The term “honor killing” is an oxymoron.  Can murder be honorable?  No, murder is never honorable!  Not when a father kills his own daughter because she does not dress the way he desires.  This is exactly what happened in Canada not to long ago.  A teenage Muslim girl was strangled by her father because he wanted her to wear her hijab (veil or covering) to school.  When she would take the veil off on the way to school; she brought judgment upon herself in the eyes of her family.  As a result, the family agreed that she should die so that their family honor would be restored, thus, “honor killing”.  The tragedy of this is obvious and is unspeakable.  

“Honor killing” is a common practice in many Muslim countries.  Honor killing is when a family member (usually the men of the family, although many times the women also are involved in the decision) decide to kill a female family member based on what they perceive as an immoral act.  An immoral act can range from infidelity to receiving phone calls from a man or even “allowing” herself to be raped!  Although honor killings are not specifically mandated in Islamic law, they are very common in such countries as Pakistan and the Palestinian West Bank.  Here’s is a sad and horific true story of a girl who was murdered by her own father…

Flirting was a costly mistake for Samera. She was only 15 years old when her neighbours in Salfeet, a small Palestinian town on the West Bank, saw her chatting with a young man without a male chaperon. Her family’s honour was at stake; a marriage was quickly arranged. By 16, she had a child. Five years later, when she could stand the bogus marriage no longer, she bolted. In a place where gossip is traded like hard currency, and a girl’s chastity is as public as her name, Samera’s actions were considered akin to making a date with the devil. According to the gossips, she went from man to man as she moved from place to place. Finally, last July [1999], her family caught up with her. A few days later she was found stuffed down a well. Her neck had been broken. Her father told the coroner she’d committed suicide. But everyone on the grapevine knew that Samera was a victim of honour killing, murdered by her own family because her actions brought dishonour to their name. … Here in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority law allows honour killing. Samera’s parents are walking the streets of their neighbourhood with their heads held high, relieved that the family honour has been restored. (Armstrong, “Honour’s Victims”, Chatelaine, March 2000.)

I highly recommend reading the article where this story is told.  It gives vivid and clear accounts of what “honor killing” is all about and how Muslim women are once again subject to unwarranted suffering and abuse.  Honor killings are another reason we need to remain in prayer for Muslim women to receive Christ!   He is the only one who can bring peace, relieve their suffering and bring true justice!  Thanks for reading!

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