Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case, of course, the victim was the murderer’s wife, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.
LAHORE: Police in Sahiwal are tracing a man who shot dead both his sisters in an apparent “honour killing”.
The latest killings occurred in the village of Noorshah in Sahiwal district, in the central province of Punjab.
“Mohammad Asif, who is in his late twenties, shot his two sisters late last night because he doubted their characters and was against their lifestyle,” local police official Allah Ditta Bhatti told AFP.
He said the sisters died on the spot while Asif fled.
“He had killed his mother around four or five years ago and was set free after his family pardoned him,” Bhatti said.
The incident was confirmed by other officials at the local police station.
On Monday a father in Lahore shot dead his 18-year-old daughter because she could not account for where she had been for about five hours….
Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending family “honour”.
Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an “heir” of the victim.
But it was left to a judge’s discretion to decide whether to impose a prison sentence when other relatives of the victim forgive the killer — a loophole which critics say remains exploited….