Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Pakistani Woman Stoned to Death Another Victim of Honour Killing

Hearts are pounding, blood pressure is rising and anger is building at the sight of a woman lying lifeless on the ground of Lahore High Court in Pakistan. She is one more casualty or victim of honour killing that we get to read about-----many incidence of are never reported to the authorities. Cries of condemnation and protestations are muffled for the sake of keeping up the pride of the family and a crime is not seen as a crime anymore. Soon it becomes acceptable to see women as perpetrators in trying to bring shame to their families by making a choice to either marry someone they love or refusing to marry someone they don’t love. Being of Pakistani origin I often come across questions to determine whether my environment connotes a situation where choices have been forced on me. Although I am fortunate to have a partner who supports me but each time someone inquires me a part of me wrenches back to recall stories of friends and cousins who were made to realize they had no right to make their own choice in the country of my origin.

If open and democratic societies are to function in an environment where civil liberties and freedom of choice is to be given to all, isn’t it the duty of every democracy-loving political party in Pakistan to stage similar protest to condemn honour killings like they do to protest against TV channels whose views are considered unacceptable because they support forces with agenda working against the national integrity, or to highlight drone attacks in the Northern region. If Islam is a religion to uphold the honour of a woman will this incident bring some condemnation from religious scholars and commentators like Dr Farhat Hashmi, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Aamir Liaquat who have always highlighted Western ideologies as the root cause of moral degradation and immorality in societies!

The reason why Shafilea Ahmad was killed by her own parents is 2003 in Bradford are no different from what caused the death of Farzana Iqbal. In both cases parents killed their own daughter. While Mr Iqbal who married Farzana claims that nobody came to help his wife when she was being attacked by her own family members, it is believed that Shafilea Ahmad’s parents were helped by others in disposing off her body. Misogyny which leads to crimes of honour killings is aided and supported by feudalism or interpretation of a belief which considers women as inferior and dependant on male support to exist in society.

Is it reasonable to hope that Muslim scholars and commentators in Britain will be forthcoming in highlighting honour killings and crimes against women which take place within their own community; because they do happen! Surely saving a human life is of more value than blasphemy charges on creating cartoons and debating segregation in universities. 

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