Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victim was the murderer’s daughter, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.
As reported by Sky News:
A Pakistani woman who challenged social norms with racy posts on social media has been been killed – and her brother is being hunted by police.
Qandeel Baloch, whose real name is Fauzia Azeem, was strangled in her family home in Multan, Punjab province.
“Her father Azeem informed the police that his son Waseem has strangled Qandeel,” Punjab Police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar said.
“Apparently, it is an honour killing but further investigations would reveal the real motives behind this murder.”
Ms Baloch became famous In Pakistan in 2014 after a video of her pouting at the camera and asking “How em looking?” went viral.
In March, she made headlines by offering to strip for the Pakistan cricket team if they beat India in a World T20 match.
It was also reported that she would be appearing in the next series of Big Boss, India’s version of Big Brother, and in recent days she had appeared twerking in a music video with singer Aryan Khan.
Many people hailed her scantily-clad selfies but she was also subjected to abuse online as she defied traditional conservative values.
She caused further offence when she posted a video of herself with Mufti Qavi, a Muslim cleric, and claimed they smoked cigarettes and drunk soft drinks during daylight hours in Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast.
Mufti Qavi was removed the committee that decides when Ramadan starts and ends by the government following the allegations.
Local media reported that Ms Baloch had received frequent threats and had spoken of leaving the country because she feared for her own safety.
Earlier this month, she said on Facebook that she was “trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices”.
More than 500 people are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called “honour killings”, usually carried out by members of
the victim’s family.
— Qandeel Baloch (@QandelBaloch) June 21, 2016
Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary on honour killings, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness won an Oscar earlier this year, said the murder would make women feel less safe.
“I really feel that no woman is safe in this country, until we start making examples of people, until we start sending men who kill women to jail, unless we literally say there will be no more killing and those who dare will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
“Activists have screamed themselves hoarse. When will it stop?”
Killers are frequently not jailed because the law gives relatives of the victim the opportunity to forgive the murderer.