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Dishonourable killing... Visit Family Security Matters for Part 2...
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Dishonourable killing... Visit Family Security Matters for Part 2...
Mutilation And Killing For Muslim "Honor"
Part One: The Other Side Of Multiculturalism
Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha was a beautiful young woman whose family had migrated to Britain in 1998 from the Kurdish region of Iraq. Banaz, aged 20, lived in Mitcham, south London. On Monday, June 11, 2007 her father and her uncle were found guilty of killing her. Her father had ordered the killing, and his brother had carried it out. A shoelace was tied around Banaz's neck, strangling her. Her decomposing body was found in Handsworth, Birmingham, 70 miles away, on April 27 last year, three months after she had "disappeared".
Another man, Mohammed Marif Hama, who was not a relative but belonged to the Iraqi Kurdish community, pleaded guilty to murder on March 9 this year. Another member of the Iraqi Kurdish community, Pshtewan Hama, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. The reason for Banaz being killed was because she had a boyfriend, 28-year old Rahmat Suleimi, a Kurd from Iran.
After Banaz's father and uncle pleaded guilty, he said: "She was my present, my future, my hope. She was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn't ask for anything better than that. Banaz was the nicest and the sweetest person I have ever come across. She had the best personality. If you met Banaz once you would never forget about her. After I met Banaz she just changed me and I became a completely different person. She hated to argue with anyone, she hated to see anyone suffering from anything. She just wanted to help anyone. She wanted to be a happy person. She wanted to see everyone be happy."
He said of honor killings: "I just hope that one day this is going to stop and there is going to be a way out for people. I know it is too late for me and Banaz. If there's anyone out there in the same situation, do something about it before it's too late. Once it's too late, it's too late - you will never get your life back."
The convictions last week were the latest in a series of Muslim honor killings in Britain. Banaz and her boyfriend had been repeatedly threatened. Just three days before she officially "vanished", a group of men Kurdish men had tried to abduct Rahmat Suleimi in a car. Even though British police did not take Banaz's appeals seriously while she was alive, her death spurred a massive police inquiry. There were 47 searches of houses, 22 arrests, 779 statements were taken. Sixteen people were bailed to reappear before police. It is thought that several people who had been involved in the plot to kill the young woman had left the country.
In the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, where Banaz's family had come from, the regional prime minister promised a hard line against such killings this week. Neghervan Barzani said: "recently there have been horrendous crimes commited against women in some areas of Kurdistan. While we condemn these crimes, we also rebuke the government ministers and other bodies for not having applied suitable solutions to prevent such episodes reoccurring."
Barzani recommended that honor killing, classed in the penal code as a separate offense to murder, should be reclassified as "murder". Honor killing is viewed as a "justifiable homicide" and in many Muslim societies, it is not viewed as seriously as murder.
Over the past decade in Britain, there have been at least 25 confirmed honor killings in the Muslim community, but this is only the tip of an iceberg. The police have acknowledged shortcomings in their approach to Banaz's pleas for help, and this summer, the Association of Chief Police Officers is planning to launch an action plan on "honor violence".
After the conviction of Banaz' uncle and father, Diana Nammi of the London-based Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organization said of honor crimes: "We're seeing an increase around the world, due in part to the rise in Islamic fundamentalism."
In 2000, the United Nations announced that every year, 5,000 girls and women were killed in "honor crimes", though that figure may be a low estimate.
In the politically correct climate of Britain where 1.8 million Muslims live, the issue of honor killing has never been addressed seriously. Since the 1960s, communities of Muslims have evolved in Britain's inner cities, where integration and assimilation have not happened. Instead of attempting to integrate Muslim communities within the greater fabric of a British society, politicians have praised the values of multiculturalism. And in Britain's ghetto communities, separatism and segregation are the chosen aims of many. Arranged marriages are still the norm, particularly amongst Britain's Muslims of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origins. Such unions constantly import more people, who have little experience of Britain, who automatically become citizens of an increasingly segregated nation.
Honor killing is one aspect of Muslim society that perpetuates traditional customs which flourish in Kurdish Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most honor killings and acts of "honor violence" happen in Britain because a young woman (or man) has chosen to embark upon a relationship not sanctioned by their parents or peers. Sometimes merely becoming "too Western" is used as an excuse to kill. During the trial of her killers, it was stated that the family thought one of the "crimes" of Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha was to be "too Westernized".
familyTake the case of 49-year old Mohammed Riaz's family, who lived in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Riaz objected to the way his wife Caneze was bringing up their four daughters, Sayrah (16), Sophia (15), Alicia (10) and Hannah (3). An inquest hearing in February this year heard that friends and relatives claimed that the father was a "conservative" Muslim. He had planned for his children to undergo arranged marriages, but Caneze would not allow this. When the girls had been bought Western style clothing, Mohammed Riaz burned the garments.
On November 1 last year, while his wife and daughters slept, Riaz poured gasoline outside their bedrooms, across the hallway and down the stairs. He then set it alight. His wife and daughters were killed in the conflagration, yet Riaz was pulled out alive. He died two days later of 65% burns. Tragically, the only member of the family to survive was the son, 17-year old Adam. He was not in the house at the time as he was in hospital in Manchester, battling Ewings Sarcoma, a type of leukemia. Five weeks after his family had burned to death, Adam died.
Another young woman who was murdered for being too "Westernized" was Heshu Yones. Like the family of Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha, Heshu's family had arrived in Britain to escape the persecutions of Saddam Hussein in Kurdish Iraq. Heshu had become used to Western freedoms, and had developed a relationship with a Lebanese Christian man. On October 12, 2002, when she was only 16, Heshu's father murdered her in their home in Acton, west London. 47-year old Abdalla Yones chased her from room to room, stabbing her eleven times. The last blow was wielded with such ferocity that the tip of the blade broke off when it hit bone in her neck. Before this savage final blow had been dealt, Heshu had been held down over the bath and her throat was slit open. Heshu bled to death the bathroom floor, wedged between the bath and the toilet. When her body was discovered, the white handled knife was still sticking out of her throat.
Heshu's father was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 29, 2003. Det Insp Brent Hyatt, of the Metropolitan Police's Serious Crime Directorate said: "Abdalla Yones killed her to shield his so-called honour. A few months before her death, she had been taken to Kurdistan to be married off. But the marriage didn't take place because the groom's family discovered she was not a virgin. Abadalla brought Heshu back and decided to eliminate her. The family approved of the crime."
After his arrest, Heshu's father had tried to claim that he and his daughter had been attacked by al Qaeda operatives. During his trial Abdalla Yones had admitted killing for "honor", and said he would do it again. At the close of the trial, Judge Denison said: "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."
Shortly after the verdict, Amir Taheri wrote in the Times: "It is not an overstatement to say that in some cases Muslim women find themselves more threatened by male fanaticism in Britain and France than they do in Turkey and Iran."
In June 2004 British police announced that were embarking on a re-examination of older cases, some up to ten years old, to see if they were "honor killings". 52 cases from London and 65 cases from other locations in England and Wales were to be re-evaluated. A year later 22 cases had been fully examined, and 18 of these had been classed as "honor killings". After the Yones trial, campaigners had claimed that in 2002 alone, there had been 12 honor killings.
Samaira NazirThe way in which honor killings in Europe take place is horrific. Often young males in a family are chosen to kill the "offending" individual, as it is believed that they will receive a lighter sentence. On Saturday, April 23, 2005, neighbors in Abbotts Road in Southall, west London heard a commotion coming from a house owned by a family of Pakistani origin. Hearing a woman's screams, one neighbor had knocked on the house door. The 61-year old head of the family claimed that their 25-year old daughter Samaira was suffering epileptic fits.
Shortly after this, a witness had heard Samaira shouting: "You are not my mother any more," followed by "No! No! No!" At one stage, the front door opened, and Samaira Nazir appeared, covered in blood. Then a hand grabbed the young woman by her hair and dragged her, still screaming, into the house. The police were called. When they arrived, Samaira was found dead in the hallway. A trail of blood led from the door.
Her 30 year old brother Azhar Nazir and her 16-year old cousin were found to have bloodstains, and they were arrested. As he was taken away, Azhar Nazir said: "There had been a problem with my sister. She does not wish to have an arranged marriage. We only allow marriage within the family. My sister wanted to run away from the house and was stopped."
Samaira was bright and educated. She had gained a degree at Thames University, and had become a director at her brother's recruitment company, which provided staff for the Hilton hotel group. Samaira had fallen in love with an Afghan asylum seeker called Salman Mohammed, who had come to Britain smuggled inside a lorry in 2000. Salman had worked at a greengrocer's shop owned by Samaira's brother, but he was considered too "low caste" to be married into the family. Azhar Nizar had told him on the phone: "We can get you anywhere if you get married, even if you are not in this country."
Samaira had been taken to Pakistan in 2004, in an attempt to force her into an arranged marriage, but she had turned down all of her prospective husbands. The whole family appeared to be involved in planning the killing. When Samaira was stabbed to death with eighteen knife blows, Azhar's two daughters, aged two and four were present. They had become spattered with blood. Samaira's 16-year old cousin, who also stabbed her, had been led to believe she had been subjected to "witchcraft" by her Afghan boyfriend. On June 16, 2006 a jury at the Old Bailey found Samaira's cousin and brother guilty of murder. Samaira's mother was originally charged with murder, but these charges were dropped. Samaira's 61-year old father was arrested, but he claimed that he was unwell and was given bail. He fled to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with Britain.
Most victims of honor killings are female, but males are also killed. In November 2005 32-year old Waseem Afsar and 31-year old Nisar Khan were found guilty of murder. The case related to the killing of a man in July 1996 in Slough, Berkshire. 21-year old Ahmed Bashir had been discovered to have had a relationship with Waseem Afsar's sister, Nighat Afsar. The two men had attacked Bashir with a scimitar sword and a 10 inch knife. Bashir had forty stab wounds, mostly around his genitals.
Arash Ghorbani-Zarin was a young engineering student of Iranian extraction. He studied at Oxford Brookes University, and in 2003 he fell in love with Manna Begum, a girl from a Bangladeshi family. Manna's father, a waiter, had already arranged a marriage for her. When Manna's father found out about the relationship he banned her from seeing Arash, took away her mobile phone, and made her a prisoner in the family house. Manna tried suicide, and eventually escaped to live with an aunt. She became pregnant, and Arash intended to marry her. He gave up his studies to work in a toy shop, to be able to support his fiancee and their child. In November 2004, he had proudly shown his friends the ultrasound scans of the baby growing in the womb of his bride-to-be. He had invited them to the wedding. A week later, he was dead. His body was found on November 20, in his green Renault car, with 46 stab wounds.
On November 4, 2005 at Oxford Crown Court, Manna Begum's father, 44-year olf Chomar Ali, was found guilty, with his two sons. One of these sons had been only 15 at the time of the killing, and the other was 19. The elder son, Mujibar Rahman, said of his sister: "She acted contrary to religion and tradition by dating Arash. Instead of dating, she should have waited to have an arranged marriage."
The child which Manna was expecting was not allowed to live. After killing Arash, Chomar Ali forced his daughter to book into a Swiss abortion clinic, to have the pregnancy terminated. Manna was six months pregnant when the Clinicia Ginemedex terminated her unborn child. Even by European standards this abortion, which was not carried out for medical reasons, was illegal.
Perhaps the youngest victim of a British honor crime is six-year old Alisha Begum, whose family originally came from Bangladesh. Alisha was the youngest of 12 children. She lived at the family home in Perry Barr, Birmingham. On March 10, 2006, she was asleep on a bunk bed in an upstairs bedroom when two men poured gasoline through the front door and set it alight. The rest of the family managed to escape by jumping from an upstairs window. Little Alisha was trapped in the flames, and suffered 95% to 100% burns. She died the following day in Birmingham Children's Hospital.
In September 2006 two men were on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. These were Hussein Ahmad, a 26-year old dentist, and his associate 18-year old Daryll Tuzzio. Hussein AHmed had a sister, who had been having a relationship with 21-year old Abdul Hamid, Alisha's elder brother.
Prosecutor Adrian Redgrave said: "One hears of so-called honour killings though one may wonder how by any stretch of the imagination there can be any honour in what happened here, resulting in the death of a six-year-old child. Hussain and his associates knew that at the house there was not only Abdul Hamid, and he was the one they were trying to get at, but they knew full well that there was a whole family living there."
The prosecutor described the attack as "pure wickedness" which had been done to threaten Abdul Hamid for forming an "unauthorised relationship" with Hussein Ahmad's sister Meherun.
Surprisingly Hussein Ahmad, who had originally conceived the plot, was acquitted of murder, even though his brother and another friend were still wanted by the police. They were thought to have fled to Bangladesh. Darryl Tuzzio, who also had Bangladeshi origins, was found guilty of arson and murder on October 5, 2006. He was sentenced to eight years' jail on November 2.
These are just a few of the many cases on record of honor killings in Britain. In Part Two I will discuss such cases in other countries. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, where such killings frequently take place, there are also cases of horrific mutilations carried out in the name of "honor".
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Technorati Tags: England, UK, Islam, Muslim, Religion, Pakistan, Turkey