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May 18, 2007

Four Arrested in Dua Khalil Aswad Honor Killing (Updated)

Topics: Understanding Islam

Her "crime" was falling in love with a Sunni Muslim boy, for which she was brutally stoned to death:

Authorities in northern Iraq have arrested four people in connection with the "honor killing" last month of a Kurdish teen -- a startling, morbid pummeling caught on a mobile phone video camera and broadcast around the world.

The case portrays the tragedy and brutality of honor killings in the Muslim world, and in this case the non-Islamic Yazidi people. Honor killings take place when family members kill relatives, almost always female, because they feel the relatives' actions have shamed the family.



What can you say about a culture that stands by and watches this, and take no action to save the girl or contribute some measure of rationality to the mob mentality and the sick custom of honor killing?

Related - important perspective here: 'Honor killing' stokes tensions

Hat tip - Blogs of War

Posted by Abdul at May 18, 2007 10:29 PM

Sadly this type of behavior is not limited to just one culture. If it were, I would be the first person to just eliminate that society. However, any time an individual violates a social norm, especially a taboo, that individual is at risk. Sometimes it means her,or his life. This girl was pummelled by a mob because she dared to live a life that her retarded and mean spirited small town couldn't wrap their heads around. It has happened in America, not as a stoning, but as lynchings where they usually just drag people behind cars, or hang them from trees after burning or disemboweling them. It started out because of race, or religion, but only a few years ago they killed some kid in the midwest because he was openly gay. They tortured and killed him, drug him with a car. It's not about "those people". It's about us as people. Cruelty is universal, but so is Beauty, and Goodness. Let this girl be a light. She dared to be a whole person.

Posted by: Heather at May 22, 2007 4:37 AM

Sadly this type of behavior is not limited to just one culture. If it were, I would be the first person to just eliminate that society. However, any time an individual violates a social norm, especially a taboo, that individual is at risk. Sometimes it means her,or his life. This girl was pummelled by a mob because she dared to live a life that her retarded and mean spirited small town couldn't wrap their heads around. It has happened in America, not as a stoning, but as lynchings where they usually just drag people behind cars, or hang them from trees after burning or disemboweling them. It started out because of race, or religion, but only a few years ago they killed some kid in the midwest because he was openly gay. They tortured and killed him, drug him with a car. It's not about "those people". It's about us as people. Cruelty is universal, but so is Beauty, and Goodness. Let this girl be a light. She dared to be a whole person.

Posted by: Heather at May 22, 2007 4:37 AM

Heather is right about people of all ideologies being capable of heinous acts. But I'm afraid she does a bit too much smoothing over and avoiding the fact that cultures associated with versions of one particular ideology have continued honor killing as norm in the modern world. This in spite of the fact that the great majority of Muslims around the world condemn the practice.

As far as letting this girl be a light that she dared to be a whole person, I'd much rather her life mean an ending to the sick culture that surrounds so much of some of the societies within Islam in Africa and in the case of this particular girl, Yazidi, which is not Islamic - an ethnic Kurd.

Posted by: Richard at May 22, 2007 9:21 AM

This is what American blood is being spilled for? We joke about Geo Bush's unsophistication but his TOTAL misunderstanding of that regon has gotton us into an undeclared, unnecessary and costly war where we have achieved absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Charles Almon at May 24, 2007 9:10 PM

How did George Bush get into this dialogue?

As Abdul says, waaaaaaaay toooooo much Kool-Aid...

Posted by: Richard at May 24, 2007 11:56 PM

Though people may commit honor killings in the name of Islam, it's no more about Islam in reality than the shooting to death of a gay couple in California was about Christianity. It's about cultural values/taboos. It's notable that while many honor killings happen in Muslim areas, a closer look reveals that within those countries, they happen almost exclusively among tribal peoples there. In Turkey it is almost completely among tribal Kurds (as opposed to those which are not affiliated with tribes); in Iran it's mostly among the Arabs and Kurds - it's rare among Turks or Persians for example. These are societies in which one's actions reflect on the entire tribe or extended family. The order for such a killing generally does not come from a religious leader but a tribal chief or a group of elders. It's more of an issue now as young people (and women in particular) find themselves caught between a world that offers freedom of religion, association and sexual choice, and an older generation that was brought up within a very strict code of behavior...a very treacherous generation gap.

Posted by: Bob at May 25, 2007 7:35 PM



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