Wednesday, September 19, 2007

...But Murder Doesn't?

So a 70 year old Indian gramma was sentenced to prison today because she and her son lured the son's wife back to India from England and then murdered her. Why? Because the daughter-in-law wanted a divorce. Divorce dishonors the family, but murder and insurance fraud do not.


I'm familiar with honor killings. I mean, not intimately familiar, although my friend's cousin was killed in an honor killing. I know about them because I'm a feminist and I care about women. I care about honor killings and female genital mutilation in other cultures just as I care about domestic violence and 'honor killings' amongst my own people. It's not much different in the U.S. and in the U.K., 'cept in those places, when it's white men doing the killing, they call it a 'crime of passion'. Right. It's all the same. And it's very, very sad.

1 comment:

ERS said...

Justice has been a long time coming for poor Surjit. Bravo to the courageous witnesses for testifying and to Judge Forrester for handing down this sentence.

Actually, though, there are differences between crimes of passion and "honor" killings. Crimes of passion, as you imply, have occurred throughout time and across cultures. Generally, they result in some form of criminal penalty.

But "honor" killings are believed to have their origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic Arab tribal codes. Thus, although they are un-Islamic, they are associated with certain cultures. They are by definition intrafamilial (e.g., father against daughter, uncle against niece). In many countries in which they occur, there are actually laws on the books that offer leniency to the perpetrators. In Jordan, for example, they are considered only misdemeanors, and there are three penal code articles on the books that offer such leniency that the average sentence is six months.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"