Monthly Archives: January 2011

Dishonor Killings

By Alexandra Kinias

The shameful killing of women that became widely known as honor killing is nothing but a heinous crime committed to restore an illusion so fathers and husbands of victims could walk down the streets that they have paved with the blood of their innocent daughters and wives with their heads high.  Killing in the name of honor, is a crime that is usually committed by one or more member of the same family when it is thought that the victim’s behavior is bringing shame or dishonor upon the family.  Justifications for such cruel and inhuman crimes have no guidelines, and thus the victim’s crime is totally left to the discretion of her male relatives.  A baseless rumor or a false suspicion could be the deciding factor to terminate a woman’s life.

Un-honorable killings are not a new phenomenon that suddenly swarmed the news and left us in shock and awe over their inhumane cruelty. They have been going on for centuries in several cultures throughout the world without catching the international attention. As it is the status quo in several societies, killing a daughter or a wife in the name of honor is considered a tribal punishment that neither is debated nor does it create controversy.  The crimes rarely hit the news or make headlines and in some cases police officers who sympathize with the male relatives of the victim simply register such killings as suicide. The murderers are neither brought to justice nor questioned. If they do, usually their acts are justified as a family matter and the men involved in the crime get lighter sentences if any.

What brought the international recognition to such crimes is that immigrants from these medieval cultures have imported them from their homelands to the west. With law, order and justice being practiced and implemented in a different way in their adopted countries, stories of women murdered in the name of honor were no longer went unnoticeable.  Murderers are arrested, put on trials and are serving sentences. If countries in the west are able to bring justice to the victims, who could women elsewhere rely on for justice?


Aqsa Parvez

In Canada, sixteen years old Aqsa Parvez, daughter of Pakistani immigrants lost her life by the hands of her father, Muhammad Parvez, 57,  who strangled her in the family home after her refusal to wear the hijab, the traditional Islamic headscarf.


Tulay Goren

Fifteen years old Muslim girl who came to London from the Kurdish region of Turkey was drugged tortured and killed by her father Mehmet Goren because he didn’t approve of a relation ship she had with an elder man. Even though Tulay’s body was never found, her father was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in jail.


Ghazala Khan

Danish Pakistani Ghazala Khan (1987 – Sept. 23, 2005) was shot and killed in Denmark by her brother after she married her lover against the will of her family. The husband was also shot, but survived. Khan’s brother killed her following an order of her father to save the family honor. In an unprecedented event, the court in Denmark charged at least nine people from Khan’s family with murder on counts of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter — They were all found guilty.


Sarah and Amina Said

Teenage Texan girls Amina and Sarah Said were shot on New Year’s Day 2008, by  their Egyptian American father Yasser Said  in his cab. Their bloodies bodies were left in the cab to die, but not before Sarah dialed 911 and in her dying words identified her father as the murderer. Their crime was that they were dating non-Muslim boys. The father who vanished after the crime is still at large.

Noor Almaleki

Noor Almaleki, a 20-year-old Arizona woman died of her injuries when her Iraqi father,  Faleh Hassan Almaleki, deliberately ran her over with his Jeep Cherokee  in a parking lot in Peoria, AZ.

He then fled to Mexico and ultimately the UK, but was denied entry and returned to the US to face charges in what would later be classed as an honor killing.  He is still waiting trial.

Rand Abdel- Qader

Randa’s father pressed down hard on her throat with his feet until he suffocated her. After she died he cut her body up with a kitchen knife while calling out that he is cleansing his honor.

Rand was put into the ground, without ceremony, her uncles spat on her covered corpse because she had brought shame on the family. Her crime was that she sell in love with a British soldier serving in Iraq, and talked to him in public.  Rand’s father was arrested, but released within hours.  Honor Killing in Iraq is a source of pride to Iraqi men.


Hina Salem

Hina’s father, aided by three male relatives, had cut his own daughter’s throat with a meat knife, after a family council condemned her to death for dating an Italian man in the city of Brescia, Italy where Salem’s family had settled after arriving from Pakistan five years earlier. The young woman had adapted the Italian life style. She wore jeans and Tshirts, smoked and danced, and refused to go to Pakistan to meet a suitor picked by her family.

Police recovered the young woman’s body from a grave dug in the back garden.  Her father and male relatives are awaiting trial.

Sandeela Kanwal

In Atlanta Georgia, Sandeela Kanwal, 25, daughter of a Pakistani immigrant was found dead on her bedroom floor last July. Her father allegedly told police he strangled his daughter with a bungee cord because she wanted a divorce. She wanted out of an arranged marriage, but her father thought a divorce would bring shame to the family. When he was arrested her father told the police that killing his daughter was a God given right and that God will protect him.  Kanwal’s father was charged with murder.


Banaz Mahmoud

Banaz Mahmod, 20, an Iraqi Kurd from Mitcham, south London, was strangled in January 2006 and her body buried in a suitcase in  a garden in Birmingham.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was brutally raped and stamped on during a two-hour ordeal before being strangled by a thick wire for half an hour before she died.  Her body was then packed in a suitcase and buried in a Birmingham garden for three months before it was found. Her killer was recruited by her father and his brother. They were all found guilty of murder.

Banaz was killed because she ended an arranged marriage she was forced into three years earlier and was seeing an Iranian Kurd who from her father’s opinion was neither an immediate family nor a good Muslim.

And the list is long ………



Filed under Violence against women

Two-Thirds of Moroccan Women Face Violence

Photograph and original article are courtesy of Al Arabiya News Channel — Click on link to view original article.


Nearly 63 percent of Moroccan women have been victims of violence recently and about a quarter of them have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives, a government study said Monday.

Out of nine million women aged 18 to 64 years old, nearly six million were subjected to violent acts during the twelve months that preceded the study conducted between June 2009 and January 2010, the paper said.

According to the government survey of 8,300 women, “the most frequent and widespread form of violence was psychological.”

The study defines psychological violence as “an act that consists of dominating or isolating a woman, as well as humiliating her or making her uncomfortable,” and said it was inflicted on more than 48 percent of the women who were polled.

Psychological violence was most frequent among married women and those in the 18-24 age bracket, the study added.

The survey also indicated that 23 percent of women “have been sexually assaulted at one moment or another in their lives,” adding that the number of victims were three times higher in urban areas than in rural regions.

Last year, the government pledged to introduce a bill in parliament “pinpointing all forms of marital violence,” but it has not yet done so.

The proposed legislation would include “preventive measures”, including immediately keeping the abused women away from their assailants, without waiting for the results of police and judicial investigations.

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Filed under Violence against women

Egypt’s Uprising Terror

Demonstration against terrorism by both Christian Copts and Muslims  denouncing the bombing of the church.

By: Alexandra Kinias

Twenty minutes into the New Year and in one of the worst terrorist attacks on the Coptic Christian minorities in Egypt, a suicide bomber detonated himself in front of the church of al-Qiddissine – Two Saints in Alexandria, as worshipers were exiting after the midnight mass. The bomb that killed 23 and injured 97 also hammered another nail in the coffin of the country’s once tightly woven national fabric and raised more concern over the fragile status of the Copts. Once owners of the land, now, not only do they suffer from discrimination, but also are fearful for their safety and their future.

The incident marked another step in the decline of Egypt’s prosperity, a country once was a mélange of beliefs where Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony before the Jews of Egypt were expelled in the mid of the twentieth century. In the rising milieu of religious intolerance, the fate of the country, with the rise of sectarian tension, is held by thin strings in the hands of manipulative puppeteers with a geopolitical agenda of destroying its soul, and thus its identity, as an initial step to reshape the region.

The puppet makers held responsible for this tragedy are members of Al Qaida’s Iraqi affiliate – The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). On November 1, 2010, two months to date prior to the attack on the Alexandria Church, armed men, affiliated with this group raided the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad while prayer was held and took the worshipers hostages, after killing the priest. The militants made contact with the authorities by mobile phone, demanding the release of Al-Qaeda prisoners and also two Coptic priests’ wives they insisted were being held prisoner by the Coptic Church in their monasteries in Egypt, against their will, after converting to Islam, an allegation denied by the church.

The dramatic Baghdad Church standoff ended with the death of at least 52 hostages during the rescue operation.

The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for the Alexandria attack and warned the Egyptian Copts of more attacks after they renewed their demand of releasing Camellia Shehata and Wafaa Constantine.

So what is so significant about these two women that their abduction tale would result in the slaying of all these people and escalate threats to bomb more churches? The answer is absolutely nothing. However, the puppeteers are well aware of what strings to pull to arouse religious sentiments among the masses to create chaos.

Both Shehata and Constantine’s family disputes had been distorted into news about their conversion to Islam. Stories of Coptic women abandoning their faith are almost always a catalyst that ignites the sentiments of fellow Copts. The procedure is not common, but it often happens. Since divorce is unattainable in Christianity, some women or men convert to Islam to dissolve the matrimony

In 2004, after the disappearance of Constantine, Coptic protestors demonstrated for days when an announcement was made about her conversion. Few days later, the woman resurfaced and was handed back to her church. Not much explanation was given regarding the incident, but a lot of rumors hovered over her head.

A similar incident happened in 2010 when Shehata left her house after a marital dispute. Her husband reported her disappearance as a kidnap with the purpose of forced conversion. Upon the circulation of such news, the Copts organized demonstrations, if were not contained, would have ripped the stability of the country apart. Few days later, Shehata was found by national security forces hiding at one of her friends. The priest’s wife was returned  back to her husband, but not before organized counter protests mobilized by zealous fellow Muslims requested the return of their Muslim sister back to them.

A report on Camellia  on Al Jezeira English

Later, Shehata, who there was no evidence of her conversion other than rumors printed in yellow newspapers, appeared on a video circulated on youtube and announced that she never abandoned her faith and requested that her private life not to become material for more news articles.

Camellia Shehata appears on TV and denies her conversion

The puppeteers have used the two women as lure for creating chaos among the masses. Without their intervention or consent, the priests’ wives found themselves in the headlines, responsible for the terrorist attacks and deaths of innocent people. Too much time and innocent blood was wasted in their names.

Somehow Shehata and Wafaa’s incidents reminded me of Helen of Troy and her murky role in flaming the Trojan War. Unlike the Greek mythology, however, the priest’s wives are real. Converting a mythology to reality may be quite pricey.

To learn more read:

The Priest’s wife

The Priest’s Wife – The Sequel


Filed under Sectarian violence