The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Honor killing hits close to home

By Francés Matteck/editor-in-chief

Honor killing is a disgusting social practice that has received media attention recently with the murder of a mother of four, Aasiya Z. Hassan, Feb. 12 in New York.

She only sought a divorce from her husband, Muzzammil Hassan. To defend what he saw as a stain on his honor, he beheaded her.

Honor killing is predominant in the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh cultures. Thousands of women fall victim to this practice every year overseas, but it even happens in the U.S.

Last year, Amina Said, 18, and her 17-year-old sister Sarah were shot to death by their father because they were becoming too “Westernized.”

They lived in Irving.

Honor killing is classified as domestic violence, but this classification is incorrect. They stem from perceived slights on family honor, and victims fall into a fairly specific category.

Some reasons for a woman to fall victim to honor killing include refusing to cover her hair, face or body; dating; being too independent; wearing makeup or Western clothing or trying to get a college education.

“Analysis of more than 50 reported honor killings shows they differ significantly from more common domestic violence,” said Phyllis Chesler in a recent article in Middle East Quarterly.

The victims are usually teenage daughters or young women. In domestic violence, the victim is usually an adult female spouse or intimate partner.

In honor killing, the victim may be warned over and over again that she will be killed for dishonoring her family, and the killings themselves are carefully planned. In domestic violence, the murder is often spontaneous.

Another significant difference: Only honor killings involve multiple family members as the perpetrators. Fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins may all actively participate in the murder, and mothers and sisters may encourage the act.

In the West, if it is discovered that a man beats his wife or child, he then bears a social stigma that others look down on. However, in the cultures where honor killing is prolific, the perpetrators have no such stigma.

It should not be assumed that all Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs condone this practice — they don’t. However, a portion of people who originate from the Middle East do.

Honor killings show other characteristics that distinguish them from domestic violence. It is wrong to classify this phenomenon as domestic violence.

It is nothing more than cold-blooded murder.

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