Honor Killing: Deaths Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action
by Sheila Musaji
First published as Honor Killing: The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action in 2007, and updated as an ongoing resource for cooperative action.
Earlier this year (2007) there was a National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women, which has been signed by more than 2,000 clergy and religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Baha’i traditions, among others. The declaration stated:
We proclaim with one voice as national spiritual and religious leaders that violence against women exists in all communities, including our own, and is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable.
We acknowledge that our sacred texts, traditions and values have too often been misused to perpetuate and condone abuse.
We commit ourselves to working toward the day when all women will be safe and abuse will be no more.
We draw upon our healing texts and practices to help make our families and societies whole.
Our religious and spiritual traditions compel us to work for justice and the eradication of violence against women.
We call upon people of all religious and spiritual traditions to join us.
To date there are 2,264 individuals of all religious backgrounds who have signed on to this document, including myself. When people of faith join with other community leaders to address domestic violence, we will see ancient roadblocks turn into resources that save lives and bring healing. Please join other people of faith in signing the Declaration.
Perhaps if enough of us think about this issue and the issue of domestic or family violence in general we may be able to do something to stop this terrible epidemic.
Just this week, Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father for not wearing hijab. A young life cut short senselessly. Although this certainly is a case of domestic violence, some are referring to this as an example of an “honor” killing. The facts are not in yet as to whether or not this is the case. And, as with all forms of domestic abuse, domestic violence and family violence, “honor” killings are not only a Muslim problem, and there is no “honor” involved. There is no “honor” in violence or murder. Muslim sites have been responding in shock to this case (e.g. Achelois, Muslim Matters) and many others.
It takes minimal research to find hundreds and even thousands of cases of conflict, abuse, family violence, and even murder between parents and teens in families that have been here for generations, who may or may not profess any particular religion, and who share common cultural values. Even though some of these acts are carried out by members of religious communities and sometimes the violence is “justified” in religious terms or religion is claimed as the reason for the actions – the fact is that anyone making such a claim terribly misunderstands whatever religion they are claiming in defense of the indefensible.
Muslims have discussed this topic as much as everyone else (e.g. Islam the Modern Religion, and leading Muslim groups such as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Social Services Association and the Islamic Society of Toronto are all urging “zero tolerance” for domestic abuse and violence against women. The Muslim Women’s League published a position paper on honor killings. Jewish, Muslim, Christian writers have produced a handbook to give religious leaders tools to help victims of violence.
And yet, the violence continues - somehow we are not getting through to the population in general. We are not being good shepherds.
It has been noted that: Religious teachings or scripture are sometimes misinterpreted, distorted, and misused to suggest that domestic violence is acceptable or even God’s will among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Although, some who are quick to see the mote in their brothers eye have categorized this crime as a Muslim crime, a symptom of what’s wrong with Muslims, or as “proof” that somehow the religion of Islam is to blame.
This is not a Muslim problem because it crosses all religious lines, but it is a Muslim problem because it also exists in our community. As the late Shareefa Alkhateeb pointed out: “An authoritarian family structure predisposes many Muslims in America to be abused in some way and possibly to become the victims of violence. Generally, the greater a husband’s dominance in the family structure, the more likely wife and child abuse become. In the most abusive homes, the father believes and socializes his wife and children to believe that whatever he wants the family to do is the same as what Allah wants them to do. He, in effect, makes himself into something of a god.”
The rate of domestic abuse in the Muslim community is about the same as in the general population—about 18 percent, according to a 2000 study performed by Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., a rate comparable to the national average. It tends, however, to be more hidden, says Dorria Fahmy, WAFA’s founder and executive director.
Allah’s Apostle, said: “Every one of you (people) is a shepherd. And every one is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them.” This Hadith is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim.
We must be good shepherds.
The Republican reported that domestic violence deaths have reached record numbers in Massachusetts where there have been 38 deaths from domestic violence, and 12 suicides by perpetrators in 2007 alone.
In a study of more than 8,000 homicides in large urban counties, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said 16 percent involved murder inside the family, in four out of ten of them a spouse killed a spouse. Offspring were killed by their parents at twice the rate that offspring killed their parents. The study further noted that 20.9% of family murders were of parents killing their children.
Murders of pregnant women are rising across the country. “A year-long examination by The Washington Post of death-record data in states across the country documents the killings of 1,367 pregnant women and new mothers since 1990.”
ABC did a news story “Mothers and Fathers Who Murder” because of the recent increase in such murders.
People have killed themselves because of some perversion of religion like the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. and like Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, or the Solar Temple Murderers have killed others to fulfill some “religious” nightmare.
Children of Thunder, three Mormon young people killed innocent people to defeat Satan?
Sikh and Hindu “honor” killings are still prevalent in India and in North America. Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, a young Sikh Canadian girl was murdered at the order of her own family in 2003. A Christian Palestinian girl was murdered by her family in an honor killing and in fact this problem is widespread in Palestinian society no matter the religious affiliation. In January 2008 a Hindu man in Chicago set a fire that killed his pregnant daughter, his son-in-law and his 3-year-old grandson, because he disapproved of his daughter’s marriage. Subhash Chander (Hindu) has been charged with killing his pregnant daughter, her husband and their 3-year-old son in a weekend arson fire in Chicago. At least one report says they were killed because his daughter had married into a lower caste.
In Sioux City Iowa two young girls were allegedly murdered by their stepfather during what police say was a Satanic ritual.
Rabbi Shlomo Arar’s wife and daughter committed an honor crime when they kidnapped and beat a boy who was involved with the Rabbi’s daughter. Rabbi Fred Neulander of the Congregation M’Kor Shalom Reform Temple in Cherry Hill, New Jersey was convicted of hiring two men to kill his wife. Nachman Inshin, a Devout Jewish Haredi man in Israel was arrested for murdering his infant daughter Fruma because his wife refused to sleep with him. He first recited a verse from the Book of Psalms, and then killed the baby. Rabbi David Wax kidnapped a man and threatened to kill him unless he granted his wife a Jewish divorce. In New York, Sam Friedlander, a religious Jew, killed his wife and children, then killed himself. Seth Bader, an Orthodox Jew who was convicted of murdering his wife filed a lawsuit over inability to practice his religion in prison. Arthur Rubin, an Orthodox Jew charged for murdering his wife in Staten Island. Moshe Gedalia indicted for abusing and murdering his wife because she asked for a divorce. Rod Colvin accused of strangling his wife in New York. His wife had already obtained a “get” — a Jewish religious divorce — from Rod before she was murdered. James Butwin burned his wife and 3 children to death and killed himself in Arizona. The family was active at Temple Emanuel in Phoenix. Butwin’s wife had filed for a divorce.
A Christian father starved his infant son to death because of a “vision” from God. A Christian mother killed her baby to give her child to God. Parents have killed their children because they thought they were gay, for stealing to buy drugs, over a video game, to avoid paying child support, because of worry over gambling debts, because they were autistic and hard to care for, over a fight with a spouse. Andrea Yates, Deanna Laney , and Lawshaun Harris (devout Christians) killed their children because “God told them to”. Constance & Larry Slack (devout Christians – Jehovah’s Witnesses) beat their daughter to death for being disobedient. A pastors son killed his mom and shot his dad.
The list goes on an on and would take up volumes to list. The truth is that family murder is ‘too awful to contemplate’, and yet we must contemplate this crisis and find ways to reach distressed families before any more lives are lost. The idea found in some cultures that somehow if a families “honor” is damaged, they can restore that “honor” by taking some violent action against the individual or individuals perceived to have been the source of that loss of honor, is only one of many possible justifications for such reprehensible and evil acts. There is no “honor involved” because such acts of violence are simply dishonorable.
It has been noted that: “Women who kill their children commonly cite God, the devil and other religious influences for their actions. Although the mothers are also often found to be severely mentally ill or psychotic, the recurring theme of religiosity begs the question: Is religion to blame? Theologians, sociologists and psychiatrists generally say no. They say religiosity is a common theme among psychotics because hallucinations and delusions usually take familiar forms. “Most of the people in nut houses are religious because most Americans are religious,” said Rodney Stark, a social sciences professor at Baylor University. “We know what causes schizophrenia and it isn’t going to church. It’s biochemical.”
One article about the Aqsa Parvez case had the title “Girl’s death puts Islam in hot seat”—if that is true, then all the other deaths must also put Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, etc. all in the hot seat. We have a serious problem in our society, and members of all faith communities need to work together to attempt to find solutions, and to educate our own faith communities in the actual teachings of our various belief systems. Although individuals may attempt to justify their actions on the basis of some distortion of religious teachings, there is no justification for this behavior.
In attempting to see this as “their” problem and not “our” problem, and pointing the finger of blame elsewhere, we take away any chance of working effectively together to get at the root problems and stop this from ever happening again.
In 2009, Phyllis Chesler wrote an article Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence? in which she falsely claimed that my statement in this article about domestic violence “dismissed the problem”. Here is how Chesler worded this claim In 2007, after Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father in Toronto for not wearing hijab (a head covering), Sheila Musaji wrote in the American Muslim, “Although this certainly is a case of domestic violence … ‘honor’ killings are not only a Muslim problem, and there is no ‘honor’ involved.” Mohammed Elmasry, of the Canadian Islamic Congress, also dismissed the problem.
What I actually said was: Although this certainly is a case of domestic violence, some are referring to this as an example of an “honor” killing. The facts are not in yet as to whether or not this is the case. And, as with all forms of domestic abuse, domestic violence and family violence, “honor” killings are not only a Muslim problem, and there is no “honor” involved. There is no “honor” in violence or murder. And, further in the article, I said The truth is that family murder is ‘too awful to contemplate’, and yet we must contemplate this crisis and find ways to reach distressed families before any more lives are lost. The idea found in some cultures that somehow if a families “honor” is damaged, they can restore that “honor” by taking some violent action against the individual or individuals perceived to have been the source of that loss of honor, is only one of many possible justifications for such reprehensible and evil acts. There is no “honor involved” because such acts of violence are simply dishonorable.
Her selective “quote” was repeated by Chuck Norris, and many other Islamophobes, exactly as she wrote it, and using it in the same way, to falsely claim that I was “dismissing the problem” or pretending that such crimes don’t exist in the Muslim community. It would be impossible for any reasonable person to read this article and come away with that conclusion.
UPDATES ON MUSLIM COMMUNITY EFFORTS AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND “HONOR” CRIMES
Twenty Canadian Muslim Organizations Urge ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Domestic Violence after the tragic murder of Aqsa Parvez. 12/2007
Imam Zaid Shakir has practical suggestions for attempting to root out this barbaric practice from the Muslim community (7/2008):
Practical steps include the following: 1. Emphasize that such killings have no sanction in the Qur’an, the Prophetic practice, or in Islamic law. 2. Declare anyone guilty of involvement in honor killings to be a cold-blooded murderer. 3. Encourage judicial authorities to enact the harshest penalties possible for anyone accused of involvement in such killings. 4. Educate our Muslim communities, especially in the West, about the un-Islamic nature of honor killings, and the pressures, nuances, challenges and complications facing young Muslims, male and female in the West.
5. Work to eliminate the double standards, and to expose the hypocrisy that exist in our communities, generally, concerning attitudes and standards relating to the indiscretions of males as opposed to females.
The Islamic Society of North America ISNA has published a statement The Islamic Response to Domestic Violence 10/2009
Wajahat Ali has published an important article (2/2010) February 12-”Remembering Aasiya Zubair and Confronting Domestic Violence”
Last year the tragic beheading of Aasiya Zubair jolted a dormant Muslim American community to finally acknowledge and proactively confront the hidden scourge of domestic violence in its midst.
On 12 February 2009, Aasiya Zubair, a Muslim Pakistani American MBA student and co-founder of Bridges TV, was murdered by her estranged husband, Muhammad Hassan, after she officially filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against him. Hassan’s previous two wives left him due to domestic abuse, and Asma Firfirey, the sister of the deceased, stated Aasiya had previously sustained physical injuries requiring nearly $3,000 of medical bills. Hassan, who was ostensibly and regrettably considered a community leader despite his history of abuse – a shameful oversight and failure of the Muslim leadership community – is now charged with the murder. Remarkably, he recently invoked the “battered” spouse defence combined with psychiatric elements claiming that it was in fact he who suffered verbal abuse and humiliation by his wife.
Hassan’s defence takes away from the very real statistics that show the sobering reality of domestic violence in America. Approximately 1.3 million women in America are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually and nearly 25% of women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Contrary to some spurious reporting and ignorant, reactionary stereotyping in the wake of Aasiya’s murder, abhorrent violence against women is neither culturally innate nor exclusive to Muslim, South Asian, or immigrant males. Sadly, domestic violence is universally endemic in “women of all races [who] are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner”.
Commendably, the Muslim American community refused to plead victimhood and make media-friendly, defensive rationalisations following Aasiya’s murder. Instead, they universally condemned the murder, acknowledged the existence of domestic violence as a silent but prevalent reality deliberately hidden due to shame, and decided to finally clean their own house.
A sudden grassroots effort emerged within two days of her death – mobilised primarily by websites such as Facebook – that campaigned for a “pledge to end domestic violence”. A nationwide, unified effort entitled Imams Speak Out: Domestic Violence Will Not Be Tolerated in Our Communities, directly called on imams and religious leaders to use their Friday sermon to decisively denounce abuse against women in Muslim communities. The call was heard and answered loudly. Shaikh Hamza Yusuf, one of the most influential and popular Muslim American clerics, used the Qur’an, sharia and life of the Prophet Muhammad to categorically condemn such behaviour as un-Islamic and forbidden. Moreover, he admonished domestic abusers who rationalise such criminal acts by perversely misusing their religion to justify their violence.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group, In Memory of Aasiya Zubair: A Pledge to End Domestic Violence, was created as a unified, multicultural, globalised effort to combat domestic violence.
Immediately following the tragedy, a few Muslim Americans started the Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence website, where they issued a global pledge “to never to engage in, support, or remain silent about the physical, psychological, and emotional abuse of Muslim and non-Muslim women and children”. To commemorate the anniversary of Aasiya’s death, they have released a “call to action” asking religious imams to reserve their Friday 12 February sermon to speak out against domestic abuse.
Also, the tragedy highlighted the resources and remarkable work of existing anti-domestic violence organisations and shelters that were sadly not fully utilised by many mosques and Muslim community centres during Aasiya’s life.
For example, Peaceful Families Project, which has existed since 2000, collaborated with the Muslim Women’s League last year to compile an online directory of “domestic violence programmes for Muslim communities”. They are now spearheading a video campaign called Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence, featuring pledges from Muslims all over the world.
An organised, global initiative, International Wear a Purple Hijab Day is asking Muslim women to wear a purple headscarf to remember Aasiya Zubair on 13 February and unite as a community to speak out against domestic abuse. Project Sakinah: Stop Family Violence Now is being developed by Dar al Islam, a New Mexico non-profit organisation, to stimulate awareness and decisive action within Muslim communities.
Furthermore, several domestic violence shelters, non-profit organisations, and Muslim community centres are hosting speeches and panels this weekend to commemorate Aasiya’s memory. Specifically, Domestic Harmony Foundation and Turning Point for Women and Families is hosting a joint panel to clear misconceptions of Islam’s treatment of women and to condemn the domestic violence and murder of Aasiya.
Although the journey remains long and arduous, it is bittersweet yet ultimately encouraging that the anniversary of Aasiya Zubair’s death inspires many Muslim Americans, who were previously either apathetic or ignorant, to draw upon their faith and religious traditions to end domestic violence in honour of her memory.
The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council IN 2010 issued a statement that: We, members of the Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council, declare gender equality to be an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith. As Muslims, we affirm our conviction that the Muslim woman is worthy of respect and dignity, that as a legal individual, spiritual being, social person, responsible agent, free citizen, and servant of God, she holds fundamentally equal rights to exercise her abilities and talents in all areas of human activity. Furthermore, we insist that these rights are embedded within the Qur’an and six objectives of Shari’a—the protection and promotion of religion (al-din), life (al-nafs), mind (al-‘aql), family (al-nasl), wealth (al-mal), and dignity (al-‘ird). As the Shura Council, we embrace our collective and individual responsibility to work towards building a unified change movement of Muslim women – driven by compassion and justice – that will enable Muslim women to realize their full potential as individuals and in relationship to family, community, nation, and globe.
They have begun a number of educational programs, and initiated a JIHAD AGAINST VIOLENCE. A great deal more information is available on their site. Here are some of the key points about this effort
Violence is a human phenomenon that exists across diverse cultures and faith communities. It remains an ever-present reality in the lives of millions of Muslims, preventing entire societies from flouishing in religious, cultural, political, and economic spheres. Throughout the world, violence destroys the ability of Muslim women to thrive within their families, communities, and nations. Violent extremism and domestic violence, in particular, continue to devastate individual lives, families and societies. This is a clear injustice to those who suffer such indignities, as well as a violation of the teachings of Islam, whose mantle is wrongly used to justify such violence.
“Jihad Against Violence: Muslim Women’s Struggle for Peace” is the first statement of the global Muslim women’s Shura Council, an all women’s advisory council that promotes women’s rights within an Islamic framework. A combined study and condemnation of violent extremism and domestic violence, “Jihad against Violence” addresses two critical issues that are typically assumed to be separate. Thus, the Shura Council is studying violence in its larger context, offering connections and links rarely made, and taking a stand against all types and manifestations of violence. Because of the tremendous import of violent extremism and its prominence within public discourses surrounding Islam, studying this topic – in tandem with domestic violence – will register a strong statement that women can pronounce on all societal issues, not merely those traditionally limited to them.
- Shura Council Letter to the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (in English).
- Shura Council Letter to the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (in Arabic).
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In English)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In Arabic)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In Tamil)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” - Resource
- The “Jihad Against Violence” poster
Shura Council StatementsTop
Drawing upon its members’ expertise in both Islamic jurisprudence and fields like history, political science, theology, sociology, and the arts, the Shura Council issues informed and religiously-grounded opinions on controversial issues of particular relevance to Muslim women in their personal, familial and societal lives. By advocating a constructive conception of women’s status, rights and responsibilities, these opinions function as legitimate alternatives to oppressive religious arguments. Thus, the Council is providing members of the WISE community, as well as Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide, with comprehensive information and vital analysis from Islamic law and other fields of scholarship, in addition to proposing strategies for affecting positive and sound change.
Issues are selected yearly through a Council vote, with consideration of the worldwide WISE community and activists on the ground. Some of the selected issues include “Female Genital Cutting,” “Adoption and the Care of Orphans,” “Women’s Religious Leadership,” “Honor Crimes and Killings,” “Stigmatization and Criminalization of Rape Victims,” “Child Marriages,” and “Education.” Shura Council statements are constructed through a consultative process, including input from organizational and individual allies and several cycles of edits. All statements culminate in a Council vote and are disseminated through the WISE portal, where the WISE community can weigh in via polls, comments, and suggestions.
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Domestic Violence Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Domestic Violence Handout
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Violent Extremism Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Violent Extremism 3-Page Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Female Genital Cutting Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council FGC 2-Page Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council FGC Handout
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Adoption Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Adoption Brochure
Muftiyyah Program Top
The Muftiyyah Program is a world-class graduate program, which will train contemporary Muslim women jurists and religious scholars. Currently being developed by WISE and the Shura Council, it is intended to be collaborative project with institutional and educational partners worldwide. Targeting the best and brightest Muslim women globally, the program will unite classical fiqh study with top-notch secular, interfaith, and women’s studies education, matriculating leaders empowered with full Islamic legal authority and an exceptional ability to address the most critical issues of our time. The Muftiyyahs will eventually form the first-ever global, all-women’s “Ifta Council,” acting as forces for change locally and globally.
The Muslim Consultative Network prepared a pledge 10,000 Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence 10/2010
Project Sakinah has published an article Domestic Violence in Muslim Families: Aasiya Zubair to Nazish Noorani by Zerqa Abid which notes After initial research, intensive brainstorming with several Muslim and non-Muslim DV advocates and several sessions with professional consultants, we have now launched a 6-point action plan for our community. We call upon all concerned community members to join hands with us and help us making it a success. Starting this October, we are offering training workshops for community organizers against domestic violence. These workshops are not for professionals. These are for regular people. We call upon you to help us organize these workshops in your city, at your mosques and community centers. 8/2011
Canadian Muslims are joining an international campaign to fight domestic violence in their country (1/2012).
“We are hoping the raise awareness about domestic violence in Canada with the White Ribbon Days,” Afaun Mandol, a spokesperson for Muslim Presence Toronto, told OnIslam.net. “The White Ribbon Campaign is a means to start the conversation in our community to challenge everyone to speak out, and think about their own personal beliefs, language and actions.” The WRC aims to empower men and boys to speak out against all forms of violence against women.
The campaign gained momentum among Canadian Muslims following a call by Muslim groups and leaders to end domestic violence in the country. “Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence,” the Muslim groups said in a statement titled “Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence”. ... As part of the campaign, imams across Canada gave sermons on December 9 condemning domestic violence and honour-based killings. The following day, the White Ribbon campaign, in which men undertook a pledge against domestic violence, was launched in Toronto’s Muslim community.
The campaign was also taken to the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention”, which ran from December 23 to December 25 in Toronto. Professor Tariq Ramadan, one of the world’s leading Muslim intellectuals, added his voice to the campaign during his speech at the convention with strong and forceful words condemning domestic violence. “Domestic violence is unacceptable; stop it,” said Ramadan. “You who are beating women and listening to these talks, if you don’t stop it, then this is all for nothing.” Attendees at the convention were also asked to take a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls and wear a white ribbon to signal their commitment to the campaign. “We were particularly interested in reaching out to men and boys during the convention,” Mandol told OnIslam.net.
The campaign is also planned to be launched among the Muslim communities in the cities of Ottawa and Montreal to coincide with the International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. Other Islamic organizations are planning educational programs on family issues.
A Toronto-based web portal, TorontoMuslim.com, has also partnered with the Muslim Presence Network to launch a site that will list resources and links to local agencies and centres that provide support to victims of domestic violence in the Greater Toronto Area. “Our mission is to raise awareness, to educate, to advocate and to take action to end domestic violence, as part of our pledge to the Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence statement,” stated TorontoMuslims.com.
Here is the Call to Action statement
Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence. As October, the Domestic Violence Awareness month, has ended and we now approach December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Muslim Canadians reflect on the reality of domestic violence within our own communities, compounded by abhorrent and yet persistent pre-Islamic practices rooted in the misguided notion of restoring family honour.
As Muslims, we base our ethics and behaviour on the teachings of the Quran and the authenticated example of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit a woman and taught the men that “the best amongst you is he who treats women the best”. The Quran unequivocally emphasizes the sanctity of all life, forbids all forms of coercion in matters of religion, and reminds us all that each of us is accountable for our actions directly to God, the only Judge.
There is no room within these teachings for any person, by virtue of gender or position within the family, to seize control over the life and bodily security of another. Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence.
We the undersigned declare our commitment to intensify our efforts to eradicate domestic violence from our communities through:
1. Working within our community and with other communities to raise awareness of harmful (and sometimes lethal) attitudes that lead to this violence.
2. Working within our communities to raise awareness about the serious psychological, judicial, social and religious consequences of such practices, through Friday sermons, public lectures, workshops, and other means.
3. Morally opposing the use of the word “honour” when describing such killings to ensure no positive connotation is implied directly or indirectly in connection to such heinous crimes.
4. Working with community leaders and Imams in order to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources and training so that they can offer mediation, conflict resolution, and domestic violence counselling in a manner that reflects professional standards, contemporary research, and religious scholarship.
5. Educating parents and youth about existing resources that can help them deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings far before it gets to the point of violent confrontation.
6. Teaching parents and youth how to deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings.
As a first step, starting immediately and specifically on December 9, we commit ourselves to addressing this issue at all levels, including and especially within our Friday sermons, which must highlight Islamic perspectives on domestic abuse, perspectives that condemn all forms of violence against women and children, most especially threatening, abusing, and killing women in the name of protecting the family’s honour. As Muslims and as Canadians, we stand with all Canadians and pledge to combat domestic violence in all its manifestations, wherever and whenever they arise.
ISCC affiliated Imams Issue Important Fatwa on Honour Killings Misogyny and Domestic Violence. 34 Imams from Canada and the U.S. initiated this fatwa, and are encouraging others to also sign on. 2/4/2012
UPDATE 12/28/2011 - YAZDANPANAH MURDER, A CASE STUDY
On Christmas day, in Texas, Aziz Yazdanpanah murdered 6 of his family members and then committed suicide. He and his wife were going through a divorce and bankruptcy. He had been unemployed for some time. The family had just opened their presents by the Christmas tree when he killed them. The family was Muslim. The Islamophobes immediately jumped on this story and called it an “honor killing”. I wrote an article discussing their “concern” about “honor” killings titled Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller Turn Another Tragedy Into an anti-Muslim Hate Fest Here are a few key points from that article discussing why their approach is Islamophobic and also counter-productive:
On Christmas day, in Texas, Aziz Yazdanpanah murdered 6 of his family members and then committed suicide. He and his wife were going through a divorce and bankruptcy. He had been unemployed for some time. The family had just opened their presents by the Christmas tree when he killed them. The family was Muslim. **
In October, Sam Friedlander murdered his wife and two children and then committed suicide in New York. He and his wife were going through a divorce and attempting to sell their home. The family was Jewish. **
Last year Neal Jacobsen murdered his wife and two sons in Florida. The family was going through financial difficulties, and he was suffering from depression. He was a board member of the local Jewish Community Center ** and **
In Fayetville, N.C., Troy Ryan Bellar murdered his wife and three teen-aged children. The family was experiencing financial difficulties. The family attended Snyder Memorial Baptist Church where Bellar was a deacon. **
What do these four tragic stories have in common? Stress, financial problems, marital problems, depression, mental instability, social isolation, easy access to guns. Any combination of these may have contributed to these tragedies. This sort of tragedy happens all too often, and it is heartbreaking. The surviving family and friends of the victims suffer greatly, not only from the loss of their loved ones, but also very often from soul-searching about whether or not they had failed to see some sign that the perpetrator might commit such a crime.
What these four tragic stories do not have in common is religion. Two of the families were Jewish, one Muslim, and one Baptist. To assume that any such crime comitted by a Muslim automatically makes it an honor killing is outright bigotry. To assume that any criminal, crazy, or perverted act carried out by an individual who happens to be a Muslim makes that an Islamic crime is outright bigotry.
Immediately after the Yazdanpanah tragedy, Pamela Geller posted an article calling this an “Islamic honor killing”. She called this a “horror caused by and sanctioned by Islamic beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes.” And, of course, her partner Robert Spencer also posted his speculations.
What kind of human being can be so cruel as to use such a tragedy to further the cause of demonizing an entire religious minority? What kind of human being can allow their hatred to add additional pain for the surviving family members and friends? This goes beyond Islamophobia into the realm of blind hatred towards Muslims.
The comments under Geller and Spencer’s articles show that their faithful readers have absorbed this hateful poison that they are spreading.Here are a few comments under Geller’s: — What a waste of life. Islam = hate and murder. Islam offers NOTHING to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Absolutely nothing. — Darn, I bet it was a Southern Baptist! Kidding, I knew even with the Santa outfit it was a Muslim. No costume can disguise their barbarity. — These people do NOT come here for freedom. They come here to infiltrate and eventually take over. It is the Third Jihad — The satanic cult of death REQUIRES BLOOD SACRIFICE for any number of offenses: being non-muslim, apostasy, misbehavior, disobedience, insulting the pedophile prophet of death, drawing the pedophile prophet of death, dating, etc. These are only pious demon worshipers practicing their demonic cult, fully protected, by an army of feds and prosecutors all of whom report to comrade holder, as a *religion*.Takbir! — All muslims are ticking time bombs, you never know what will set them off or when it will happen. — We need to stop Muslims from emigrating to this country. They will never accept out Christian way of life. They are disruptive and intolerant. We should let people into this country who would appreciate what we have to offer and not bring their baggage with them.
Here are a few comments under Spencer’s article — I blame the lame stream media and our ignorant politicians for America just letting herself be invaded by these SAVAGES. I can’t believe I’m living to see this happen. WHEN WILL WE CLOSE THE BORDERS TO MUSLIM IMMIGRATION??????? — Islam just doesn’t seem to let its adherents behave in a sane, civilized way. Must be an Allahrgy of some kind. — Yes, I wonder if he attended a “mosque” (terrorist training center), and if so, which one? — We are AT WAR! — These Muslims cannot be called human beings!! Following that monster Mo/allah, they become a monster like him and they proudly display their allegiance to that monster. There is no other word to describe them, monster comes fairly close - some may call them beasts but I think beasts have better ethics then them. — We have a long way to go until we educate the public about this disease called ISLAM. — All American Muslim, Christmas edition. So, when’s TLC going to cover THIS, or any regular main stream media? We have to rely on the NEW media for the truth! Islam is cruel and barbaric. It’s not tolerant, and doesn’t seek to coexist.
Geller and Spencer have shown time and time again that they have a tenuous grasp of the concept of “truth telling”. They have attempted to conceal evidence when they have been caught in lies and distortions. They have also shown time and time again that they have no qualms about exploiting a tragedy to further their own agenda. The Belgian shooting tragedy, and the Hollywood shooting tragedy are just two of the most recent examples.
... As I said in a previous article
Pamela Geller’s Islamophobia is clouding her judgement about how closely anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and all other forms of bigotry are linked. Encouraging and condoning bigotry towards any minority ultimately can come to hurt all minorities. Her ravings against Islam and Muslims are appealing to a certain segment of the population who need to have someone to blame and to look down on. It is if she is taking a stick and sticking it into a hive of hornets and shaking it around and hoping she can control who those hornets sting.
When she opposes halal slaughter of animals and calls it “cruel”, it isn’t going to be long before her audience notices kosher slaughter. When she opposes not only particular interpretations of some specific aspects of Sharia, but all of Sharia, it isn’t going to be long before her audience sees the similarities between Halakha and Sharia. If it’s alright to take away Constitutional protections from Muslims, or any other particular minority, then it isn’t going to be long before her audience realizes they can take them away from others who they were never that fond of in the first place.
... If you take a stick and stir up a hornets nest, you can be pretty certain of the results, and there will be no way to control who gets stung. Bigotry is bigotry, and it doesn’t matter who the target is.
I’m not the only one who noticed this despicable and cruel behavior on the part of Geller and Spencer. Charles Johnson called this “trying to take advantage of a terrible crime to advance their un-American agenda. ... To recap: Yazdanpanah killed his family members while they were all celebrating Christmas and then committed suicide. He was wearing a Santa suit. His life was falling apart in just about every possible way. But to these vile bigots, it had to be an “honor killing” — for no other reason than the man’s nominal Muslim faith. It’s almost unbelievably disgusting.”
After Johnson wrote this article, Spencer and Geller engaged with him in a back and forth twitter exchange. Johnson published the full exchange here.
Richard Bartholomew published an article in which he commented about this twitter exchange Johnson pointed out problems with the honour killing motive in Texas – according to Spencer, this means that Johnson supports the killer’s “ideology” , that he is “making excuses” for the killer, and that he must be doing so for money. Further comment on that is superfluous. Of course, the above doesn’t tell us anything new about Spencer and how he operates, although it is a particularly egregious example of why this man should not be taken seriously by anyone who is concerned about honour killings or any other matter of public concern. It’s remarkable that a public figure like John Bolton would debase himself by endorsing Spencer’s work.”
Bartholomew then notes that Spencer and Geller’s hate group AFDI/SIOA will be holding a conference “to exposing the plight of women under Islamic law” in Dearborn, Michigan in May. He notes In other words, a conference on “ the plight of women under Islamic law in Dearborn” will include only one speaker local to the area, and he’s a evangelist who is focused on the need for Muslims to convert to Christianity. Familiar anti-Islam polemicists will be there, but no-one who has any professional expertise or personal experience of honour killings in the USA. Spencer’s exchange with Johnson shows us what level of discussion to expect. Last year, Geller and Spencer trumpeted their commitment to providing “safe houses” for those at risk from honour killings – a fairly useless website was created, but there’s no evidence that anyone has since benefited from any practical assistance.”
I would have to add that it seems that this most recent exploitation of a tragedy ahead of such a conference makes sense (in a very sick way) as a way to promote the conference and sell more tickets.The Conference title has been announced and it is the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference. Update: This conference was held in April 2012. See TAM article Geller & Spencer’s Human Rights Conference Another Anti-Muslim Hate Fest for details and updates.
UPDATE 1/31/2012 - SHAFIA CASE
The guilty verdict in the tragic Shafia family “honor killing” case in Canada brings this issue to the fore again. It is good that the perpetrators of this gruesome crime are behind bars for life. It is a shame that no one noticed a problem before the murders happened.
Gerald Caplan wrote an excellent article Honour killings in Canada: even worse than we believe which is worth reading in full. Here are a few key points
For some reason, the term honour killings seems to be reserved for murders committed by male family members against daughters or sisters in South Asian or Middle Eastern communities. These unimaginable crimes have been receiving much high-profile notoriety in the Canadian media, as they surely deserve. All Canadians must now know of the tragic murder of 16-year old Aqsa Parvez of Mississauga, strangled to death three years ago by her brother and father.
But I’m confident that not one in a million is aware that in Ontario alone, from 2002 until only 2007 (the latest data), 212 women have been killed by their partners. That’s 42 every year, compared with 12 so-called honour killings in all of Canada in the past eight years. Women killed by partners are known as domestic homicides, and, unless especially gruesome, are barely worth a mention in the media. Maybe there’s just too many of them to be newsworthy. The data comes from the Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, which I didn’t even know existed until it was recently cited in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Monitor. I’ve never come across these figures anywhere else.
... What accounts for the high profile of these relatively small number of murders in Canada? Why do we know little or nothing about the larger epidemic of women killed, almost routinely it sometimes seems, by boyfriends or husbands? Is it less terrible to be strangled to death or shot or have your throat slit by them than by family members? Is it just too commonplace to bother paying attention to? Do we still harbour that sneaking suspicion that women murdered by partners have somehow brought it on themselves?
Yet both kinds of murders have a common root. Both are honour killings, reflecting a twisted, pathological male sense of honour. Both are executed by men who feel they haven’t received their due deference, men who consider “their” women, whether daughter or partner, to be their chattel, to do with as they choose. Have we smug white Canadians forgotten that you don’t have to be a Muslim or South Asian to regard women this way?
Or do we focus on so-called honour killings precisely because the victims are Muslims, or South Asians, or Middle Easterners? By giving such prominence to these communities and their cultures, are we not denigrating them? For all our ostensible acceptance of multiculturalism, are we not feeding our lingering prejudices against certain specific minorities among us? Look at it purely statistically. If so-called honour killings are in fact culturally approved by their communities, as is often charged, shouldn’t we expect far more than 12 in the entire country in eight years? And if the rest of us truly embrace a culture that repudiates violence against women, why are so many of them still being murdered?
Let me again emphasize that I have no illusions about these dark issues. According to the United Nations, there are a staggering 5,000 instances annually of women and girls being shot, stoned, burned, poisoned, buried alive, strangled, smothered or knifed to death by family members. I can barely write the sentence without getting sick to my stomach. The killers are fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, and yes, even mothers. The disgusting deeds are carried out in the name of preserving or protecting family honour. Most such murders are indeed carried out in the Middle East or in the countries of South Asia – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan – or by South Asians or Middle Easterners living elsewhere. These terrible crimes can never be “understood,” justified or condoned. They must be stopped, wherever they happen.
But terrible things still happen to women everywhere, as the domestic violence figures for Canada demonstrate. No nation, religion, class or ethnic group has the monopoly on misogyny. Honour killings should be seen not as uniquely evil but as the most extreme and perverse proof of this truth. That’s why it’s encouraging that women’s equality groups have been so vocal in their denunciations of all violence against women and are supporting women in minority communities to give them the strength to stand up for their rights.
Despite the remarkable progress women have truly made in the past half-century, clawing for every inch of it, the struggle for women’s equality can never rest. It simply has too many enemies, always fighting to keep women in their place, where they belong, dead or alive. Young women who dismiss feminism as irrelevant or outdated are, I’m afraid, dead wrong. The struggle is never over.
We know that there is a problem of violence against women. We know that the problem also exists in Muslim communities. We know that some individuals hold to radical interpretations of Islamic texts to attempt to justify such behavior. How can we identify families at risk in local communities? How can we intervene and offer support before violence actually takes place? Are Imams doing enough to educate their communities on issues of domestic violence and actual Islamic teachings?
In the Shafia case, Gerald Pope reported that In patriarchal communities, women are seen to embody the family’s honor, and thus are expected to be modest and obedient. But if honor-based violence goes back to the dawn of time in some parts of the world, tradition today often blends with modern factors — social, political or even economic — to create a potent, and at times lethal, mix. The murders that hit the headlines occur against a broader backdrop of honor-inspired coercion and domestic abuse. Identifying the warning signs and taking appropriate steps in time can protect lives. The Shafia girls, it appears, had reached out for help on several occasions, only to retreat when the authorities interviewed them in front of their parents.
Perhaps this failure to see the warning signs points to a need for the Muslim community, and all religious communities to develop more social service and counseling services, and to work together more pro-actively.
Shaima Alawady, an immigrant from Iraq, was beaten to death in her home in El Cajon, California last Wednesday. A handwritten note saying “go back to your country terrorist” was found near her body. She and her family had recently moved to El Cajon, and she wore a hijab, and so was recognizably Muslim.
The local police are asking for the publics help in obtaining any useful information about this crime. The FBI is helping the local police with their investigation. The police say that they are not ruling out any of the motives that someone might have had for killing Mrs. Alawady, but acknowledge that this may possibly have been a hate crime.
At this point, not enough facts are known to say what the motive for the crime might have been, or to know if this was a hate crime or a case of domestic violence. However, the case is being watched closely, not only by the American Muslim community, but also by Muslims in other countries, including her native Iraq. The story is generating thousands of articles, and a great deal of concern.
See TAM article Shaima Alawady’s Murder for information and updates on this case.
This week, a case of a man in Italy who killed his children was noticed by Islamophobes because the man was Muslim. Italy: Muslim Slits the Throats of His Two Children to Punish His Wife was the title of an article posted by Pamela Geller with the intro Muslim women need an underground network in order when they leave their devout husbands. they need a new name, a safehouse, a new life. Her partner, Robert Spencer posted Italy: Muslim father kills children after his wife refuses to wear Islamic veil and threatens to leave with the intro More bitter fruit of the culture of violence created by a religion that calls for the beating of disobedient women (Qur’an 4:34) and stipulates no penalty for a parent who kills a child. Both of them refer to an article in an Italian paper.
And, as usual, the response that such descriptions provoke is predictable. Here are a few of the comments:
On Geller’s site someone named Kevin Stroup said Thank God. Finally, some good news. Muslims killing muslims. Made my day. Rejoicing in the terrible deaths of small children. On Spencer’s site Graven Image said God, I hate Islam. Dumbdledoresarmy said In non-Muslim societies, abusive, over-controlling males will kill their ex-wives/ ex-girlfriends and/ or the children, simply in order to exercise dominance. In Islamic societies, behind the abusive over-controlling males -the individual bullies - is an entire *gestalt*, the Ummah or Mohammedan Mob, that *primes* men to behave like this, and that is itself, so to speak, an over-controlling Abuser or Bully writ large, that cannot endure to be defied and cannot bear the thought of any of its slaves getting away. The man is therefore acting not only as an *individual* thug/ Abuser, but as an Enforcer of the sharia, acting on behalf of the Ummah to punish a potential escapee/ rebel. On another article on Spencer’s site about a Muslim killing his wife, guymacher said First, why were they in Canada? Second, why do we think they will tell the truth in court? Third, are libtards beginning to understand why Muslims are undesirable in civilized countries?
The Islamophobes target base is getting the message loud and clear. Muslims commit crimes because they are Muslims. The Muslim community itself is complicit in allowing such crimes to take place. Domestic violence (or any other violence) is a uniquely Muslim problem. Muslims are not like US.
Possibly, the most important aspect of this story from the Italian paper is ignored by the Islamophobes, and that is that the wife had gone to the police a month ago and reported threats and abuse, and even the fact that her husband had pulled a knife. What happened? Did the police ignore her? Was this woman betrayed, not only by her husband, but by law enforcement?
This was a terrible crime, an act of savagery and brutality, a tragedy, an act of domestic violence. All decent people need to work together to stop domestic violence. As noted above, such acts are carried out in all communities. Writing lurid headlines that identify the religion of every criminal as if that were the only critical factor is bigoted. For example, Jews have committed such crimes, and reasonable people understand that was NOT because they were Jewish, but because they were criminals who happened to be Jewish (even if they claim a religious reason). Christians have committed such crimes, and reasonable people understand that was NOT because they were Christian, but because they were criminals who happened to be Christian (even if they claim a religious reason).
Let’s look at one particular tragedy that took place in the Jewish community. Rabbi Nachman Inshin, a devout Jewish Haredi man in Israel was arrested for murdering his infant daughter Fruma because his wife refused to have sex with him. He first recited a verse from the Book of Psalms, and then killed the baby by slamming her head against the floor several times. He said “she is in my hands, slaughtered like a chicken”.
This was an equally tragic and barbaric crime. And, yet, headlines did not scream “Jew slaughters baby “like a chicken” to punish wife”.
Let’s look at one particular tragedy that took place in the Christian community. In Chicago, Larry and Constance Slack, described by neighbors as devoutly religious Christians, killed their daughter for being disobedient. They delivered 160 blows, stuffing a towel in her mouth at one point to silence her screams.
This was an equally tragic and barbaric crime. And, yet, headlines did not scream “Christians beat daughter to death for disobedience”.
Recently, in fact Charlie Fuqua (who was running for the Arkansas legislature) claimed in a book he wrote titled “God’s Law” that “a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21” He also said that the American legal system should be based on Biblical Law. Fuqua lost his bid for the legislature, but that such a person could have run, and that their are individuals who believe such things in the 21st century is worrisome.
We know that domestic violence is a problem worldwide, and in our nation. We know that it crosses all religious, educational, and cultural lines. There is a lot of work to be done if we are to change this reality. This year, The American Prospect published an article Chart of the Day: What War on Women? which included the information that between 9/2001 and 6/2012 11,766 American women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. This number was considerably more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the number of Americans killed by terror attacks in the U.S. combined. This should concern us all, and requires a coordinated joint effort to protect all women, and all children from domestic violence.
Within that statistic we know that some of the criminal perpetrators were Muslims, and that is not surprising as no community is free of such acts. The same would hold true of those abusing their wives or children, or those killing their children, or any other act of domestic violence. Murder is murder, violence is violence, abuse is abuse, and there is no difference between an individual who harms someone else claiming that they are “defending their honor” than in someone committing the same act and claiming some other justification.
A distressing statement from NOW-NY, Hussein Rashid http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/gva/2983/
A Family Affair: Afshan Azad’s Assault http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2010/07/a-family-affair-afshan-azads-assault/
A Family in Severe Psycho-Spiritual Crisis- Guilty Verdict in Shafia Murders, Waleed Ahmed http://muslimmatters.org/2012/01/30/a-family-in-severe-psycho-spiritual-crisis-guilty-verdict-in-shafia-murders/
A Perspective on Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community, Salma Elkadi Abugideiri http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/downloads/article_from_salma__final_with_copyright_notice_for_web.pdf
A test of faith, Fatima Cash http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/39879/135/
Abuse, asylum and America: violence against women, Rafia Zakaria http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/spa/3216/
Shaima Alawady’s Murder, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/shaima-alawadys-murder
ALLAH Does Not Allow Domestic Violence, Imam Abdullah El Amin http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=1728
American Muslim Women’s Organizations as Innovators in Domestic Violence Policy http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/3/8/3/6/p238368_index.html
American Muslims Call For Swift Action Against Domestic Violence, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa http://www.godfaithpen.com/2009/02/american-muslims-call-for-swift-action.html
An Imam’s Guide to deal with domestic violence, Abdul Malik Mujahid http://www.soundvision.com/Info/socialservice/violenceimamwest.asp
An Imam’s Guide for dealing with abusive men, Uzma Mazhar http://www.crescentlife.com/psychissues/imam_dealing_with_abusive_men.htm
Baitul Salaam Network for Domestic Violence http://www.baitulsalaam.org/
Biblical Battered Wife Syndrome: Christian Women and Domestic Violence, Kathryn Joyce http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/1007/some_pastors_believe_abuse_is_biblical_grounds_for_divorce/
Book review: “Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed”: A disturbing look into a killer’s psyche, Asma Uddin http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/reva/3147/
Bureau of Justice statistics of family murders http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=791
Community Pressure as a Deterrent to Injustice, Uzma Mazhar http://www.crescentlife.com/articles/islamic%20psych/community_pressure_deterrent_injustice.htm
The Complex Nature of Domestic Violence and Religion http://www.care2.com/causes/domestic-violence-and-religion.html#ixzz1tAzbIvvt
Constructing the Notion of Male Superiority over Women in Islam, Dahlia Eissa http://www.wluml.org/english/pubs/pdf/occpaper/OCP-11.pdf
The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_death_of_aqsa_parvez_should_be_an_interfaith_call_to_action/
Death By Culture?: How Not to Talk about Islam and Domestic Violence, Zareena Grewal http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/death_by_culture_how_not_to_talk_about_islam_and_domestic_violence/
Domestic Violence: A Violation of Islam, Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic-violence-a-violation-of-islam
Do Fundamentalism and Other Religious Variables Predict Domestic Violence?, James Alexander http://www.ideajournal.com/articles.php?id=47
Does the Qur’an tolerate domestic abuse: interview with Laleh Bakhtiar on Qur’an 4:34 http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Islam/2007/07/Does-The-Quran-Tolerate-Domestic-Abuse.aspx
Domestic Abuse by Muslim Men? Is the 18% Statistic Too Low?, , by Dr. Robert Dickson Crane http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic_abuse_by_muslim_men_is_the_18_statistic_too_low
Does a bullet kill less than a blade?, M. Junaid Levesque-Alam http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/gva/2950/
Domestic Violence, Mohammad Khaku http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic_violence1/0017185
Domestic Violence, Dr. Aslam Abdullah http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic_violence/0017184
Domestic violence within the Muslim American community, Karamah
Domestic Violence: The Numbers, Mother Jones http://motherjones.com/politics/2005/07/domestic-violence-numbers
Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community - Resource collection http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/violence_and_abuse_in_the_family/
Domestic violence, an Islamic perspective http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w_dv.htm
Domestic Violence Prevention & Education in Faith-Based Communities - a resource collection http://new.vawnet.org/category/Main_Doc.php?docid=837
Domestic Violence and Women of Color http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/index.php?p=Domestic_Violence_%26_Women_of_Color&s=369
Domestic violence facts http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf
Domestic violence hurts Muslims too: Stop the hurt now, Aneesah Nadir, MSW, CISW http://www.soundvision.com/Info/socialservice/stopdomesticviolence.asp
Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community, New Star Family Center http://login.npwebsiteservices.com/starfamilycenterorg/DomesticViolence.asp
Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Dr. Jeremiah McAuliffe http://www.crescentlife.com/psychissues/domestic_violence_in_muslim_families.htm
Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community - TAM Resource collection http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/violence_and_abuse_in_the_family
Domestic Violence within the Muslim American Community, KARAMAH http://www.karamah.org/domestic_violence.htm
Don’t Hold All Muslims Responsible for Men Who Misuse Quran, Beat Women, Summer Hathout http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/violence&harrassment/domesticviolence.htm
Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Sharifa Alkhateeb http://www.isna.net/Resources/articles/domestic-violence/Ending-Domestic-Violence-in-Muslim-Families.aspx
Imam Mohammed Fadel on honor killings http://www.islamawareness.net/HonourKilling/honor1.html
Family tragedy no time for cultural warfare, Haroon Siddiqui http://www.thestar.com/columnists/article/285821—family-tragedy-no-time-for-cultural-warfare
FATWAS - Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah issues fatwa condemning honor killings and calling them “repulsive acts” - 40 scholars in Pakistan issue fatwa against honor killings http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1168265536796&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout - ISCC affiliated Imams Issue Important Fatwa on Honor Killings Misogyny and Domestic Violence http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fatwa
FBI assisting in murder investigation of Iraqi woman http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-california-iraqi-deathbre82q04m-20120326,0,3520529.story
Geller & Spencer’s “Jessica Mokkdad Human Rights Conference” Another Anti-Muslim Hate Fest, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/jessica-mokdad-conference
God’s Batterers: When Religion Subordinates Women, Violence Follows, Susan Brooks Thistlewaite http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/susan_brooks_thistlethwaite/2009/02/gods_batterers_when_religion_s.html
Aasiya Zubair Hassan, Domestic Violence and Islam, Pamela K. Taylor http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/pamela_k_taylor/2009/02/aasiya_hassan_domestic_violenc.html
Honor Killing: Deaths Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_death_of_aqsa_parvez_should_be_an_interfaith_call_to_action
Honor killing, a crime against Islam http://www.islamawareness.net/HonourKilling/honour_killings.pdf
Honor killing and Islam, Kamran Pasha http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kamran-pasha/honor-killing-and-islam_b_168401.html
Honor killing: condemnations are not enough, Shahed Amanullah http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2086
Honor killing from an Islamic perspective http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543392
“Honor” Killings and Political Correctness, Peter Gray http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/honor-killings-and-political-correctness
Honor killings among Hindus in India http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Honour-killings-and-dowries-continue-to-claim-victims-in-India-18793.html
Honor killings and crocodile tears http://loonwatch.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/%e2%80%9cislamic%e2%80%9d-honor-killings-and-crocodile-tears/
Honor Killing: Is Violence Against Women a Universal Problem, Not an Islamic issue?, John Esposito http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-l-esposito/violence-against-women-a_b_705797.html
Honor killings and Islam, is there a link?, Omer Subhani http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/a/3240/
Honor killings: always wrong and never Islamic, Rosemary Pennington http://muslimvoices.org/honor-killings/
Honor Killings (and Their Fallout) Come To Britain, Zahed Amanullah http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/b/1830/
Honor Killings: The Epidemic that Isn’t, Ilisha http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/09/honor-killings-the-epidemic-that-isnt/
Honoring Aasiya, Muna Ali http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/gva/2988/
Honoring women, Ameena Jandali http://www.illumemag.com/zine/articleDetail.php?Honoring-Women-13224
Investigating a Muslim’s Murder: Islamophobia? Domestic Violence? Honor killing? The Search for Answers in the Tragic Death of Shaima Alawadi, Karen Leslie Hernandez http://www.onislam.net/english/back-to-religion/covering-religion/457118-investigating-a-muslims-murder-.html
Iraqi woman fatally beaten in Calif. had fled Saddam’s Iraq http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-27/iraqi-woman-beaten-died/53798042/1
Iraqi woman brutally beaten in Calif. will be buried in Iraq http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-26/beaten-iraqi-woman/53780108/1
Islam and Honor Killings. By Imam Zaid Shakir http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_honor_killings
Interfaith Group Takes New Approach to Domestic Abuse, Rebecca Rosen Lum http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/interfaith_group_takes_new_approach_to_domestic_abuse/
Islam and Honor Killings, Imam Zaid Shakir http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_honor_killings/
Islamic Perspective on “Honor Killings” and domestic violence, MWL http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/violence&harrassment/hk.html
Fatwa against domestic abuse by Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah http://arabist.net/hatshepsut/?s=domestic+violence
Aasiya Zubair Hassan, Domestic Violence and Islam, Pamela K. Taylor http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/pamela_k_taylor/2009/02/aasiya_hassan_domestic_violenc.html
Honor Killings, Mohammed Fadel PhD, JD http://www.islamawareness.net/HonourKilling/honor1.html
ISCC affiliated Imams Issue Important Fatwa on Honor Killings Misogyny and Domestic Violence http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fatwa
Just Another Honor Killing in the News, Nancy Shehata http://www.patheos.com/blogs/muslimahinprogress/2012/01/just-another-honor-killing-in-the-news.html
The Killing of Aasiya Hassan: An Open Letter to the Leaders of American Muslim Communities, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_killing_of_aasiya_hassan_an_open_letter_to_the_leaders_of_american_musl/0017187
Khutbah by Sh. Hamza Yusuf http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2009/02/khutba-on-domestic-violence-by.html
Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/us/killing-of-iraqi-woman-leaves-immigrant-community-shaken.html
Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference - Islamophobes Unite Against US Muslims http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/456835-us-anti-islam-activists-unite-in-detroit.html - Geller & Spencer’s reprehensible attack on Imam Qazwini http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/creating-an-anti-muslim-story-out-of-nothing/0019100 - Anti-Islam activists to rally in Dearborn today; local Muslims reject conference’s message http://www.freep.com/article/20120429/NEWS05/204290613/Anti-Islam-activists-to-rally-in-Dearborn-today-local-Muslims-reject-conference-s-message?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs - Leaders of Sunday’s Anti-Islam Conference Slam Dearborn Imam http://dearborn.patch.com/articles/leaders-of-sunday-s-anti-islam-conference-slam-dearborn-imam - Dead Muslim women as opportunities, Sana Saeed http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/gva/4630/
Moving beyond the slogans, Asma Uddin http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2934/
In the name of honor, Zeenat Umar http://www.illumemag.com/zine/articleDetail.php?In-The-Name-of-Honor-12780
Murder of Aasiya Hassan: - American Muslims Call For Swift Action Against Domestic Violence, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa http://www.godfaithpen.com/2009/02/american-muslims-call-for-swift-action.html - PFP Condemns Beheading of Aasiya Hassan, Wife of Bridges TV Founder http://www.peacefulfamilies.org/pressrelease090214.html
Muslim Advocacy Network Against Domestic Violence http://www.apiidv.org/files/MANADV_flyer.pdf
Muslim Women, Domestic Violence and the Role of Education and Awareness Programs, Altaf Husain, MSW, LSW http://www.crescentlife.com/articles/islamic%20psych/muslim_women,_domestic_violence_and_education.htm
Muslims Against Domestic Violence http://projectsakinah.org/Home/TeamUp/Blogs/BlogsZerqaAbid/tabid/230/EntryId/14/VOICE-TO-ACTION-Muslims-Against-Domestic-Violence.aspx
Muslims are Speaking Out Against Domestic Violence…But is Anybody Listening? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2010/02/muslims-are-speaking-out-against-domestic-violence%E2%80%A6but-is-anybody-listenings/
Muslims Working Against Domestic Violence, Imam Johari Abdul Malik http://imamjohari.wordpress.com/2008/01/06/muslims-working-against-domestic-violence/
Muslim Council of Britain statement against honor killings http://www.islamawareness.net/HonourKilling/honour_killings.pdf
Muslim Women’s League Position Paper on “Honor Killings” http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/violence&harrassment/hk.html
National Center on Domestic Violence Faith Based Resources http://www.ncdsv.org/publications_religion.html
National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/petition/petition.php
On the Death of Shaima Alawadi, Justin Raimondo http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/03/25/on-the-death-of-shaima-alawadi/
Pakistan The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2009, Zubeida Mustafa http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-Protecting-women-qs-10
Peaceful Families Project PFP Condemns Beheading of Aasiya Hassan, Wife of Bridges TV Founder http://www.peacefulfamilies.org/pressrelease090214.html
Qur’an and Hadith on Right to Fight Against Abuse and Violence http://www.crescentlife.com/islamic%20rights/fighting_abuse.htm
Reflections on Aasiya Hassan’s Murder and Domestic Violence, M. Junaid Levesque-Alam http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/reflections_on_aasiya_hassans_murder_and_domestic_violence/
Religion and domestic violence http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/religion_and_domestic_violence.html
Religiosity Common Among Mothers Who Kill Children http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x2825388
Religion and family violence research team http://www.theraveproject.com/index.php
Religion and Domestic Violence http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/religion_and_domestic_violence.html
Reflections on Aasiya Hassan’s Murder and Domestic Violence, M. Junaid Levesque-Alam http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/reflections_on_aasiya_hassans_murder_and_domestic_violence
Rifqa, the Reverend and apostasy, Salam al Marayati http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/3263/
Amina and Sarah Said murdered by their father in Texas
The shame of honor killings in the Muslim world, Hesham Hassaballa http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2309/
Slowly, Muslims Wake Up To The Reality Of Domestic Violence, Shahed Amanullah http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/b/1662/
Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller Turn Another Tragedy Into an anti-Muslim Hate Fest, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/spencer-geller
Statistics on domestic violence http://www.evefoundation.org/domestic-violence-statistics/
Statistics on Family Violence Among Muslims http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/docs/materials/09-resource-packet/Issue_FactsSheets_Handouts/Muslim_Abuse_Stats.pdf
Strong in Faith and Numbers, Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition Plans Capitol Hill Briefing http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/strong_in_faith_and_numbers_interfaith_domestic_violence_coalition_plans_ca/
Teen’s death prompts imam to go on hunger strike
There is no honor in domestic violence, Sikander Ziad Hashmi http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1123878—there-is-no-honour-in-domestic-violence
This cruel sickness, Saraji Umm Zaid http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2745/
Thousands of Women Killed for Family “Honor” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0212_020212_honorkilling.html
Turning the Tragedy of Aasiya Zubair Hassan into Action, Daisy Khan http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/daisy_khan/2009/02/turning_the_tragedy_of_aasiya.html
What does Islam say about domestic violence? http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w_abuse1.htm#say
Who’s Afraid of Shariah?, Sumbul Ali Karamali http://www.illumemag.com/zine/articleDetail.php?Who-s-Afraid-of-Shariah-13288
Why Muslim Families Should Be Free of Domestic Violence (brochure) http://www.utoledo.edu/centers/eberly/docs/Islam%2520brochure.pdf
Wife Abuse in the Muslim Community, Kamran Memon http://islam.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=islam&cdn=religion&tm=87&gps=148_11_979_638&f=00&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.zawaj.com/articles/abuse_memon.html
Women in chains, Irfan Yusuf http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2274/
Muslim Women’s Resource Center
Apna Ghar a domestic violence shelter
An Imam’s Guide to dealing with domestic violence
Stand! Against Domestic Violence
Shalom Bayit: Bay Area Jewish Women Working to End Domestic Violence
Faith Trust Institute
Peace and Safety in the Christian Home
Muslim Womens League
Peaceful Families Project.
Violence is not our culture demands an end to violence against women justified in the name of ‘culture’, ‘religion’ or ‘tradition’.
White Ribbon Campaign
Project Sakinah: Stop Family Violence Now
There are a number of organizations working to stop this epidemic, and there is a list of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other resources available on the Religion Newswriters site.
And no soul, as bearer of burden, bears (and is made to bear) the burden of another; and if one weighed down by his burden calls to (another for help to) carry it, nothing of it will be carried by that other, even if he be his near of kin. Qur’an 35:18 This verse makes it clear that no one is responsible for the actions of another.
For that reason, we ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul for other than murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity… Qur’an 5:35
“Let there among you be a group that summon to all that is beneficial commands what is proper and forbids what is improper; they are the ones who will prosper.” (3:104)
“Believing men and believing women are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong; they perform salat and give zakat…” (9:71)
“Those who, if We establish them in the land (with authority), establish regular prayers and practice regular charity and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong…” (22:41)
originally published 12/14/07