Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Muslim woman stoned to death at courthouse door by her own family

This isn't the first time Walt has posted a story about the killing of women by Muslims -- or Sikhs or Hindus, but usually Muslims -- in the name of "family honour", but never before have I seen such an egregious example. Today's story comes from Lahore, Pakistan, where the father, brothers and former fiancé of Farzana Bibi, aged 30, killed her with sticks and bricks on the steps of the high court. Why? For marrying against their wishes, thus besmirching the family's "honour".

Ms Bibi's parents accused her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her, and had filed a case against him at the High Court. However, police said the couple had been engaged for "a number of years", and that she had told them she had married him of her own accord. As she arrived at the court building for a hearing, police said about a dozen family members pulled her aside and began to attack her and her husband, who managed to escape.

Inspector Muhammad Knacker [Ed., please check name] told Reuters that all the family members escaped after the killing, apart from her father, Muhammad Azim, who waited on the courthouse steps for the police to arrive, and admitted his role his daughter's death.

In the BBC's report of the story, Shumaila Jaffery says marriage against the wishes of relatives is culturally unacceptable in some parts of Pakistan. Under Pakistani law -- a version of Sharia law -- the victim's family is allowed to forgive the killer. However, in many cases family members are themselves responsible for the killing.

Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Muslim Pakistanis, and hundreds of women are known to be murdered every year in so-called honour killings carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour. Many more cases go unreported, indeed unnoticed. Stonings in public settings, however, are extremely rare. Tuesday's attack took place in broad daylight on a busy downtown street, before a crowd of onlookers who were reportedly more curious than horrified.

Iqbal said he started seeing Parveen after the death of his first wife, with whom he had five children. "We were in love," he told Associated Press, "but her family wanted to fleece money from me before allowing her to marry, so I simply took her to court and registered a marriage."

The bride's father called his daughter's murder an "honour killing". A police spokesthingy quoted him as saying, "I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it."

If you use the "Search this blog" function at the bottom of the Blog Archive column to search WWW for "honour killings", you'll find 33 previous posts about such crimes in Muslim and Sikh communities in various parts of the world, notably Canada. [I'm looking for details of a "domestic" stabbing which occurred just yesterday in Brampton, Canada's Sikhest city. Ed.]
Here's another one from Pakistan: "Muslim couple doused daughter with acid because 'it was her fate'"
And here's how honour crimes were dealt with in Pakistan when it was part of the Raj: "How the British dealt with barbaric religious practices"

Note from Ed.: I hope you're not expecting a video. Even if I had found one -- yes, I did look -- I wouldn't show it. Some things are just too much, even for WWW. However, I did come across an interview -- part of the "Canadian Dream" series on CBC News -- with Dr. Amin Muhammad, a professor of psychology. He explains the motive for what the interviewer calls this "brutal cultural import".

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