Honour Killings Should be a Thing of the Past

Today a very barbaric practice exists that receives very little attention, honour killings. Honour killings are a common and persistent form of violence that is a brutal reality for many women and girls around the world. Unfortunately, very little is being done to stop this activity. Women are being disfigured, punished and killed for allegedly “dishonoring” their families. In many parts of the world, honour killings have been given an extralegal status. Even in countries that have expressly outlawed honour killings, it goes mostly unpunished.

This crime is not confined to any one country, while the UN reports over 5,000 honour killings worldwide, the FBI reports an average of 27 such acts in the U.S. This crime is not only against women but men and members of the LGBTQ community. A man was tried and convicted this year in Texas for the killing of his son-in-law and plotting the death of his daughter for the crime of getting married and converting to Christianity.

Recently, a new group met to discuss this and other crimes, the Middle Eastern Women Coalition (MEWC). This group is comprised of women of Middle Eastern backgrounds as well as those who were born in America. This diverse group consists of Muslims, Christians and Jews who are giving a voice to the voiceless in order to put an end, once and for all, to this horrific act. MEWC is asking governments worldwide to help with the mission to eliminate these horrible practices. Honour killing is supposed to “save” the honor of the family, but there is no honour in the killing of helpless girls and women. No religion or culture has the right to harm or kill women based on their perception of morality or honor. Everyone has the right to live a life with dignity and full equality.

Recently, the government of Saudi Arabia carried out a form of honour killing with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. While this horrific crime garnered worldwide attention and condemnation and rightfully so, there were likely a number of women killed by their families who will go to their graves unnoticed.

We call on the world to take notice of this crime, not just once but continually until we can do away with it. We understand this will take more than legislation and speeches, but the process must begin today. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not differentiate by sex, so no nation should allow any practice that denies freedom to any segment of society based on sex.

Therefore, universal enactment, the legislatures, and enforcement of laws are the only solution to end these practices. Islamist radicals and groups like ISIS are literally getting away with murder if we don’t act now. There is no justification in Islam for this practice. In the Quran, it says very clearly, that if you harm a single human being, it’s the same as if you had killed all of humanity. This is a practice derived from some thousands-year custom that was practiced in the past among not only Muslims but among Christians and Jews as well. This backward custom should have been left in the past.