Posts Tagged ‘women’

Don’t Separate ‘Honour Crimes’ From Other Violence Against Women

Most would agree that with a women murdered every six days in Canada, we need to address gendered violence in all its forms. This cannot be done, tempting and reassuring as it might be, by simplistically attributing the problem to one religious group to the exclusion of others.

In the Clarion Project’s latest documentary titled Honour Diaries, now making its way around North America, the producers seem bent on doing just that. The documentary claims to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents us from addressing the human rights disaster that is honour-based violence. There is no doubt that violence against women motivated by the preservation of family honour continues to be a problem in many parts of the world, including here in Canada. Labeling it as an exclusively Muslim problem, however, is not only inaccurate but also threatens to overlook the systemic problems at the root of all gendered violence. Doing so further risks promoting bigotry that will alienate those best placed to address the problem.

In fact, organizations like the Canadian Council of Muslim Women refuse to even use the term “honour killing” preferring the term “femicide” instead. It is after all murder in all cases. In their view, the term honour needlessly separates women and girls into groups based on race, culture and religion. The term has ballooned to include a large swathe of activities — everything from murder of women with foreign sounding names, forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, to selective abortion. It is hard to find anything in common except that these activities are somehow associated with people from “non-Western” traditions.

Essentially, honour crimes describe crimes that are not all that different from other violence against women. They are crimes with power and control at their core. They are a violent denial of the right of women to choose for themselves how to live their lives.


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Afghan father guns down daughter over ‘affair’

In front of 300 villagers, Halima’s father shot her in the head, stomach and waist – a public execution overseen by local religious leaders in Afghanistan to punish her for an alleged affair. Halima, aged between 18 and 20 and a mother of two children, was killed for bringing ‘dishonour’ on her family. Police in the northwestern province of Badghis said Halima was accused of running away with a male cousin while her husband was in Iran, and her father sought advice from Taliban-backed clerics on how to punish her. “People in the mosque and village started taunting him about her escape with the cousin,” Badghis provincial police chief Sharafuddin Sharaf told AFP. “A local cleric who runs a madrassa told him that she must be punished with death, and the mullahs said she should be executed in public.

The father killed his daughter with three shots as instructed by religious elders and in front of villagers. We went there two days later but he and his entire family had fled.” Amnesty International said the killing, which occurred on April 22 in the village of Kookchaheel in Badghis province, was damning evidence of how little control Afghan police have over many areas of the country.

“Violence against women continues to be endemic in Afghanistan and those responsible very rarely face justice,” Amnesty’s Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq said.
“Not only do women face violence at the hands of family members for reasons of preserving so-called ‘honour’, but frequently women face human rights abuses resulting from verdicts issued by traditional, informal justice systems.”

Police in Baghdis, a remote and impoverished province that borders Turkmenistan, said Halima had run away with her cousin to a village 30 kilometres away. Her father found her after 10 days and brought her back home, where clerics told him he must kill her in front of the villagers to assuage his family’s humiliation. A Badghis-based women’s rights activist said he had seen video footage of Hamila’s execution, which AFP was not able to obtain.

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