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← UPDATED: "Honour" killings. The crimewave that shames the world

UPDATED: "Honour" killings. The crimewave that shames the world - Comments

Hammert1me's Avatar Comment 31 by Hammert1me

You can judge a civization, not by the actions of its individual, but by the response of the community to that action.

The Jamie Bulger killings, for example, were not the death of British values. The day an event like that happens and no-one cares, that is the day our british values die.

Thats what scares and horrifies my about these crimes - not that they happen, every society has deviants. It's the fact that the actions taken are nigh applauded and understood by the community at large.

What kind of mentality can lead a man to murder his own daughter? I understand that life is cheap and short in these places. Is it a personal shame?

"She's my daughter, I didn't protect her, she was raped. I should send her to heaven quickly, her life is not worth living now"

Or it could be just another symptom of the Pyramid of Power Abuse.

The mother abuses the child, lest her husband beat her.

The husband abuses the wife, lest his father and uncles think of him as weak.

The older men abuse thier nephews and sons, lest they loose face with thier leaders and holy men.

The holy men instigate violence and barbarism, because it says to in their holy book.

God abuses everyone. Even though he doesn't exist.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:02:59 UTC | #513279

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 32 by Peter Grant

@Mr. Stick

OK, so when you combine religion, almost any religion, with backward traditions you get "honour" killings. I find it rather hard to imagine an atheist, even in a similarly backward situation, killing his own children in order to defend his "honour".

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:04:06 UTC | #513280

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 33 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 13 by Paine :

Disgusting and hideous as this practice is, I think the article makes it quite clear that it's not limited to any one religion or community. It's common to Christians, Muslims, Hindus, yezidis and many others.

I just did a rough count (I may have missed one or two) of the named victims Robert Fisk mentioned. As follows:

Muslim 52

Hindu 3

Sikh 1

Christian 0

But of course, Islam is the religion of peace. To suggest otherwise would be racist Islamophobia.

Richard

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:05:03 UTC | #513282

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 34 by Peter Grant

Comment 33 by Richard Dawkins

Fair enough Prof, guess we can give Islam "credit" for starting this meme. What also worries me though it that it seems to be spreading to other religions.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:19:01 UTC | #513292

SeanSantos's Avatar Comment 35 by SeanSantos

@Paine "All the cases mentioned above, I think none stated 'God' as the motivation or justification."

While this is true, Islam is a tremendous force for preserving such a barbarous conception of "honor". I highly doubt that most of these things would happen in a world without Islam or other grand ideology which devalues women and demonizes even mild sexual "transgressions".

I feel that when a family is trying to preserve honor in this way, it is because they have an idea of what a family is "supposed" to be like, and what actions are holy or impure, and Islam is the strongest force for preserving and propping up such warped norms.

But I think it's worth saying. This form of "honor", which demands unwavering adherence to a specific and largely arbitrary moral code, regardless of the consequences to oneself or others: I think this honor is an inferior form of morality, and regardless of whether it is religious in nature or not, it should be brought under criticism, and its excesses punished. This is true even of, say, the military conception of honor, which may prove to be necessary or simply impossible to eradicate, but like religious ideals should not be allowed infinite deference just because it is a deeply-held value.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:23:39 UTC | #513295

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 36 by Steve Zara

Those who say that these awful killings aren't inspired by Islam, or a belief in God, are missing something important about religion. Religion is supposed to be inspiring people to do good. It's defenders often claim it is the only source of morality.

Well, Islam doesn't seem to be a very good source of morality, does it?

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:30:10 UTC | #513300

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 37 by Stafford Gordon

I commented initially having only partially read the piece because I had a pretty good idea what the rest of it contained.

In the interim I've attempted to complete my reading of the article; I failed.

This is an account of a world I can not even begin to imagine. This, surely, cannot be happening on the planet I inhabit.

This is "hell" on earth. Hell deliberately created by human beings. And, it seems to be getting worse.

For me, this website is a haven of goodness and humanity.

Stafford Gordon

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:32:34 UTC | #513301

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 38 by LaurieB

For those who are waffling on whether or not to blame Islam for the physical violence that is perpetrated against Muslim women, here is the pertinent passage in the Koran. Reminder: To all 1.5 billion Muslims this is the holy word of Allah.

Sura IV.34 Section 6

Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because God has given The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient,and guard In (the husband's) absence What God would have them guard.

As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them (first) (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them; But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means of annoyance For God is Most High Great (above you all).

In line 6 of the second paragraph, the word beat is the arabic verb that is pronounced as "Utherubp" That is the closest phonetic spelling I can produce for English speakers. There is absolutely no doubt that this word means the same as our word beat. It is also used as hit. Any softening of the definition of this word is a very dishonest flim flam. The verb Utherubp is very commonly used in everyday conversation and even little children know and use it.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:36:29 UTC | #513304

inquisador's Avatar Comment 39 by inquisador

Islam has to take the blame for most honour killings. A figure of 91% has been given as the percentage of such crimes that are committed by Muslims.

Most telling is the existence of a provision of Sunni Islamic law as certified by Al Azhar University, that exempts a parent or grandparent of any penalty for killing their own children or grandchildren.

This has long been known by anyone who cares to read such material, and is perfectly consistent with the many other anti-human edicts of this hideous religion. A religion which is visibly thriving and spreading in the west under our generous and obsequiously respectful, politically correct system.

Perhaps the BBC will make a documentary exposing the evils of Islam?

Perhaps I will be the next Caliph?

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:40:22 UTC | #513306

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 40 by mirandaceleste

Comment 28 by Mr. Stick :

A truly saddening article.

As much as I dislike islam, I would have to agree that this is not a question of religion, but rather of tradition in backwards parts of the world (that happens to have a muslim majority). We've had our share of honour killings too in Denmark. One of the more publicised were that of a young Pakistani woman who eloped with the man she wanted to marry. Her whole family conspired to track her down, and eventually she was shot dead in the street by her brother. She was betrayed by her aunt to whom she had confided. An earlier case involved a 14 year old Iraqi girl, killed by her father for becoming too western.

Of course it's a question of religion. And perhaps I'm misreading your comment, but doesn't your second point confirm that? In other words, you say that "this is not a question of religion, but rather of tradition in backwards parts of the world (that happens to have a muslim majority)" but then go on to describe honor killings that have occurred in Denmark, a country that few people would consider to be "backwards".

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:44:32 UTC | #513308

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 41 by kaiserkriss

So what are we going to do about this?? Sincerely fellow Non- Believers, it is time to get off our collective posteriors and DO something about this disgusting and immoral behavior.

This "Tradition" is not restricted to the Muslim world- there are plenty of instances of these horrid incidents in Xtian communities as well. If a generalization could be made, one could say this savage behavior would seem to be more prevalent in patriarchic dominated societies.

I for one will not be sitting on my hands and will try to bring change about through education and empowerment of women. How I plan to do that I cannot discuss at the moment, but I WILL do something about it.

Now if all of us take a "will do" or proactive attitude rather a passive one, these barbaric(that's actually an insult to the Barbarians) practices will be shown for what they actually are- premeditated murder of the vilest kind.

I'm sure we can ALL come up with ways, collectively or individually to do something about the abomination of Honour Killings. jcw

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:46:54 UTC | #513310

root2squared's Avatar Comment 42 by root2squared

All this nonsense about honour is simply the "sex = bad/dishonourable" meme. The more sexual suppression in a society, the less power women have in it, and Islamic culture suppresses sex the most. No surprise then, that their women are the most oppressed.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:47:08 UTC | #513311

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 43 by Mrkimbo

There's been a lot of controversy here in Australia about boatloads of asylum seekers arriving from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Well the solution is simple - send back men from Islamic countries and accept all women without question with the words 'welcome to civilisation'.

Except the asylum seekers from Afghanistan are almost all male. Presumably they don't consider their women worth preserving from what ever they are seeking asylum from, or don't want them getting decadent western ideas in Australia, like the right to vote, own property and dress how they like.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:48:23 UTC | #513314

Zurak's Avatar Comment 44 by Zurak

Comment 39 by inquisador :

Islam has to take the blame for most honour killings. A figure of 91% has been given as the percentage of such crimes that are committed by Muslims.

Perhaps the BBC will make a documentary exposing the evils of Islam?

Perhaps I will be the next Caliph?

Not a chance in the BBC exposing the evils in islam. None what so ever. Not when the shady Aaqil Ahmed a devout muslims runs the BBC's religion and ethics department =p. Here

Updated: Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:50:35 UTC | #513316

green and dying's Avatar Comment 45 by green and dying

Comment 42 by root2squared :

All this nonsense about honour is simply the "sex = bad/dishonourable" meme.

Nah, it's only bad when women do it without their owner's permission.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:51:27 UTC | #513318

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 46 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 32 by Peter Grant

@Mr. Stick

OK, so when you combine religion, almost any religion, with backward traditions you get "honour" killings. I find it rather hard to imagine an atheist, even in a similarly backward situation, killing his own children in order to defend his "honour".

But we all know Atheism is not a religion now don't we children?...come on, please.

The point is that whatever the reasons, this honour killing is barbaric, it just seems that the more extreme religion always seems to be at the forefront, no matter what culture, including those that have allegedly bought into western ideals.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:07:44 UTC | #513332

Zelig's Avatar Comment 47 by Zelig

It seems to me that these issues have two separate, though related, aspects.

1.The world is composed of many individuals and communities following very different, often antithetical, practises and beliefs. Orwell remarked long ago that his generation had an awareness of human misery that was largely inaccessible to his grandparents generation. Post-Orwell, this awareness of the "Other" has accelerated beyond all recognition. What, if anything, should be done about this "juxtaposition" of very different value systems? Well, the short answer is that it is largely futile and presumptuous to will far beyond your means, and that the scale of this issue is so vast that individual nation states are largely impotent.

2.Concentrate on what you can legitimately, both morally and practically, exercise some influence and control over. i.e. your own society/nation/culture. i.e. Affirm and actively promote and defend certain basic post-Enlightenment tenets, regardles of the religion, skin colour, economic status, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality of your allies or opponents. It really is that simple.

It seems to me that #2 is were we should overwhelmingly apply ourselves, rather than various transnational, trans-cultural, essentially tokenistic and rhetorical gestures. Horrific as Fisk's piece is, the existence of such practises should surprise no one with even the most modest knowledge of history or anthropology. The real question, as always, is: What is to be done? It seems to me that the only rational, consistent and practical confrontation with this problem (in the UK and the "west" generally) is routinely ruled out by the political correctness (i.e. cultural Marxism) and "cultural relativism" that dominate political discourse. I look forward to Fisk and the Independent proving me wrong but I don't see how such problems can be adequately and successfully addressed while adhering to the fashionable nonsense that most of our opinion formers happily promote.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:13:35 UTC | #513337

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 48 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 35 by SeanSantos

From the Wikipedia page on Honour Killings

Every year in the UK, a dozen women are victims of honor killings, occurring almost exclusively to date within Asian and Middle Eastern families,and often cases are unresolved due to the unwillingness of family, relatives and communities to testify. A 2006 BBC poll for the Asian network in the UK found that 1 in 10 of the 500 young Asians polled said that they could condone the murder of someone who dishonored their family. In the UK, in December 2005, Nazir Afzal, Director, west London, of Britain's Crown Prosecution Service, stated that the United Kingdom has seen "at least a dozen honour killings" between 2004 and 2005. While precise figures do not exist for the perpetrators' cultural backgrounds, Diana Nammi of the UK's Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation is reported to have said: "about two-thirds are Muslim. Yet they can also be Hindu, Sikh and even eastern European." Another well known case was of Heshu Yones, who was stabbed to death by her father in London in 2002, when her family heard a love song dedicated to her and suspected she had a boyfriend. Another girl suffered a similar fate in Turkey. In Sweden, a 26-year-old Kurdish woman Fadime ┼×ahindal was murdered by her father in 2002. In most recent cases, a 16-year-old girl had been buried alive by relatives for befriending boys in Southeast Turkey; her corpse was only found 40 days after she went missing.

Just Google Honour Killings for more examples of just how far into the "civilised" world this crap has reached.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:16:21 UTC | #513338

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 49 by cheesedoff17

At last these stories have made a front page article in a major newspaper! I have been reading about these crimes now for several years. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Foundation regularly prints these horror stories.

These cruel, primitive tribal customs have been in place for centuries. Their culture is static and unchanging. We are shocked because our society has moved far and fast towards more understanding and acceptance of human nature and where individualism is valued.

Religions and religious fundamentalism was born in tribalism and retains this same fixed static pose. They even dress in ancient style as if time itself had stopped.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:17:36 UTC | #513340

SeanSantos's Avatar Comment 50 by SeanSantos

Regarding statements about "What is to be done?":

It is at times like this that I almost envy churches for their missionaries. Many religions are actively engaged in exporting their values. One wonders what would be the best way to export values (such as equality of women) without religion.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:30:21 UTC | #513349

Zelig's Avatar Comment 51 by Zelig

Comment 50, is this in response to my Comment 47? If so, it's in direct opposition to the point I was making.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:41:57 UTC | #513359

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 52 by AtheistEgbert

Don't forget the growing trend from the African wing of the Christian Church, that beat, torture and kill children because they are accused of being possessed by demons. This is even beginning to appear in Christian churches here in the UK.

Of course this is a religious problem, because evil religions don't do any good in stamping out evil traditions. But the mass media are not helping either. There are still great journalists left, Robert Frisk is clearly one, but journalism needs to get its act together and expose injustices in the world, rather than concentrate on Wayne Rooney's personal life.

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:50:18 UTC | #513365

green and dying's Avatar Comment 53 by green and dying

Comment 38 by LaurieB :

In line 6 of the second paragraph, the word beat is the arabic verb that is pronounced as "Utherubp" That is the closest phonetic spelling I can produce for English speakers. There is absolutely no doubt that this word means the same as our word beat. It is also used as hit. Any softening of the definition of this word is a very dishonest flim flam. The verb Utherubp is very commonly used in everyday conversation and even little children know and use it.

In the Yusuf Ali translation, that bit is translated as "beat them (lightly)." Do you know why he chose to include "lightly"? Is that implied in the Arabic text or not?

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 22:31:29 UTC | #513391

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 54 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 47 by david1111 :

It seems to me that these issues have two separate, though related, aspects.

The real question, as always, is: What is to be done? It seems to me that the only rational, consistent and practical confrontation with this problem (in the UK and the "west" generally) is routinely ruled out by the political correctness (i.e. cultural Marxism) and "cultural relativism" that dominate political discourse. I look forward to Fisk and the Independent proving me wrong but I don't see how such problems can be adequately and successfully addressed while adhering to the fashionable nonsense that most of our opinion formers happily promote.

I think david is making a very important point here. The media are right now hindering the progress of reason and science with their senseless inability to report reality and make sense of it. The mass media are losing out on a coherent narrative, and turning towards distractions such as celebrity gossip and entertainment.

Please see this excellent short documentary by Adam Curtis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8moePxHpvok

Updated: Tue, 07 Sep 2010 22:45:52 UTC | #513400

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 55 by nancynancy

I would like to thank Richard Dawkins for speaking out against honor killings in the strongest language possible. This vile, backward and barbaric practice is designed to terrorize Muslim women and threatens the rights of women everywhere.

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 00:43:52 UTC | #513447

carlitoernesto's Avatar Comment 56 by carlitoernesto

I cried reading this.

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 01:07:59 UTC | #513458

Paine's Avatar Comment 57 by Paine

Richard, it was good of you tally all the murder counts. It's obvious that Muslims are the vast majority of honour killers right now.

however, the article also states that the percentage of honour killing Christians is higher though it's not reported as such.

But my point is that there is no direct link in these killings from supernatural religion to the crimes mentioned. 'Family honour' is a medieval and horrific concept, but it's not the same as religion.

(BTW I can't seem to access pg 2 of the comments. Clicking on it just brings me back to pg 1)

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 01:35:43 UTC | #513469

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 58 by nancynancy

It is sickening to imagine these crimes. What kind of culture (and religion) would encourage a father to strangle his teenaged daughter or a brother to stab his pregnant sister to death because he believes his family has been "dishonored?"

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 01:36:08 UTC | #513471

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 59 by nancynancy

Any religion that makes women cover up has a pathological hang up about sex. You see this among Christian fundamentalists and Orthodox Jews, as well as Muslims. But the point is that the world's very worst offenders are Muslims. They are the most rigid and paranoid about women covering up, and they are the most rigid and paranoid about sex.

I'm far from an expert on the Muslim religion, but it's clear that their religious leaders are completely obsessed with controlling women and denying them any shred of independence or sexuality. The women are so terrorized, they hack off their daughter's genitals and hide their faces and bodies behind yards of shapeless cloth. The men are so ashamed of sex, they will kill their closest female relatives for any perceived violation of morality. The religion is part and parcel of the culture, you can't separate them. One feeds and reinforces the other.

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 02:07:07 UTC | #513481

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 60 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Yeah, of course if this were a Christian epidemic then it would be more okay to criticize the religion because a good portion of Christians are white, so that eliminates the racism component!

You'll love this story:

My father told me that back in '68, a white man was killed by a black man in North Philadelphia (an area with a very high crime rate). The black man's wife apologized to the white man's wife and said, "If there's anything I can do to help you, just name it." The white woman said, "No, it's I who must apologize, for being part of the oppressive white regime." If I were in the black woman's position, I would be embarrassed by the murder victim's wife's patronizing attitude-- because that's what it is! I mean, I could understand if she had said something like, "I appreciate your apology. It means a great deal to me. It must be hard to see that your husband was capable of something like this" and then gone on to say, "But in light of the fact that crimes like this often come out of poverty and desperation which often correlates with race because of America's history of slavery and segregation, let's do what we can to make the quality of life better in this country for black people." That is, if the crime was related to poverty and/or race, and I don't know if it was. But seriously... this woman apologized for being white! Just like Richard was saying before, a kind of "inverse racism" which is still racism!

Julie

Comment 33 by Richard Dawkins :

Comment 13 by Paine :

Disgusting and hideous as this practice is, I think the article makes it quite clear that it's not limited to any one religion or community. It's common to Christians, Muslims, Hindus, yezidis and many others.

I just did a rough count (I may have missed one or two) of the named victims Robert Fisk mentioned. As follows:

Muslim 52

Hindu 3

Sikh 1

Christian 0

But of course, Islam is the religion of peace. To suggest otherwise would be racist Islamophobia.

Richard

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 02:15:18 UTC | #513486