Honor Killings: Moderate Muslims Must Move to “Execute the Executioner”

September 6th, 2011
Published in Family Security Matters, September 6, 2011

It is disheartening to hear a high profile personality make a statement on political issues about which he knows nothing–only giving his outlandish observation visibility due to his celebrity status. Recently making a profoundly dumb observation about Islam is the singer “Prince,” 53. “It’s fun being in Islamic countries, to know there’s only one religion,” he offered. “There’s order. You wear a burqa. There’s no choice. People are happy with that.” Queried about Muslim women who may not enjoy donning the extremely hot garment, he added, “There are people who are unhappy with everything. There’s a dark side to everything.”

One can only wonder if it even registers with this mental midget on Islamic law and culture that such a “fun” environment generally bans music as un-Islamic. Prince’s bawdy songs, in particular, would draw the ire of Muslims who, left to enforce punishment under Islamic law, would probably opt for his execution.

We turn to present day Libya–a country almost totally Islamic (97%). For six months, it has been in turmoil as its people rode a revolutionary wave that swept away the four-decade rule of Moamar Qaddafi. That revolution extracted a toll from one distraught Libyan father who learned his three teenage daughters, ages 15, 17 and 18, had been raped by pro-Qaddafi soldiers. It triggered a violent reaction by him. However, the target of the reaction was not the rapists but his three daughters for having been robbed of their virginity by one not their husband, bringing shame and dishonor upon the family. In accordance with Islamic teachings, with knife in hand, the father individually slit the throats of each of his daughters. Islamic justice was served–the family’s honor supposedly restored by this senseless savage slaughter.

In January, a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, frustrated by police corruption after his vegetable cart was confiscated, immolated himself in protest. That single sacrificial act triggered a release of repressed frustrations among millions of people in several countries in the region who had long suffered under the yoke of oppression of dictatorial leaders.

Just as Bouazizi’s act became a catalyst for change in the Middle East, the murder–or so-called “honor killings” under Islam–of these three girls should now become a catalyst for change of a barbaric practice by which innocent victims are victimized twice. It should become a march for change joined by every Muslim who truly believes Islam is a religion of peace. It should become a cry for change by which those who commit murder in the name of Islam are held accountable for their actions.

When Britain ruled India as a colony, it encountered a brutal practice in Hindu culture known as “sati.” This was a religious funeral practice by which a recently widowed woman was placed, alive, on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. The custom dated back to the 5th century AD, becoming known across much of the subcontinent. It was believed such sacrifice by the wife cast away the husband’s sins, allowing him to enjoy a happy afterlife. Abhorred by the practice, the British outlawed it in 1829. But, it was so entrenched in Indian culture for a millennium and a half, it did not immediately stop. It was only after the British initiated a campaign to “execute the executioner”–i.e., the person setting fire to the widow’s pyre–that the practice came to a grinding halt.

A similar “execute the executioner” campaign must be launched to stop honor killings. It cannot be a non-Muslim initiative; it must be initiated by Muslims who truly believe Islam is a peaceful religion. They must condemn such violence and initiate a fatwa against those who observe such a barbaric practice, bringing them to justice for their brutal acts.

Many religions have subjugated the role of women to men but, over time, evolved to a higher level of understanding. Hinduism has made the evolution; Islam has not. Hindus practicing sati (suttee) once believed only a wife’s tortuous sacrifice by fire in this life ensured a husband’s life of happiness in another. It is similar to the sacrificial lamb role women play under Islam today, empowering male Muslims to perform honor killings–an act just as brutal and senseless today as sati was centuries ago.

The extreme to which Islamists go to comply with the letter of Islamic law, regardless of the inhumane consequences to women that follow, occurs in Iran. It is illegal there to execute female virgins. When one is sentenced to death, to comply with Islamic law, the night before her execution she is forced to wed a husband who rapes his bride to make her religiously acceptable to die.

It is unlikely the death of the three young Libyan girls will spark Muslims into taking action against Islam’s extremist doctrine. While a majority of Islam’s followers may be peace-loving, they will choose silence–intimidated by the violent extremist minority. As such, it should be understood by the West that Muslims who do not act to deter extremism, support it–just like those who did nothing to stop the father’s slaughter of his daughters. One can only wonder what thoughts raced through the mind of the third child killed who, awaiting her fate, perhaps questioned how an allegedly peaceful religion could go so wrong.

For the three murdered girls, Libya represented entertainer Prince’s utopia of but one religion–Islam. Yet it is doubtful he even understands Islamists seek to turn the whole world into a global caliphate where Islam rules supreme. Living in such a world, Prince’s final observation–“There’s a dark side to everything”–would come back to haunt him.

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