Get with the program or get out!
Friday, January 25, 2008
There is an
article here that I think bears repeating in full and to a larger audience than
just San Francisco. If you can take the time to read the whole thing I would
like to make a comment at the end.
Guest Post by Cinnamon Stillwell; San Francisco Chronicle.
the United States, Canada, and Europe, young Muslim women are being targeted for
violence. Lest it be thought hate crimes are to blame, it is, in fact, their
own relatives who are the perpetrators. So-called honor killings, whereby a
Muslim male family member, typically the father, murders his daughter in order
to defend the family’s honor, is a growing problem.
While statistics are notoriously hard to come by due to the private nature of
such crimes and the fact that very few are reported, the United Nations
Population Fund approximates that as many as 5,000 women are murdered in this
manner each year worldwide.
Undoubtedly that’s a low estimate, as reports from Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan and
the Palestinian territories, among other locales, are filtering in at an
alarming rate. Add to the list Germany, Sweden, other parts of Europe, the
United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, and it’s clear that young Muslim
women in the West are becoming increasingly vulnerable.
While fathers are commonly responsible for honor killings, they often act in
concert with their daughters’ brothers, uncles, and even female relatives. For
infringements upon a Muslim daughter’s “honor” constitute the greatest
humiliation possible to the religious and tribal tradition from which many such
immigrant families emerged.
Acts that demand “punishment” include refusing to wear a hijab (or headscarf),
having non-Muslim boyfriends or male friends of any origin, being sexually
active, rejecting arranged marriages, aggressively seeking employment and
education, and, more than anything else, attempting to assimilate into Western
Trying to balance a tightrope between the demands of competing and in some
cases incompatible cultures, young Muslim women in the West are caught between
two worlds. And all too often they pay the ultimate price. Indeed, two such
cases have rocked the United States and Canada in recent months, bringing the
specter of honor killings much closer to home.
On New Year’s Day, residents of Lewisville, Texas were shocked to hear about
the brutal murder of teenage sisters Sarah and Amina Said. The two were found
shot to death in a taxi after having made a last phone call to a police
dispatcher asking for help. The police immediately issued an arrest warrant for
the girls’ father, Egyptian-born cab driver Yaser Abdel Said, who remains at large
to this day.
A Muslim married to a Christian woman, the elder Said had a history of physical
and sexual abuse toward his daughters. This past Christmas, his wife, Patricia,
finally fled the state with the girls and set up residence in Tulsa, Okla., under
an assumed name.
Said’s violent and domineering behavior was apparently motivated by his concern
that, as the Dallas Morning News describes it, “Western culture was corrupting
the chastity of his daughters.”
Honor students and athletes at Lewisville High School, Sarah and Amina were the
quintessential American teenagers. Amina had been awarded a $20,000 college
scholarship and Sarah planned to study medicine. Photos of the two young women
demonstrate a vibrancy and attractiveness that undoubtedly induced fear in
their controlling father.
The emergence of non-Muslim boyfriends was the final straw.
Although the girls’ mother denied that Said was motivated by religion or
culture and their brother, Islam, claimed it was not an honor killing, all evidence
points to the contrary.
While, reportedly, the family was not terribly observant, Said, as described by
the Dallas Morning News, “often espoused his version of traditional Middle
Eastern values,” including marrying his then 15-year-old wife when he was 30,
threatening to take one of his daughters “back to Egypt and have her killed,”
where, as he put it, “it’s OK to do that … if you dishonor your family,” trying
to break up one of his daughters and her non-Muslim boyfriend, and threatening
to kill both his daughters on multiple occasions over disputes surrounding
their social lives.
Summing it all up, the sisters’ great-aunt Gail Gartrell stated unequivocally,
“This was an honor killing.”
The slayings of Sarah and Amina Said came on the heels of another apparent
honor killing, that of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez in Mississauga, Ontario, last
December. Aqsa was a vivacious and popular young woman whose attempts at a
normal, Western teenage social life angered her Pakistani father, Muhammad
Aqsa, who was opposed to wearing a hijab and sometimes changed her outfit once
she got to school, often clashed with her father and had left the family home a
week before the attack out of fear. But she eventually returned, only to be met
with strangulation at the hands of her own father. She died later in the
hospital and the elder Parvez, who initially called the police, was charged
with her murder. Aqsa’s 26-year-old brother, Waqas, was charged with
Like the Said sisters, Aqsa had long suffered abuse at the hands of her father,
reports of which were never adequately pursued by Canadian authorities. But
Aqsa’s friends saw trouble brewing and, according to the National Post, noted
that “she had been threatened by her strictly religious family before.”
According to one of them, Ebonie Mitchell, Aqsa held conflicting opinions with
her family on wearing a hijab.
As she put it, Aqsa “just wanted to dress like we do. Last year, she wore like
the Islamic stuff and everything, the hijab, and this year she’s all western.
She just wanted to look like everyone else.”
As another friend, Krista Garbhet, noted, “She just wanted to be herself;
honestly, she just wanted to show her beauty.” However, as Aqsa was to
discover, the latter desire can have dangerous consequences for young Muslim
women in the West.
In the wake of Parvez’s murder, one would hope for moral clarity from the
Canadian Muslim community. But with a few exceptions, the usual suspects issued
the usual apologetics.
Following Parvez’s funeral, an anti-violence vigil was held at the Mississauga
Civic Centre and organized by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic
Unfortunately, CAIR-CAN, like its American counterpart and the Cadaian Islamic
Congress,(CIC) is part of the problem, not the solution.
Working to further acceptance of Sharia (or Islamic) law in the United States
and Canada and trying to silence — either through accusations of
“Islamophobia,” libel lawsuits or boycotts — voices of criticism and reform,
CAIR’s agenda would seem to be working against the advancement of Muslim
Accordingly, representatives of other allegedly mainstream Muslim groups,
instead of taking the opportunity to address the scourge of honor killings,
downplayed the religious and cultural angle.
Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, claimed
that “The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic
violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to color or
creed,” while Sheikh Alaa El-Sayyed, imam of the Islamic Society of North
America in Mississauga, came to the following conclusion: “The bottom line is,
it’s a domestic violence issue.”
In contrast, Canadian Muslim reformer Irshad Manji, in addressing Aqsa Parvez’s
murder, put it like so:
Moderate Muslims have warned that we shouldn’t leap to conclusions. Who knows
what other dynamics infected her family, spout hijab-hooded mouthpieces on
Not once have I heard these upstanding Muslims say that whatever the ‘family
dynamics,’ killing is not a solution. Ever. How’s that for basic morality?
Similarly, Tarek Fatah, founder of the Canadian Muslim Congress, (CMC) labeled
Parvez’s murder “a blight on Islam.” “In my mind,” he added, “this was an honor
Until this kind of self-reflection and self-criticism become the norm in the
Muslim community, much-needed reform will remain elusive.
This includes addressing the root causes of honor killings and sanctioned
violence against Muslim women.
Although the Koran does not authorize honor killings, Quran 4:34 instructs men
to beat disobedient wives and send them to sleep in separate beds.
Then there are tribal leaders such as Jordanian Tarrad Fayiz, who tells
followers that “A woman is like an olive tree. When its branch catches
woodworm, it has to be chopped off so that society stays clean and pure.”
Op-eds such as the one in the Yemen Times earlier this month recommending
violence against women and clerics delivering sermons and speeches doing the
same further muddy the waters.
Also at question are the vagaries of the Arab honor/shame culture, in which
men’s “shame” (or that of the family or tribe) at the prospect of women’s
sullied “honor” (or chastity) must be avoided at all costs.
Honor killings are not, as the apologists would have us believe, simple acts of
domestic violence akin to those that take place in all communities. They are
specific to Muslim religion and culture and must be addressed as such if ever
honest debate about the matter is to ensue.
Regrettably, silence is the more typical reaction to these crimes. Fearful of
giving offense or being branded with the ubiquitous “Islamophobia” label, law
enforcement, journalists, social workers, government officials and, most of
all, Western feminists are allowing a grave threat to women’s rights go
The misguided purveyors of multiculturalism — an ideology that holds that all
cultures or religions are equivalent and none (save for the dominant, or
Western, culture) worthy of condemnation — have rendered the West incapable of
addressing evils where Third World cultures are to blame.
But the truth is Western culture offers the greatest boon to women’s rights and
must therefore be vigorously defended, even if that means stepping into the
realm of the politically incorrect.
Feminist groups such as the National Organization for Women, which put out an
occasional press release decrying honor killings, need to make combating this
practice as high a priority as defending choice and railing against “glass
ceilings.” Instead, it is a precious few who are telling it like it is when it
comes to the oppression of women in Muslim culture.
Ironically, many of them are on the right side of the political spectrum or,
like author, blogger and activist Phyllis Chesler, have been cast out of the
leftist-dominated feminist movement for speaking the uncomfortable truth.
As I have noted previously, the challenges posed by the Muslim world are the
next frontier for women’s rights and all those interested in advancing such
goals will have the occasion. It is up to every one of us to speak out where,
not only women’s, but human rights are in question. Young women’s lives are at
Now here is the
point I would like to make, ladies and gentlemen; Let's start with this quote
from the article...... Acts that demand “punishment” include refusing to wear a
hijab (or headscarf), having non-Muslim boyfriends or male friends of any
origin, being sexually active, rejecting arranged marriages, aggressively seeking
employment and education, and, more than anything else, attempting to
assimilate into Western culture.
If "Honor Killings" are a part of this problem it doesn't matter
whether it's from religious reasons, cultural reasons, domestic violence, anger
management, mental health issues, (nuts!) or tribal leaders such as Jordanian
Tarrad Fayiz, who tells followers that “A woman is like an olive tree. When its
branch catches woodworm, it has to be chopped off so that society stays clean
and pure.” No, my friends, it doesn't matter at all who or what is at fault,
what matters is "Attempting to assimilate into Western culture!"
So.....my point? Plain and simple! If you don't want to assimilate into Western
culture, WHY THE HELL DID YOU COME HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!
In North America there is a strong tradition of immigrants comming over from
far away lands and they have all assimilated, conformed and settled in to make
us what we are today. The Ukrainians, the Brits, the Irish, the Scotish, the
French, (sort of!) the Italians, the Spanish, the Africans, the Jamaicans, the
Spanish, the Russians the Orientals and anyone else you might want to name.
They have all become part of the North American mosaic with a
"minimum" of trouble and adjustment because they might come from
different cultures but still lived in the modern world.
This is a lesson that people who are staunch Muslims should heed! Bringing
seventh century religion and customs into twenty first century countries ain't
gonna work baby, no way!
Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the
mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site
Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com