Over the past year, Americans have heard much about honor killings on U.S. soil, as even the see-no-evil mainstream press could no longer ignore these crimes. A brief review is in order.
The United States witnessed two high-profile slayings in 2009 that have been widely characterized as honor murders:
- Muzzammil Hassan is charged with beheading his estranged wife Aasiya on February 12 at the Buffalo-area offices of Bridges TV, the channel they founded to improve the image and self-image of Muslims in the U.S. Previously Aasiya filed for divorce and obtained a protection order against her husband. The start of his trial for second-degree murder has been pushed back to March 2010, so his attorneys can have more time to prepare an insanity defense.
- Faleh Hassan Almaleki, an immigrant from Iraq reported to be a U.S. citizen, is charged with first-degree murder for running over his daughter Noor, along with her boyfriend's mother, in an Arizona parking lot on October 20. Noor had scorned an arranged marriage and moved in with a different man. Prosecutor Stephanie Low stated, "By his own admission, this was an intentional act, and the reason was that his daughter had brought shame on him and his family" for being "too Westernized."
Both cases exhibit hallmarks of honor murder outlined by Phyllis Chesler: "barbaric ferocity" in the Hassan beheading and direct references to family shame in the Almaleki hit and run.
Other honor-related crimes and stories made the news in 2009. Among them:
- Waheed Allah Mohammad, a New York-based Afghan refugee, pleaded guilty on January 7 to the attempted murder of his sister in 2008; he will serve between five and fifteen years. Mohammad described her as a "bad Muslim girl" who dresses immodestly.
- Ohio teen Rifqa Bary disappeared on July 19 and resurfaced in Florida, claiming that her Muslim parents would kill her for converting to Christianity because "there is great honor" for them to do so. She was later returned to Ohio, where her case continues.
- On September 17, the mother of Sarah and Amina Said finally declared the January 1, 2008, murder of her daughters to be an "honor killing" by their now-fugitive father.
- Mehdi M. Matin of Lynnwood, Washington, admitted to killing his visiting brother on October 26. Matin himself called it an honor slaying to avenge a decades-old insult about his onetime bride-to-be. He is charged with second-degree murder.
As argued previously at IW, the appearance of honor murders is a particularly heinous manifestation of a broader problem: the introduction to the West of an Islamist culture that treats women as chattel and places family reputation above human life. How many more must die before we seriously address the ideology that has given birth to honor killings and other extreme examples of domestic violence in the U.S.?