a marriage ceremony for snakes is far less bizarre than an honour killing, in which relatives slaughter their own flesh and blood, or a dowry death, in which the in-laws generally set fire to the victim.

    41. xyz — on 17th July, 2006 at 4:03 am  

      The number of missing females due to foeticide is 10 million in India and Haryana and Punjab account for a significant portion of that. It’s a despicable practice, but I wonder if it is any worse than aborting any child, male or female? Just because you don’t care about the sex of the child you’re aborting (boy or girl), does it make your abortion any more moral? What about all the missing children period? I support a woman’s right to choose, but it is a troubling question whether it can be considered more ethical than a sex selection-based abortion.

    42. mirax — on 17th July, 2006 at 4:57 am  

      Is a lesbian Sunny. You could read a huge number of English articles and not have that come out at all.

      She was also Mgr’s mistress. I think her popularity is due to her operating beyond the normal rules that apply.

      I think ,like myself upthread, you are being careless about infanticide (baby killing) and foeticide(aborting foetusses). The former happens in villages and the latter in cities. Both present problems but the foeticide is more troubling for a quite a number of reasons. I think that you should read up on this issue when PP had a discussion on it some months back.

      XYZ, your point about abortion itself being ethically wrong rather than sex-selected abortion. Let’s forget, for the moment, the relative morality of vastly disproportionately killing female foetusses in India and China. Could we discuss whether it is desirable or pragmatic for these societies to end up with such such skewed sex ratios instead?

    43. xyz — on 17th July, 2006 at 5:32 am  

      Mirax, of course it isn’t desirable or pragmatic for such a skewed ratio. I guess I was just raising a separate issue. I remember reading news coverage of the story about India’s missing females. Some of it had more than a hint of superiority, which to me is misplaced, because the liberal, pro-choice skew in much of the West cannot, in my opinion, be placed as some sort of morally superior or ethically superior choice to women who choose to abort females on a purely ethical plane. The wayward teen who has casual sex and gets pregnant in high school in the West and then chooses to abort, whether the child is male or female, is no more a progressive choice or feature of a progressive culture than an Indian woman forced to do something undesirable because of societal or family pressure. They are both extremely unfortunate, undesirable and the result of different mores.

      I am in no way saying that female infanticide should be tolerated because other countries are pro-choice or very liberal when it comes to abortions. As I said, theoretically I am pro-choice. But I just don’t think some of the people who wrote some of the news stories about it had any real leg to stand on when it came to the morality of sex selected-abortion. Abortion is abortion, killing a male child or a female child is the same as knowing the sex and killing a female child. The only thing different is the result in terms of sex ratio. I guess I am wondering whether an ethicist can really make the claim that killing more female babies is morally (not pragmatically or any other practical reason, for which it is indeed worse) worse than killing either a boy or girl child randomly. I don’t think I’ve explained myself properly. Anyways, it was just a random thought I had when the story first came out.

    44. sleepy — on 17th July, 2006 at 6:11 am  

      xyz,
      “The wayward teen who has casual sex and gets pregnant in high school in the West and then chooses to abort, whether the child is male or female, is no more a progressive choice or feature of a progressive culture than an Indian woman forced to do something undesirable because of societal or family pressure. ”

      Don’t you think there’s a big difference in who ends up making the choice? The high school kid that gets pregnant will likely get an abortion because it’s her choice to do so. Sex-selective abortions tend to reflect societal and family pressure more than an individual woman’s choice. The pro-choice standpoint is based on a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, so a woman being told by her family to abort wouldn’t fit into the same framework of pro-choice or pro-life. I don’t know, a lot of discussions on selective sex abortion tend to get stuck on this issue.

    45. Katy Newton — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:32 am  

      xyz,

      Gender selective abortion isn’t just about the act of abortion itself. I see that if you are anti-abortion (I am not) then an abortion will be murder to you whether the foetus is male or female. But over and above that, there are specific ramifications for the structure of society when one sex is consistently aborted over the other. As fewer and fewer women are born, fewer and fewer people exist to procreate, and existing women immediately become more of a commodity, albeit a rare one - for example, in some areas of the subcontinent poor married men are “renting” their wives to richer men who cannot find a wife of their own.

    46. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 11:42 am  

      what a bunch of disgusting men in her family. they sound like psychopaths - can you imagine what kind of a man makes his CHILDREN watch him kill? who the hell do these people think they are? God it sounds like.. They think they have the right to give or take life. Sheesh - anyways - what happens to the rest of the family and these 2 little girls who’ve been traumatized that’s what i want to know.

    47. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      there is clearly a big problem with these ‘brothers’ and fathers thinking they’ve got some right over their daughters and sisters life - i think there needs to be a big stand made against these selfish men. Patriarchy - off you go, and don’t come back.

    48. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 11:46 am  

      what about everybody else in Southall? what’s the opinion on ‘the street’ - that should be interesting to find out about.

    49. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      there needs to be a strong culture of disapproval of this sort of thing. i mean - i can’t get my head round it - what did the family of this poor girl think - that they were going to carry on life as normal? go round to the neighbours for tea the next week? and what to say when the neighbours ask..ooh and where’s x or y? what would the family’s response be? Oh you know..did a bit of the old honour killing, pass us the sugar why don’t ya? Huh. i don’t get it. we know these people are interested in saving ‘face’ ( which is part of their motives actually) so we need to turn that on its head.

    50. Arif — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

      Sonia, I was also thinkin on these line (#49).

      They seem more ashamed about meeting the neighbours and saying their daughter/sister has gone off with an Afghan from another caste, than about telling them they have killed her for even thinking such a thing and therefore protected the honour of their clan.

      Of course there will be other dynamics as well, anger about they way she says things and other pent up grivances gone out of proportion. But it is the supposed threat to family honour which legitimises the murder in their eyes, regardless of how the authorities will interpret things. So the culture needs to evolve to make the protection of honour a matter of protecting life above all, and to deepen the shame of those who treat women as property.

      From outside the culture, I think the best we can do is provide safe refuges and legal protections.

    51. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

      Arif you’re absolutely right.

      “They seem more ashamed about meeting the neighbours and saying their daughter/sister has gone off with an Afghan from another caste, than about telling them they have killed her for even thinking such a thing and therefore protected the honour of their clan.”

      Somehow - and i know this is more of a long-term approach- but people need to be able to feel proud of their daughters and their independence etc., not something to be ashamed of. Also the ‘peer pressure’ factor needs understanding and analysing. whilst a lot of families are perfectly happy with their own immediate family dynamic, often the crunch comes when it comes to ‘oh but what will the community say’. and this is probably the case for lots of people across the same ‘community’ - everyone living in ‘fear’ of what everyone else thinks.

    52. Rakhee — on 17th July, 2006 at 1:48 pm  

      Over the past few months there’s been a couple of stories where perhaps our voices of disagreement need to be heard much louder (e.g. the recent case of the Indian woman who was deported as reported on PP a month or so ago - forgive me, I don’t have time to link this).

      Perhaps something needs to be done.

      I’m just thinking out loud and I wonder whether we can do something simple, like an email alert which can be forwarded to friends with the details of the killers, their pictures and a pledge to say that we, as people who champion the rights of human beings, will not tolerate it.

      I just feel that the media cover it, we talk about it but then it’s sadly forgotten about.

      I’m happy to make something happen but does anyone have any other bright (and simple) ideas?

    53. Ravi Naik — on 17th July, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

      “In the UK it is primarily Pakistanis - I’m not going to deny that.”

      Regardless of where it originates from, honour killings serve to wash down the shame in a community. But I wonder what community are we talking about. I suspect it’s not the asian community in the UK/Southall but back home in South Asia. This confirms that there are lot of families who live in the UK but remain in a bubble in a virtual village in Pakistan or India.

    54. mirax — on 17th July, 2006 at 4:38 pm  

      #52 You might want to contact Southall Black sisters and ask them what you can do. After Sunny’s posts (in June) on forced marriage on CiF, Rahila Gupta wrote a detailed explanation on CiF as to why Southall BS had decided against new legislation to tackle the problem. I got the strong impression that the government has not so far committed itself wholly to the cause:

      What is desperately needed is a system that gives women such as Rukhsana the option of safe housing, a demand of all women’s groups. Instead the government has engaged in a symbolic exercise by consulting on a “resource-neutral” law, as it is known in policy circles. It is sending a message that it is serious about forced marriage, but a law without resources is worse than nothing. Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters called it “a cynical way of appearing to take responsibility while avoiding it”.

      So there seems to be a lack of resources to set up enough safe houses - is this not where the community and individual activists/volunteers step in? I go by my mother’s example. We shared our home with all sorts of people who needed a bit of help for a while. It wasn’t that much of a sacrifice.

    55. sonia — on 17th July, 2006 at 5:33 pm  

      it sounds like ravi’s got a good point in 53 - about worrying what the ‘folks back home’ think. i’ve got a little story to share ( nothing awful..) just about a very good friend of mine who when she was getting married - she was at her second year in Kings, fiance was in Karachi, parents and fiance happy to wait for her to finish up b4 getting married. ( her parents lived in kuwait) turned out then all of a sudden she got married at the end of her second year - why? oh the ‘extended’ family in karachi couldn’t be bothered with the long engagement thing - which involved having to take sweets over to the potential in-laws etc. - so were keen she getting married sooner rather than later. and so it happened that way. Interesting where the social pressure came from.

    56. El Cid — on 17th July, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

      i wonder how Cinderella, Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs, Romeo and Juliet (which could have Moorish roots),West Side Story, etc goes down in some parts of (virtual) Pakistan/NW India

    57. raz — on 17th July, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

      mirax,

      I believe the 50 million missing takes into account a longer period of time:

      http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/grhf-asia/forums/foeticide/articles/foeticide.html

      “A 1997 UNFPA report “India Towards Population and Development Goals”, estimates that 48 million women are missing from India’s population. The report states that, “If the sex ratio of 1036 females per 1000 males observed in the state of Kerala in 1991 had prevailed in the whole country, the number of females would be 455 million instead of the 407 million(in the 1991 census). Thus, there is a case of between 32 to 48 million missing females in the Indian society as of 1991 that needs to be explained.”

      “According to the UNICEF, 40 to 50 million girls have gone ‘missing’ in India since 1901- missing because they were not allowed to be born, or if born, murdered immediately thereafter. . Today, India tops the list as far as illegal abortions and female infanticide are concerned. Of the 15 million illegal abortions carried out the in the world in 1997, India accounted for four million, 90% of which were intended to eliminate the girl child”

      I don’t want to labour this point as it is not my intention to distract attention from honour killings, but we should be clear of the facts.

      Anyway, back on topic, what disguts me most about these cases is the fact that mothers/aunties are often involved as well. We often portray these crimes as men dominating women, but it sickens me to see female participation in such barbaric crimes.

    58. Don — on 17th July, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

      ‘Honour’ killings are part of the spectrum which includes forced marriage and female infanticide; daughter as commodity. Mirax is, as usual, right that a key factor is to set up systems which the vulnerable can access with confidence.

      Tragically, this would probably not have helped Samaira Nazir, an independant, smart, educated young woman who, as I suppose, went to the home of those she loved without any idea of the evil of which they were capable.

      As the father of a daughter I have tried but I cannot find even a fingerhold for understanding such foulness. Did no-one there remember her birth, her first smile, her grip on their finger? How anxious they were over every fever, how proud of her first steps and words? Was there nothing but futile ‘honour’?

      Billy Bragg said;

      ‘In the end compassion has to be the greatest family value’

      How hard is that to understand?

    59. Shankar — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:10 pm  

      ::I don’t want to labour this point as it
      ::is not my intention to distract attention from
      ::honour killings, but we should be clear
      :: of the facts.

      You got upset that the majority of ‘honour killings’ in the UK stem from Pakistan, hence you wanted to bring attention to India. Fair enough.

      You bring two studies, one from UNFPA and the other from UNICEF… and there is a big disparity between them. I am not sure whether you can blame all the missing females on infanticide/abortion. Some may die early as a result of poor nutrition, hygienic conditions, lack of health facilities specially when pregant. 50 million in 20 years seem absurd.

      The figures from UNICEF seem more realistic and they go back to 1901. There was no India back then, so one has to assume Pakistan was part of the figures.

    60. raz — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

      “You got upset that the majority of ‘honour killings’ in the UK stem from Pakistan, hence you wanted to bring attention to India. Fair enough”

      No, I was only responding to the wildly inaccurate claim from 13point1 that killing the girl in womb is not common in India. Prior to that, I had mentioned only honour killings, and nothing about India. And what disparity? The upper number estimate of UNPFA is 48 million and the upper number of UNICEF is 50 million. The lower numbers are 32 vs 40. Looks pretty close to me.

      “The figures from UNICEF seem more realistic and they go back to 1901. There was no India back then, so one has to assume Pakistan was part of the figures”

      This obviously indicates that foeticide is mainly an Indian problem, seeing as the amount of missing females in Indian society has gone up so dramatically since India became a separate state from Pakistan. Just like honour killings seem to be a bigger problem amongst Pakistanis, and dowry murders a bigger problem amongst Indians. All are disgraceful.

    61. Gibs — on 17th July, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

      I understand that the law was recently changed so that if a murder was found to have a “racist motive”, the judge can take that into consideration and increase the length of the minimum jail term.

      I have no doubt that the MCB, Sikh Federation, Hindu Forum and other so called “community organisations” wholeheartedly supported that particular change in the law.

      Let us now see if they support another change in the law which will allow a judge to increase the sentence for murders that have an “honour killing” element.

      My opinion is that these “community organisations” will oppose such a law, just as they opposed making Forced Marriage a crime - proving once again that these organisations serve no one but themselves.

    62. Gibs — on 17th July, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

      Having read Queen Bee’s article about the Danish experience, it may be an appropriate time to mention the appalling situation regarding honour killings in Turkey - a candidate country for joining the EU.

      It should be made crystal clear to Turkey that they must stamp out this barbaric practice of honour killings BEFORE it is allowed to join the EU.

      Otherwise, a problem that currently exists in the most backward of Europe’s ghettos will suddenly become mainstream if a country of Turkey’s vast population were to join.

      Freedom for one to choose whom to marry (rather than have the choice made for one) should be a non negotiable freedom in the EU - and anyone who joins or intends to emigrate to the EU .

      Ditto regarding freedom to choose one’s own religion (or lack of religion).

      Take it OR LEAVE IT.

    63. El Cid — on 17th July, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

      I just think it would be better to stick to the topic in hand.
      Honour killings aren’t just part of the spectrum — they are the extreme.
      All these objections regarding female foeticide are all well and good, but ethically is the practice any worse than foeticide in general? Why should “I don’t want this boy because it’s the wrong time in my career or it’ll get in the way of Glastonbury” be any worthier than “I don’t want this girl because we can’t afford a dowry and my husband is getting on and needs help pushing the plough.”
      Yes, I know it’s endemic in India but that’s not the point.
      I mean I would never do it — I have a fantastic daughter. I wish I had 100 of them (actually, she’s a bit boisterous — maybe 3 of them at the most).
      In any case, let’s frigging stop muddying the waters.
      This is about honour killings. What’s more this happened in Britain (and Denmark), not in Asia.
      Is there an Asian-solidarity-cum-PC thing going on here because people are wary of putting the focus squarely on the one community in Britain where this is mainly a problem. Maybe it’s all part of the post-7/7, let’s be careful not to alienate and radicalise these people kind of thing.
      But what purpose is served by speaking in forked tongues. After all, we’re only talking about a tiny proportion of a community and we have already established that it’s not religious but a village-based culture.
      In addition, I would argue that it’s best to be more open about these matters to counter and dispel other mistaken and related views — expressed recently by a police report, if I remember rightly — that tight family connections make British Pakistani policemen more prone to corruption. I can’t remember exactly who said it.

    64. Tanvir — on 17th July, 2006 at 8:28 pm  

      Forced marriage is plainly invalid. As for these honour killing being unIslamic. Yes they are. But mosque imams are sometimes powerless. See mosque committees run mosques and their policy and they are the ones who appoint imams. So this is where the politics creeps in. What the younger generation of Muslims brought up here need to do is join the mosque committees to work towards combating the issues that cause ‘islamaphobia’ or whatever you call it, rather than putting the ‘stop islamaphobia’ banners in your face wherever you go.

      I know of a imam in the north, who when on a trip to his village in Pakistan, was contacted by a girl from the same time as him in England for help because she was being forcibly married, he did manage to help her out.

      Only problem is, when he returned to the UK he was viciously assaulted by that girls family members, as he caused ‘their wedding’ to dissolve causing the family embarrassment. The reason why i know about this is because i know some one of the lads who went on the retaliation mission (as british-asian-ghetto culture teaches you) and ended up spending a night in a cell.

      Raz & co I think the unacceptable practices against women are all pretty bad across south asia, lets not get defensive when all our particular regions hold practices that are indefensible.

      In some ways i think asians in Britain arent moving forward with these issues, families have been continuing backward rural village mindsets that were imported here in the 60s while back home people are being educated through various government campaigns.

    65. Ravi Naik — on 18th July, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

      “Is there an Asian-solidarity-cum-PC thing going on here because people are wary of putting the focus squarely on the one community in Britain where this is mainly a problem….In addition, I would argue that it’s best to be more open about these matters to counter and dispel other mistaken and related views”

      I agree with you. PP would be the right platform for people to voice their opinions and also their prejudices. We are dealing with complex social issues that affect millions, and therefore there is a tendency to oversimplify them based on our limited experiences. Because people here come from different backgrounds, we can have a more balanced picture and at the end, we all gain from it.

      However, for that to happen, I think we need to get out of our moral high-horses, and listen to what people say even if they may sound insensitive, non-PC and - god forbid - racist. There is a quick tendency of deeming comments as out of order, of lacking decorum, of fomenting hate between different communities and I find this type of engagement quite unfortunate.

      But back to our subject of unacceptable practices against women, let’s not forget domestic violence which is more pervasive and goes unreported in most cases for the sake of the children/marriage. And unfortunately, the West (specially southern european countries and their “macho” cultures) has a significant problem with violence against women, which includes beatings and sometimes murder. This all comes down to looking at women as property of men.

      I rather prefered that our little village cowards commited suicide to get the honour they so deserve, rather than killing an innocent human being who had the courage to leave the bubble and their little world.

    66. Refresh — on 18th July, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

      El Cid

      “In addition, I would argue that it’s best to be more open about these matters to counter and dispel other mistaken and related views — expressed recently by a police report, if I remember rightly — that tight family connections make British Pakistani policemen more prone to corruption. I can’t remember exactly who said it.”

      Its unfortunate this ‘unofficial’ Police report is going to be repeated. I would point out that it was released in the immediate aftermath of Forest Gate disaster. It was also disclaimed by the Senior Police Officers.

      Read into that what you will.

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