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Decoupling Honour Killings From Islam

Sep.23, 2009 in Islamophobia

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In the mind of the anti-Islam bigot the words honour killings and Islam go hand in hand. They are forever being linked and intertwined in western discourse whenever Islam is mentioned. In fact the topic of women’s rights and crimes related to “honour” are a favourite “hobby horse” of many a western wanna-be critic of Islam.

In reality Islam is as far removed from honour killings as Christianity or secularism. However one would never know that if the Islam critics are to be believed. Take for example this article written by an eminent Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, Phyllis Chesler:

“Seldom is domestic violence celebrated, even by its perpetrators. In the West, wife batterers are ostracized. Here, there is an important difference in honor crimes. Muslims who commit or assist in the commission of honor killings view these killings as heroic and even view the murder as the fulfillment of a religious obligation. A Turkish study of prisoners found no social stigma attached to honor murderers….While advocacy organizations such as CAIR denounce any link between honor killings and Islam, many sheikhs still preach that disobedient women should be punished. Few sheikhs condemn honor killings as anti-Islamic. Honor killings are not stigmatized.” {Source: The Phyllis Chesler Organisation}

Apart from the paragraph cited above I do not think Chesler provides any Islamic evidence whether that be Qur’anic or Prophetic advocating or justifying  honour killings.

The reality of the situation is that Islam does not advocate such heinous crimes. In fact as can be seen from the following Shariah court verdict Islam views such actions as murder:

“Close on the heels of three cases of suspected honour killings in the district, a Shariat Court here has ruled that such crimes should be treated as murder and are punishable under Islamic law.

“Islam does not permit illicit relationship, but killing a girl for this reason is a cold-blooded murder and is a serious offence under the Islamic law,” chairman of Shariyat Court Maulana Irfan Mufti Zulfikar said.” {Source: Islam And The West}

If Islam does not condone the murder of others due to loss of “honour” how can the spate of  such crimes be explained ? The answer to that question is one simple word, culture.


Killing a family member due to loss of honour has been a curse of eastern societies for thousands of years. Long before many of these societies had ever heard of the Qur’an or the Hadith social norms meant that murder was the resolution to any perceived lose of honour.

Pagan Arabs before Islam used to practice a form of female infanticide out of fear that the children may dishonour them. Here in lies the nub of this problem that backward cultural norms dictate that blood must be spilt in order that honour is preserved.  Islam does not advocate honour killings and in societies where such practices are found  honour killings are a curse not only on Muslims but non-Muslims. As the following news report from India shows this disease is present in a society not because of Islam but in spite of Islam:


The common link in all the cases from the video is culture rather than religion. This realisation does not sit well with the anti-Islam bigots. They are more happy when they can use honour killings to defame Islam. That is the unfortunate truth of the matter.

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