Afghani mullah rapes ten-year-old girl; family wants to kill her

There is no explicit statement in the Qur’an (I don’t know about the hadith) urging or sanctioning “honor killings,” but it’s now become a feature of Islamic culture, and has been justified on religious grounds (in Jordan, attempts to strengthen laws against honor killing were opposed and turned back by Muslim leaders for religious reasons).

Virtually every case  (I’ll add here “that I know of”) of “honor killing” is done by Muslims, and is committed against women, either for being raped (the excuses here are that a raped woman must have been a temptress, provoking the uncontrollable lust of men, or that a raped woman is no longer a virgin and thus not a candidate for marriage), for consorting with an apostate, for having extramarital or premarital sex, and so on. Often young members of the family, like boys, are assigned to do the deed, with the idea that they’d get off easier if they were young.

Such women (men, of course, aren’t often the subject of honor killings) are killed in a sick and perverted attempt to restore “honor” to the family defiled by, say, having one of its daughters raped. One would think that if you have to restore honor through violence (something that I do not favor, of course), you’d kill the rapist, or at least men involved in such episodes. But that rarely happens. That’s because it’s women’s sexuality that is supposedly besmirched, not the male’s; and that cult of “purity” also comes from religion.

Now, in Afghanistan, which has become increasingly more radical and misogynistic since the ultrareligious Taliban has made gains, comes one of the most odious cases of incipient honor killing I’ve heard of.

As The New York Times reported on July 19, a ten-year-old girl, weighing just 40 pounds and prepubescent, was raped by a mullah (a religiously educated Muslim man, usually with high standing). His name is Mohammad Amin.

The rape was so violent that it nearly killed the girl. The mullah has confessed, but said that he thought the girl was 17 (yeah, that explains why she weighed 40 pounds and had no secondary sexual characteristics), and has offered to marry her.  The girl was placed in an shelter for women to protect her, as her family threatened to “honor” kill her. But, and the idiocy continues, now the police have taken the girl out of the shelter and returned her to her family.  Unless somebody intervenes, she’s doomed to die—for the “crime” of being raped by a much older man. One can’t even use the excuse that she “tempted” him.

Here are some facts (these are direct quotes from the Times). It’s unbelievable that people can behave this way:

  • The girl’s own testimony, and medical evidence, supported a rape so violent that it caused a fistula, or a break in the wall between the vagina and rectum, according to the police and the official bill of indictment. She bled so profusely after the attack that she was at one point in danger of losing her life because of a delay in getting medical care.

  • The case has broader repercussions. The head of the Women for Afghan Women shelter here where the girl took refuge, Dr. Hassina Sarwari, was at one point driven into hiding by death threats from the girl’s family and other mullahs, who sought to play down the crime by arguing the girl was much older than 10. One militia commander sent Dr. Sarwari threatening texts and an ultimatum to return the girl to her family. The doctor said she now wanted to flee Afghanistan.
  • Most of the anger in Kunduz has been focused not on the mullah but on the women’s activists and the shelter, which is one of seven operated across Afghanistan by W omen for Afghan Women, an Afghan-run charity that is heavily dependent on American aid, from both government and private donors.

    “People know this office as the Americans’ office,” Dr. Sarwari said. “They all think the shelter is an American shelter. There isn’t a single American here,” she said.

    “W.A.W. is not American-run,” said Manizha Naderi, its executive director. “Every single staff member is an Afghan. They are from the communities we work in. Our only concern is to make sure women and girls are protected and that they get justice.”

  • When Dr. Sarwari, who is a pediatrician, arrived to pick up the girl at the hospital, a crowd of village elders from Alti Gumbad, the girl’s home village on the outskirts of the city of Kunduz, were gathered outside the hospital; the girl’s brothers, father and uncle were among them. Inside, Dr. Sarwari encountered the girl’s aunt, who told her she had been ordered by her husband to sneak the girl out of the hospital and deliver her to the male relatives outside. “She said they wanted to take her and kill her, and dump her in the river,” Dr. Sarwari said.
  • In the hospital room, the doctor found the girl’s mother holding her child’s hand, and both were weeping. “My daughter, may dust and soil protect you now,” Dr. Sarwari quoted the mother as saying. “We will make you a bed of dust and soil. We will send you to the cemetery where you will be safe.”
  • Dr. Sarwari has accused prosecutors and religious officials of siding with the accused rapist and ignoring the child’s plight.

    “There are a lot of powerful people behind the mullah,” Dr. Sarwari said. The girl’s family knows they cannot do anything to Mr. Amin, she said, but “the girl is easy. They can get to her; she’s their daughter.” She said she feared the girl would either be killed, or forced to recant her accusations against the mullah.

    Women for Afghan Women arranged for the girl to get medical treatment, and after she healed, she was returned to the shelter in Kunduz, about two weeks ago, until the police returned her to her family last Tuesday. Those caring for the girl said she had been terribly homesick and wanted to return to her family, but no one had the heart to tell her they had been conspiring to kill her.

I don’t see any way that this girl’s life will be saved now that she’s in the hands of her family. The girl is doubly victimized: by a pedophilic imam who uses his position to rape a child, and by her family, who doesn’t care very much about the rapist iman, but really, really wants to kill their daughter. It makes me weep that people can be so bestial—so twisted—that they can do this. And blame religion, too, for this is an endemic trait of Islam, though it’s also sometimes seen in non-Islamic cultures (I’m having a hard time finding cases of honor killings not involving Muslims, but citing one or two won’t disprove the relationship).

The imam has been arrested, but he’ll likely either get off or get the usual very light sentence. All we can do is fight against the forms of religion that sanction this behavior, and donate to Women for Afghan Women.  Their numerous programs are described on the site, and this video shows some of the suffering inflicted on Afghan women:

You can donate here; I didn’t hesitate a second.



  1. GBJames
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Queue the “It’s not religion, it’s culture” crowd…

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but bacteria have more culture than these people.

    • david
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Why is it considered a cop-out to call it “culture?” It seems plausible to me that such practices existed long before the advent of Islam and were simply subsumed into Islam, when the societies looked for and found something in Islamic law that could be used as a pretense.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        So you’re saying that if Islam magically disappeared from the world, the number of honor killings wouldn’t decrease at all? Because that’s what you’re arguing when you say that Islam is merely an excused used for a culturally-based honor killings that still would have occurred otherwise.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          Islam, and of course Catholicism, have frozen into society cultural attitudes that existed 1400 or 2000 years ago. All religions are socially regressive, they are social deep freezers, or fossilisers. So these religions are directly responsible for the preservation of barbaric practices that existed 2000 or 1400 years ago.

          • Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

            Just to add: what explains the fact that female genital mutilation only exists in Muslim societies, in Africa and the Middle East (Kurds), and some ancient Christian sects in Egypt? —Religion.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

              It’s also the reason why nearly 60% of American male children have their genitals mutilated in their infancy, without their consent. Which is not to diminish at all the barbarism and misogyny of honor violence or female circumcision done to young women in the islamic world by comparison. (Anyone who has read Ayaan Hrsi Ali’s Infidel probably has her recollections of the circumcision of her, her sister and her brother indelibly stamped into their minds.) I merely want to point out that religious debasement of human sexuality, to the point where mutilating the bodies of infant boys and adolescent girls is normal, is pervasive.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

                I think it is different with girls. Girls are not supposed to feel sexual pleasure because that is dirty so they are mutilated so they cannot. Boys on the other hand are not expected to be so “chaste”.

              • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

                I agree with you wholeheartedly Diana that religious attitudes about gender roles and sexual purity represent, quite literally, the mother of all double standards.
                But, I completely disagree that the church has ever encouraged me or any other man I know to be unchaste. Yes, catholics sequestered unwed mothers in a den of indentured servitude and discarded their children as if they were disposable without so much as mentioning the men that got those women pregnant. But that doesn’t mean that heterosexual men don’t suffer from the effects of religious shame morality too. The fact that this shame-based morality is unarguably more harshly visited on women than it is in men isn’t going to make my foreskin grow back or change the fact that my penis is less sensitive because of it.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t say that the Church encouraged men to be unchaste or that men do not suffer at the hands of the church; I only mention the particular interest in the Church’s control of a woman’s sexuality. It is noteworthy that when women were martyred in the Middle Ages(i.e.: tortured to death), their torture took on a sexual nature that male torture did not. Pinker writes about this in his book. It is also remarkable that church-based curricula for sex ed, emphasizes that women must dress chastely (an Alberta schoolboard got busted for this recently) because boys will be boys. It seems the dark side of patriarchy and religion go hand in hand.

              • GBJames
                Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

                @bob… As one victim to another… while no genital mutilation is a good thing, these two types of genital mutilation don’t really compare.

              • Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink

                Interesting James. Although, I am compelled to ask, why? Why is genital mutilation less malignant when it is done to a defenseless male infant?

              • GBJames
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:04 am | Permalink

                Well, shop, I would think it would be self evident. But since the obvious isn’t apparently clear, let’s look the consequences, according to the UN. FSM often causes shock and hemorrhage. Tetanus or sepsis often occur and this may result in infertility. It produces an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

                Now, does that list equivalent to the harm from male circumcision?

                (Note… so as not to be misunderstood… I’m opposed to circumcision and while they did it to me I didn’t pass the honor on to my own son. But while I oppose both petty theft and murder I am able to recognize that the scale of the two crimes is different.)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

                Yes, all that and also FGM ruins a woman’s sexual pleasure. Reading the descriptions of it is horrifying. Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

                ….removal of all or part of the clitoris and clitoral hood; all or part of the clitoris and inner labia; and in its most severe form (infibulation) all or part of the inner and outer labia and the closure of the vagina. In this last procedure, which the WHO calls Type III FGM, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood, and the vagina is opened up for intercourse and childbirth. The health effects depend on the procedure but can include recurrent infections, chronic pain, cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth and fatal bleeding.

                Sex in this condition is most unpleasant and women mostly endure it as a duty to their husbands.

              • Posted July 24, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

                Okay. Your arguments are sound and I’m convinced. And you both are of course absolutely correct in pointing out that FGM, when done to an adolescent girl is a much greater psychological trauma. Its just that, in my subjective experience a member of the anti-circumcision movement, the opinion that male circumcision is “no big deal” and does not represent a violation is pervasive and often dismissively tossed in the direction of the movement like a wet dish rag. So, if I seem a bit combative on this issue it’s only because it is my goal to disabuse as many people of that opinion as I possibly can. But you guys, James and Diana are clearly on-point and I hope you didn’t read my comments as disrespectful as none was intended. This is by far and away the best, most thoughtful forum I’ve ever found on the internet and I have the utmost respect for all of the regular readers here. Thank you for your contributions to the discussion.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

              FGM predates Islam, but has been incorporated into the culture of Islam. To my knowledge it is heavily practiced in the Middle East, Western Asia, and Africa, but to my knowledge is not practiced in Eastern Asia, such as Bangladesh or Indonesia.

              In addition to Coptic Christians, the Ethiopian Beta Israel practiced it. Most likely the cultural practice of FGM became incorporated into the religion, spread with the religion, and then moved into the new cultures that surrounded the spread, where it could be taken up by other religious groups.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink


        • Dean
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          There have been some high-profile “honor” killings in the Indo-Canadian community, so it is definitely not exclusively an Islamic thing.

          Pinker, in Better Angels, writes at length about how cultures that are less concerned with ideas of personal honor are less violent. The fault with Islam is that, in honor-based cultures, it defines the virginity of your daughter as something from which you derive your honor. In that sense it is religiously motivated, but it doesn’t explain similar honor killings in India and its diaspora.

          Ultimately I believe that it is cultural. But in Islamic countries the culture is so interwoven with religion that the distinction becomes rather meaningless.

          • Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            Of course, religion in Islamic countries has high jacked culture and politics. As Christianism once did in Europe. Why did Allan Turing kill himself? Because English legal culture was still infused with religious ideas about sin, and still today UK religious “leaders” wearing “fish hats” (I like that expression) proclaim that homosexuality is sin, actions that result in homophobic legislation in several African countries, and even in the lynching of gay peopke.

            • Diane G.
              Posted July 28, 2014 at 12:45 am | Permalink

              “Fish hats”–I love that!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Whether religion stared the issue or not, it certainly enforces it in putting women in the role of property to be used as desired. Moreover, why do the Mullahs not call out such crimes? It is their religion which keeps people from moving beyond the horror.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink

              Moreover, why do the Mullahs not call out such crimes? It is their religion which keeps people from moving beyond the horror.

              Simple answer to that one : the mullahs in question don’t consider the honour killings that they see and sanction as being horrors ; they’re honourable and correct actions in the opinion of the society in which they occur.
              That it’s a horrific society is the problem. The mullahs are just a part of the society.

              • Scientifik
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:20 am | Permalink

                Islamic societies don’t work this way.

                If there’s anything that is in disagreement with the religion of Islam it is simply NOT a part of their society. Period.

              • Posted July 25, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

                The mullahs, in this context, aren’t simply part of islamic culture. They are the distributors of islamic culture.

              • Posted July 25, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

                Enforcers of Islam

          • Mark Sturtevant
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

            There are large Muslim populations in India, so that circumstance explains itself.
            I had thought that honor killings among Hindus had something to do with loss in value of the potential brides’ dowry, but to be sure I looked up an article on it and was surprised to learn that honor killings among Hindus (and Sikhs) are rampant in northern India, and seem to be carried out for pretty much the same reasons as they are among Muslims.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

              I knew an Indian girl in high school (either Sikh or Hindu) who was sent to India at 16 and married to an abusive man. She managed to escape & come back to Canada though.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:03 am | Permalink

              … which in itself suggests that the “honour killing” aspect of that region’s society pre-dates the successive partial replacement of the Hindu mish-mash of religions by Islam (about 1000CE, IIRC?) and then the development of the Sikh religion in the 16th-18th centuries (CE).
              Where’s my “Dictionary of Cladistics” … the “honour” killing characteristic is a synapomorphy across the different religions of this region, and it’s not a homoplasy across all regions to which Islam has spread (specific examples, N.America and Indonesia).

      • GBJames
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        It is a cop-out because religion plays a profound role in justifying and maintaining this kind of behavior. Religion is that part of culture that is all wrapped up in justifying actions based on the (presumed) demands of invisible beings which humans must obey. Allah’s law demands adulterers be stoned to death. You don’t want to cross Allah.

        To deny that religion is unrelated to such behavior is wacky.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        when the societies looked for and found something in Islamic law

        You’ve got one or more carts before the horses.

        Islam was a fabrication of a rather barbaric society. One of the main purposes of religions is to use the gods to lend authority to those who speak on their behalf — the gods never say anything other than what the priests want the gods to say. So the barbarity in Islam (and Christianity and…) is entirely a result of the desires of the original authors of the holy texts, and those authors were writing mostly if not solely to use the force of religion to enshrine their depraved desires into an untouchable realm.

        It wasn’t that people in ancient Arabia were looking for a justification for the nasty shit they were going to do anyway. It was that they manufactured an unquestionable justification for the nasty shit they were going to do anyway.

        How is this then the fault of religion? Well, again, the purpose of religion is to not only justify the nasty shit, but to perpetuate it (along with itself). There’s all sorts of powerful psychology at play in religion to ensure that people keep doing the nasty shit. How dare you question the will of the gods? Do you really think you’re more powerful than the gods, or that you’re wiser? How ungrateful you are to spit in the faces of the gods!

        Get rid of the religion, and the mechanisms for perpetuating the nasty shit leaves with it. Even if it was the culture that originally created the religion lo these many centuries ago, it’s now the religion that’s driving the culture (as was the original ancient intent), rather than the other way ’round.

        With religious justification — even if said justification has to be freshly invented — this kind of nasty shit can easily persist and even thrive. Without religious justification, it has to stand on its own merits, and won’t survive the attentions of even the most primitive popular (in the sense of, “of the people”) judicial system.


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Yes, well put. Religion is dogmatic by nature. It doesn’t change very quickly (though it can) and it because of that dogma, nasty things can be encoded, enshrined and perpetuated through religion.

        • Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:13 am | Permalink

          I’ve never had a Catholic apologist who could answer me when I’ve asked them whether they thought a non-religious company in the business of child care could survive the discovery of a systematic decades(centuries?)-long record of systematic cover-ups for child rape. And people still proudly admit to being members of the organization and have the audacity to claim that it is a source of objective morality!
          As you’ve so clearly explained, one of the principal purposes and attractions of religion is to serve as the ultimate ace-in-the-hole for its shamans, allowing them impunity in circumstances where, without the shield of religious special privilege, they would treated like the worst kind of criminals.
          Reading this post made me fell queasy, horrified, and deeply sad that I had to leave the page and do something else for a few hours before finishing it.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 24, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          This is exactly the way I see it too. These disgusting practices remain because of religion. They would have died out as society evolved otherwise. We still see many appalling attitudes within Christianity too but because most predominantly Christian societies are now also democratic and secular, priests who rape children, for example, are prosecuted when they are discovered despite (until very recently) their hierarchy protecting them.

  2. Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Can you get any sicker than this!?

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Indeed…this is even worse than the RCC. Amazing. Didn’t think that was possible in this day and age.


    • Scientifik
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      That’s what they call “objective morality”…..

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Indeed. I’d like to see what Eric MacDonald has to say about this as an “objective” truth. After all, millions of people think it is.

        • KP
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          I’d also like to hear what David Bentley Hart has to say about “Being” and “Bliss” and how honor killings “awaken one to something magnificently strange about these transcendental orientations of the mind.”

          • darrelle
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            I am sure Reza Aslan would be happy, compelled even, to explain just how profoundly mistaken anyone who thinks religion is a major factor in this kind of behavior, really is.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

              I wonder if we could get theists like Aslan or D’Souza to jettison their anti-gay doctrine, because, obviously, all those condemnations to death you find in the Koran and the Bible have nothing to do with religion!

              • darrelle
                Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

                Remember now, it’s all just metaphor. You have to think sophisticated. Or is it sophistry? When it comes to religion I can’t keep those two straight.

              • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

                The sophisticated sophistrists can’t keep it straight, either.


      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        And theists try to argue that a rigid, objective morality is superior.

        No way. I want a revisable morality. Thank goodness morality in fact is revisable, despite the protestations of theists. If only we could get them to join us more quickly in revising it, and with fewer casualties along the way.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Regardless of the causes, their society is characterized by emotional callousness. Even people without strong psychopathic traits will become situational ones in such an environment and exhibit lack of remorse and conscience.

      Ayaan Hirsi Ali escaped as this often heartbreaking kind of rupture is the only option. To think the Dutch government took back her citizenship because she lied. I would have done a lot worse to get the hell out of where she got out of.

      • M'thew
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        To think the Dutch government took back her citizenship because she lied.

        There was a lot of discussion in Dutch political circles when it emerged that she was officially called “Ayaan Hirsi Magan”, but had used her great-grandfather’s name when applying for citizenship (according to Somalian law this is apparently allowed).

        Her Dutch citizenship, however, was not revoked, although that might still have been justified by the fact that she supplied an incorrect date of birth on her application.

        • Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:39 am | Permalink

          Mostly true. According to her book “Infidel,” it was revoked by Rita van Donk but then Hirsi Ali was given an appeal, and her citizenship was ultimately reinstated. By that time, though, she’d decided to leave the Netherlands and move to the U.S.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:06 am | Permalink

      The sound of a gauntlet being thrown to the ground.
      Don’t worry, someone will pick it up and come up with an even worse depravity. And it’ll be justified by religion.

  3. Jason
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I am the father of a 2 and a half year old daughter. Anyone in my knows how special this time is. Watching her grow and learn and seeing their personality come to life is an amazing time. Reading the details of the horror this young girl must be facing actually made me cry. Wiping away the tears as I write this and thinking about my own daughter it’s unfathomable that parents could treat their daughter this way. I need to go for a walk to clear my head.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Agreed 100%. 😦

    • The Militant One
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      There are few more illustrative examples of the truism that “religion poisons everything”.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t know how a people can desire to kill their own children. I don’t understand how they get to that place. I guess it’s a case of “with god (read: brainwashing), anything is possible.”

      • camelspit
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Their brain’s flow-chart never gets to the “evaluate if this is a good idea or not” step, because they get stuck at the “is this God’s will?” step. If a decision involves a choice between “obey God” and “disobey God”, it becomes literally a no-brainer.
        Belief in the inerrancy of a book, or in what one has been told a book one can’t read contains, results in actions that are incomprehensible to those who have never been similarly brainwashed.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t know how people can desire to kill their own children. I don’t understand how they get to that place. I guess it’s a matter of “with god (read: brainwashing), anything is possible.

  4. Sarah
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Most parents take it as a given and a matter of pride that they offer unconditional love and support to their children. (There are exceptions but that is the ideal.) But if you were an Afghan girl you would have to learn that this love was very conditional indeed, and the same person who cuddled you at one time could decided to murder you at another time! I can’t imagine what that knowledge alone would do to a person! (And ditto, a boy who knows that at some point he could be ordered to kill his sister!) What kind of depravity is that?

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Of course, in the story of Abraham and Isaac, we find the original notion that there are honorable reasons to kill one’s family member. The sophisticated theologians, and to be fair, the vast majority of Christians will say that this story means we should be willing to do anything for God but he won’t literally ask us to kill someone. This sort of thinking is absent in too any Islamic cultures and orders to kill are anything but metaphorical.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:23 am | Permalink

        the vast majority of Christians will say that this story means we should be willing to do anything for God but he won’t literally ask us to kill someone.

        You can say this in the centenary year of the start of World War 1?
        “God is on our side,” is one of the standard lies told to every army from the Greeks going to Troy (remember Iphigenia?) to the next troop of $Nationality$ soldiers or drone pilots to start a patrol in (over) Afghanistan.
        Actually, looking at that Wikipedia article, I notice that the “Classical” art used to illustrate it is from a 17th century Frenchman who seems to have had an unhealthy interest in blindfolding well-stacked dames. No doubt he was a good Christian in his time, and painting for a patron with an interest in blindfolding well-stacked dames. So, no hint of mysogynistic torture in that Christian society.
        [Stage whisper to Cotton Mather : throw another witch on the fire, mate, it’s getting hot in here.]

        • Posted July 25, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

          I don’t think we have much of a disagreement, if any, here. Though, I will thank you for pointing out the carelessness of my wording. I shouldn’t have said “kill someone.” I should’ve said “kill a family member.” To be sure, this is exceedingly rare in modern Christianity, whereas it is unfortunately all too common in Islam.

          No doubt, Christians justify violence on a routine basis including every war America has ever fought by citing “God’s will.” Hell, with Bush thinking Gog and Magog were on the lose in Iraq, it’s pretty clear Christian justification for wars isn’t going anywhere. But, this is a prime example of what I meant when I said they use Abraham and Isaac as justification for other things and not to think that one should literally kill an innocent son.

  5. Tulse
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Virtually every case of “honor killing” is done by Muslims

    This isn’t the case, Jerry — these kind of murders are also very prevalent in the Hindu and Sikh communities in East Asia. These sorts of crimes really are influenced by culture, and are not solely a religious feature (to the extent that one can separate religion and culture in these regions).

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Did you read all the way to the end of my piece? For it also includes this:

      And blame religion, too, for this is an endemic trait of Islam, though it’s also sometimes seen in non-Islamic cultures

      I didn’t say they were solely a religious feature, but I do maintain that religion is an important factor, and that Islam encourages them more than, say, Sikhism or Hinduism. And remember for many Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, religion IS the culture. Let me back up, then and say “virtually every case of honor killing that I’ve heard of” is committed by Muslims.

      Here is information I got from one site:

      In recent years honor killing has been committed in several countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Germany, Brazil, Jordon, Uganda, Morocco, Ecuador and Palestine. Cases of honor killing have also been reported within Sikh and Muslim communities in United States and Europe.

      According to a report submitted to United States Commission on Human Rights 2002 it has been stated that in Jordon and Syria, law can be interpreted as allowing male relatives to kill the female relatives under honor killing. Morocco and Hiatus allows men to kill their wives only. In Pakistan honor killing is considered a crime but is still practiced on a large scale and is usually ignored by the local police.

      The UN statistics for 1997 show that more than 1000 women were murdered in Pakistan in name of honor killings. 400 were killed in Yemen, 52 in Egypt and about 30 in Jordan.

      Pakistan has a highest record of honor crimes. Human rights activists estimated that about 3 women are killed everyday. Just 1% of perpetrators are punished. Mostly the punishment is of six months imprisonmen

      This article on Hindu vs. Muslim honor killings, by a woman psychology professor, is also worth reading. It contains these bits:

      Although the overwhelming majority of honor killings worldwide occur within Muslim communities,[1] one would not know this by reading the mainstream media. Fearful of being labeled “Islamophobic,” the American press has given only glancing attention to the widespread, honor-related ritual murder of Muslim women in the Middle East and South Asia while treating periodic honor killings among Muslim immigrants in the West as ordinary domestic abuse cases.

      . . . Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Hindu honor killings is the fact that Indians abandon the horrific practice when they migrate to the West whereas many Pakistani Muslims carry it with them. Part of the explanation may lie in their different patterns of acculturation upon immigrating to the West.

      . . . Due in part to the spread of radical Islamist ideology, Muslim immigrants in the West are either radicalized or socialize predominantly within Muslim-only communities, and their conception of honor reflects this. Even affluent young women of Pakistani descent in the West can face the credible threat of death or severe bodily harm.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        While there is indeed a history of Hindu & Sikh honor killing, historically Hindus & Sikhs who have emigrated to the West have NOT taken that practice with them into Europe!!! Virtually all honor killings in !*European*! countries from Sweden to Greece are done by Muslim families (most often Pakistani)!!!

        There is a provision in Sharia law for the stoning of those who have sex outside of marriage, and in the Koran the confinement of “guilty women” to their home until death takes them or Allah finds another way. (Qur’an 4:15)

        It’s hard for some to acknowledge this. According to Wikipedia (article on “Honor Killings”)
        “Widney Brown, the advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said that the practice ‘goes across cultures and across religions’. Human rights advocates have compared “honor killing” to “crimes of passion” in Latin America (which are sometimes treated extremely leniently) and also to the killing of women for lack of dowry in India.”
        but this seems to me to be a bit of a head-in-the-sand attitude that ignores the spike in the statistics of Islam-related killings in Western countries.

        WPedia further states “Tahira Shaid Khan, a professor of women’s issues at Aga Khan University, notes that there is nothing in the Qur’an that permits or sanctions honor killings” but there IS stoning for adultery, so isn’t that a step in that direction, even if it is not called by that name?

        Likewise, the Canadian Department of Justice’s report denied there is a religious factor,
        but I can’t help but wonder if this is being stated as a matter of political expediency.

        I knew several liberals in the 1980s who had a hard time acknowledging how toxic the influence of fundamentalism on American political life was out of deference to religion. Most of them have now changed their tune.

      • Tulse
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Let me back up, then and say “virtually every case of honor killing that I’ve heard of” is committed by Muslims.

        Right, but that may be in part because of the sources you notice. While stats are limited, the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network says that there about 5000 honor killings worldwide, and about 1000 of those are in India. (Of course, not all Indian honor killings are committed by Hindus, but a large proportion seem to be.)

        So I think it is more accurate to say that “the majority of honor killings are committed by Muslims”. Misogyny is a part of various religions, and many implicitly or explicit support violence against and murder of women. The largest problem in terms of overall numbers does appear to be Islam, but it is not unique.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          I don’t want to get into this discussion, but one question: when you say “a large majority of them seem to be,” do you have actually data or are you just pulling that out of your nether parts? Remember there are a fair number of Muslims in northern India.

          Let’s have your data, or are you going on faith?

          • Tulse
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            You’re absolutely right that we should be discussing objective data, but that was kind of my point regarding your initial claim. The source you linked to earlier, Hindu vs. Muslim Honor Killings, notes that Hindu honor killings are not uncommon, but unfortunately does not give direct statistics, so you’re correct that I don’t have firm numbers. I will also acknowledge, as the authors of that article do, that Hindu honor killings differ from Muslim killings, in that they are often about caste violations and other sociocultural factors that don’t typically apply in Muslim countries.

            But regardless of our disagreement over a minor statistical matter, I don’t think it undercuts your main point that these kind of murders are primarily seen in predominately Muslim cultures, and that Islam is at the very least a major contributing factor. On that we can both agree.

          • Tulse
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            And just to follow up, I did find some hard data that may support Jerry’s position:

            Although Sikhs and Hindus do sometimes commit such murders, honor killings, both worldwide and in the West, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. In this study, worldwide, 91 percent of perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, most killers (84 percent) were Muslims, with only a few Sikhs and even fewer Hindus perpetrating honor killings; in Europe, Muslims comprised an even larger majority at 96 percent while Sikhs were a tiny percentage. In Muslim countries, obviously almost all the perpetrators were Muslims. With only two exceptions, the victims were all members of the same religious group as their murderers.

            I’m a bit dubious about the methodology here:

            The information was obtained from the English-language media around the world with one exception. There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe. There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world.

            I’m not sure that looking at English-language media is likely be all that accurate, and the study seems to vastly over-represent Western honor killings. But it’s the only hard numbers we seem to have, and I think it can be fairly represented as saying that Muslims commit the vast majority of honor killings, although not exclusively. (Perhaps I’m too Canadian, but I think that puts the objective data somewhere between Jerry’s and my initial positions.)

    • Scientifik
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      “These sorts of crimes really are influenced by culture”

      Can you name one secular culture in which “honor killings” are accepted?

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        He’s trying to exculpate Islam, not religion, I believe.

        • Tulse
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Jerry, I’m not at all trying to “exculpate” Islam. I was merely pointing out that the practice of honor killing is not limited to Islam, and thus it is not a feature particular to that religious belief, but also occurs in other religious communities.

          • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            I SAID that. Read the first line of my response above. I’ll repeat it:

            And blame religion, too, for this is an endemic trait of Islam, though it’s also sometimes seen in non-Islamic cultures. .

            • Tulse
              Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

              Jerry, I apologize if you’ve taken my comments more heatedly than I intended. I agree with all your general points, including the culpability of Islamic beliefs in the prevalence of honor killings in Islamic cultures (including those in the West, as we’ve witnessed in my hometown of Toronto). My sole objection was the original rather absolutist statement that “Virtually every case of “honor killing” is done by Muslims”. My point was simply that while it’s true the large majority are, it’s overstating to say that “virtually every” case is. There was no larger point I was trying to make, and I most certainly was not trying to defend Islam or reduce the role of religion as a whole.

          • TJR
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            We all know that such crimes occur in many primitive cultures.

            We all know that they are especially prevalent in islamic cultures.

            (If you dislike the term “primitive cultures”, I would argue that anywhere this is regarded as even vaguely acceptable is by definition a primitive culture).

    • Slumbery
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I apologise for nit-picking, but India is not East Asia by any possible definition of that region. It is either West or South Asia, but definitely not East.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink

        In my home town – with a very high proportion by British standards of Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Indians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and even Christians (yes, Pakistani families of Christian tradition ; they do exist) – we used the geographical term “the sub-continent”, referring to the area bounded by the Indus, Bhramaputra and Himalaya/ Karakorum. Not quite precise, but closer than any other group term we could think of. I can’t recall any Nepalis or Bhutanis in town though.

  6. darrelle
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Allah is merciful.

    Unless you are a 10 year old girl.
    And unless . . . ad infinitum ad nauseam

    The mullah is a liar. Their religion and culture has made the lot of them unfit for any kind of society I would care to live in. I feel for those embedded in cultures like this that are aware of how barbaric it is.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      The choices these people are making are relevant when defining who they are. These actions are barbaric. I conclude that the actions are mostly, if not exclusively (direct and indirect) due to religion, namely Islam, in this case. Their culture is imbued with religion from head to toe. For women this is physically true.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I distinctly remember being 10. The horrors this girl would have gone through only to be told it was all her fault & now she must die. I wish they could all come to civilized countries where they would be protected & given the chance to heal & live better lives.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed. But please leave the menfolk back home.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        You beat me to it, Darrelle.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Yes, when I hear of that happening here, I think that if they are in Canada, as painful as it is to leave your community, at least the law protects you and they can find people who are kind to them.

      • Kevin
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I agree. Adult males in those groups are unlikely to have a meaningful transition in western society. I am definitely not for prisons, but segregating these males from the rest of humanity is possibly the only solution. Allow them to live out their lives in some part of their country, but not allowed to leave that part of the country. Until they peacefully vanish from our species.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          The Gate to Women’s Country.

          • Grania Devine
            Posted July 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Great book.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

          Until they peacefully vanish from our species.

          Isn’t there a continuing war going on in Afghanistan which would indicate how peacefully they’d vanish.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      And consider that she probably was not allowed to go to school and learn to read.

  8. Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Donated. This is infuriating.

  9. Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Nothing quite like the obscene irony of retributive justice sought out by the rapist.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      the obscene irony of retributive justice sought out by the rapist

      and to think that the tee-shirt that leapt out the wardrobe into my hands this morning was my “Jesus’n’Mo” “not provoking my uncontrollable lust” tee.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Those caring for the girl said she had been terribly homesick and wanted to return to her family, but no one had the heart to tell her they had been conspiring to kill her.

    Sigh. Quadruply betrayed to the very last, by religious leaders, village, family and caretakers, because she was a female and a minor. [/goes off to read Pinker on the lessening of violence over time, in need to keep that flame burning]

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      To the very last?
      Upthread I replied to Merrilee comment @ 2.
      I for one wouldn’t be surprised if the grave diggers or cemetery officials refuse to allow her corpse to be buried in “consecrated” ground.
      That would be about down to normal standards.

  11. Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    So good to know that we have religion to tell us how to act! Imagine what a place the world would be if man were left to natural selection for morals and mores. Yes. That’s sarcasm.

  12. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Among the many astonishing things in this example is that the family of this girl, their community, and a good % of the population in Afghanistan, consider honor killing to be the only moral option for them when little a girl has the temerity to survive her rape.

  13. Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s a terrible vicious circle 😦

    I must point out that the term “Afghani” refers to the unit of Afghan currency. It is often improperly used for a person or thing related to Afghanistan. The correct demonym for someone from Afghanistan is “Afghan”. As an adjective, the word Afghan also means “of or relating to Afghanistan or its people, language, or culture”.

  14. colnago80
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an example of a high ranking mullah endorsing pedophilia (and they don’t get much higher ranking than the late and unlamented Ayatollah Khomeini.

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Randall Munroe to the rescue:


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha! That’s a perfect response Jerry could use.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          I have a hunch that squirrel is going to find a long-lived spot in our culture….


  15. Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to mention that honour killings were quite frequent in some Catholic countries such as Italy (especially Sicily) and Spain, as well as in Orthodox Greece. See for example, as well as In general, it is important to know that honour killings are by no means limited to Muslim countries or people of the Muslim faith. See

    • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and it’s important to remember that lung cancer is by no means limited to smokers. Look at the statistics adduced above, okay? THe vast bulk of honor killings are done by Muslims.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, but that is because there are over one billion Muslims in the world, and the Catholic countries fairly recently made laws against honour killings in their own cultures. I just wanted to point out that these killings are not exclusively done by Muslims. In my childhood they still existed in Sicily.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

          I already said they weren’t done exclusively by Muslims; did you read that? And I doubt that Italian “honor killings” involved killing ten year old girls who were raped.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:05 am | Permalink

            I read and heard what you said. A significant number of commenters seem to have missed the nuances though and gone off on anti-Islam tirades. Now, there are sufficient grounds for anti-Islam tirades, but adding the incorrect implication that honour killing is an Islamic phenomenon is just leaving wriggle room for later apologists.
            Where’s that cat thing I was going to drop into your inbox? Found it. Incoming!

            • Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:24 am | Permalink

              This is unfair; the assertion is that Islam enables and perpetuates honor killings, and I don’t think anybody can deny that. It’s like saying that because a rabbi will occasionally molest one of his congregation, that child rape by religious authority figures is “not a Catholic phenomenon.” Indeed it’s not, but the Catholic church has abetted it and failed to discourage it.

              NOBODY has said that honor killing is purely an Islamic phenomenon, but I maintain that it is almost entirely an Islamic phenomenon in today’s world, aided and abetted by the view of sexuality and misogyny embodied in sharia law.

              It is as if one said, “Smoking causes lung cancer,” and somebody comes in and pipes up, “You are missing the nuances of the phenomenon: some people who get lung cancer are not smokers, and some smokers don’t get lung cancer.” The point of that, as I believe your point is above, is to distract from the forest of evidence by pointing to a few miscreant trees. This kind of call for “nuance” is what the tobacco industry used to do to fight the anti-smoking campaign.

              Without Islam we’d have far fewer honor killings than we do, and without religion as a whole there would probably be almost none.

              Whenever I hear the word “nuance.” I bridle. That’s the word that accommodationists and Sophisticated Theologians use when they want to tell us that there’s some truth in religion. It’s a way to obscure a larger and important phenomenon by pointing at the outliers, trying to distract our attention.

              Frankly, if I did a post on how pedophilia is enabled by Roman Catholicism, I doubt I’d get comments like “Yes, but Muslim and Jewish clerics can be pedophiles, too. You’ve missed the NUANCE!” It’s only when Islam is responsible for bad acts that one suddenly starts talking about “culture.” As if Islamic law and its denigrating view of women were not deeply embedded in that “culture”! This is simply a way to give Islam a pass.

              Nuance, indeed! Do you think there’s no relevance to this discussion that Muhammad married a six-year-old girl and consummated that marriage when she was nine? Or that has had no influence on the preponderance of Muslims taking prepubescent brides and of older men raping younger women?

              People who are harping on “nuance” here, and making a big deal of the exceptions, need to read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

                Yes. There are too many who end up defending Islam because they’re so busy trying to be fair and liberal, they forget about liberalism. Bill Maher made this point recently. Islam is a blight on humanity, and whatever their origins, perpetuates practices like honour (I speak English, not American) killings.

              • Hypatias Daughter
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

                Several years ago, Saudi Arabia tried to pass a “minimum age of marriage” law. I saw an interview with someone who was against the law because….setting the age of marriage at a “reasonable” age, like 17 or even 13, would be a statement that Mohammed was wrong for marrying a 6 year old.
                That was his only reason.
                He looked mighty uncomfortable during the interview – like a decent man who knew that permitting sex with child wives was inhumane but was forced into his position because one cannot offend Mohammed’s reputation. (Mohammed was merely a man and not a god but apparently was more infallible than the Pope.)

              • Posted July 25, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

                I will grant the man one point: the Pope and Mohammed are most certainly equally infallible.

    • Scientifik
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      “The extent of cultures following the ‘honour ethic’ is more geographical than ideological”

      Maybe a geologist could help solve the problem then?!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        Sharpening my hammer! The knee-capping end.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Your first two links goes to systematic domestic violence and responses to infidelity. “‘Honour’ crimes are domestic abuse, plain and simple”.

      What evidence do we have that they are based on “[dis]honor culture” re rape? None.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        I respectfully disagree. Excerpt from my first link whose article is titled “Loyola history professor wins Fulbright to study Italy’s honor killing law”:

        “Under the law, when you found your wife ‘in flagrante’ you could kill her, and the other man too, and receive grossly mitigated penalties,” said Hughes. “Your likelihood of getting a year in jail was pretty thin.”


        His research will be the first historical study of delitto d’onore theory, legislation, and practice in modern Italy. The penalties for violence against female family members for sexual – or supposed sexual – transgressions were weakened in the early 1800s, and the law gradually became wider in its application from Napoleonic Code to Fascist regimes in the 1930s. Women could kill an erring husband; past affairs or discovered love letters also became delitto d’onore fodder.

        Surprisingly, the law was on the books in Italy until 1981. Hughes will examine how the legal concept was finally abolished, with an eye on current problems of honor killings in other parts of the world.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          Did Italians kill ten year old girls who were raped? Did they kill women who were seen with non-Italian males, or who dressed too “provocatively”? You are talking about adultery, and trying to analogize that to the kind of honor killings that are happening in Muslim societies today. I don’t see what your point is, except in the end to say “everyone did it, including Italians.” And that’s just wrong.

    • nicky
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Just to trow in my five cents.
      I really do not know if this is actually causal, but *all* the areas where we see ‘honour murder’ (not killing, let us call the beast by its name) are areas that are Islamic or were once under a Muslim yoke: Spain, Sicily, the Balkans, India (the subcontinent)…. and the areas in India that were not under the Muslim yoke such as eg Kerala, do not have ‘honour murder’ (if I’m not mistaken).
      Look, I often disagree with Jerry (eg. on Weetabix -but not on cherries!-, or the lack of ambiguity about cats, not to mention boots), but here I think he is spot on and I can endorse him 100%.
      Culture schmulture. Islam is a pervasive and obnoxious force here. How can one separate Islamic culture from Islamic religion?

      True, honour murders are found in stratified patriarchal societies, where women (ic. girls) can marry ‘upwards’. Of course only if their reproduction is guaranteed for the richer/more powerful male, which means virginity. Now isn’t Islam promoting just such a society more than any other religion?

  16. Bernie
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    And since bacteria are not mentioned in the Koran, dumping the body into the river to complete the dishonor of the victim and thus restore the honor of the dishonored is ok too.

    Never mind that THAT could kill somebody down river, most likely a child whose immune system isn’t up to snuff yet.

  17. Mark R.
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Donated. Reading horrors like this unbelievable cruelty leaves me feeling so impotent.

  18. Keith Cook
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    The mullah is a paedophile and a rapist.

    It is surprising that they (mullahs and the like)don’t do more of it since they get off with a slap with a wet bus ticket.
    Or better still, acquire a young child wife to show that they really are an honourable paedophile rapist.
    Honour killing? it is no such thing, it is murder.
    We can dress this any number of ways but like all here, I have scant regard for any moral system that condones murder and views rape as the victims instigation and desire.

    Our evolutionary past may have had selective pressure for infanticide and this I can understands i.e. letting a weaker child die in favour of the fitter in times of little resource availability.

    But this is not in the same league. A child has been violated for the sexual mores of a mullah and for this she could die.
    We truly have a long way to go.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:09 am | Permalink

      The mullah is a paedophile and a rapist.

      In the society in which they live, those are probably not insults.

  19. Blue
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


    Yet again one more time, no other words have I.


  20. Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Jolly Feminist and commented:
    A ten year-old girl is raped by a mullah and her family wants to kill the girl to save their honor. What do you think is the cause of these cultural norms in Afghan society? Is it culture, religion, education, or poverty? Or all of the above. What do you think the U.S. can do to stem the tied of honor killings? Or do you think the U.S. should be involved at all.

  21. krzysztof1
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Steve Pinker has quite a lot to say about “honor” early his most excellent book The Better Angels of Our Human Nature, which I am currently reading!

  22. Golkarian
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a verifiable example but Deuteronomy 22:23-24 seems to have a similar precedent (and if no law is found in the Qur’an it might be the origin of this tradition).

  23. Scientifik
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Those who somehow convinced themselves that the entire nightmare the little girl went through was part of a “culture” in no way embraced or condoned by Muslims should read this part of the article:

    “After the two women’s officials began speaking out about the case, they started receiving threatening calls from mullahs — some of them Taliban, others on the government side …”

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      I did read that. That’s the sort of response that I’d have expected form their culture.
      Similarly, when Mormon paedophiles have “married” off to excessively young girls, their culture has attacked the people trying to expose these crimes. Are you going to blame that on Islam too, or on religion in general (“poisoner of all it touches”, as Hitch said)?

      • Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:44 am | Permalink

        Yes, I blame it on Mormonism, which, through Brigham young and his successors, has made multiple marriages of young women part of the religion. It came in through religion. Do you want to tell me what part of American “culture” sanctions polygamy and child brides. For the Mormons came from non-Mormons immersed in regular American culture.

        It’s interesting how you manage to blame the threats, which came from RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES, on the culture. Jebus!

      • Scientifik
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        “I did read that. That’s the sort of response that I’d have expected form their culture.”

        This wasn’t a response of their “elusive culture” for crying out loud, but the response of mullahs! They are not allowed to have any culture of their own that goes against Islam!

  24. Emerson
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Yes, there is no explicit statement in the Qur’an urging or sanctioning “honor killings”, but some of them can be said to encourage/incite them:
    Quran- 4:15 “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witness from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them. Or God ordain for them some (other) way.”
    Quran-24:2 “The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication—flog each of them with hundred stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the last day.”
    As to the hadiths, they are very explicit regarding this:
    Man stoning:
    Sahi Bukhari: 8:6814:
    Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari: “A man from the tribe of Bani Aslam came to Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] and informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse; and he bore witness four times against himself. Allah’s Messenger ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married person.” (see also Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 63, Number 196)
    Women stoning: Sahi Muslim No. 4206:
    “A woman came to the prophet and asked for purification by seeking punishment. He told her to go away and seek God’s forgiveness. She persisted four times and admitted she was pregnant. He told her to wait until she had given birth. Then he said that the Muslim community should wait until she had weaned her child. When the day arrived for the child to take solid food, Muhammad handed the child over to the community. And when he had given command over her and she was put in a hole up to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on her face he cursed her.”
    Finally one can consider this speach:
    Al Skudsi bin Hookah , (roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera.):
    “I am very unhappy. Our way of life is under attack. And we are not fighting back. Deep down, we know that when a woman has disgraced her family, nothing will restore honor except by killing her. This is understood in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, the Gaza strip and the West Bank. So why are we Arabs telling the Western press that honor killing is cultural, that it is not really part of Islam? Our way of life is based on maintaining our honor. And make no mistake about it: a woman does tarnish her family’s honor by engaging in pre-marital sex, or by getting herself raped, when she seeks divorce and when she marries against her family’s wishes. And keeping our women pure is a big part of our honor. So there’s no point saying honor killing isn’t really part of our religion. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor.” (Honor killing-maintaining family honor: by Al Skudsi bin Hookah, roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera. Jan 20, 2003)

  25. Michael
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I’m not an expert (at anything at all) but I feel the need to point out there have been Sikh honor killings, both in India and abroad, including my country of Canada. There have also been Hindu honor killings.

    This seems to be a matter of cultures where the men have dominance over the women and have traditionally treated women (and girls) as little more than chattel. They occur when women refuse to marry the men chosen for them, or in one case in Canada a young woman wanted to live like Western women, including dressing, seeing men without an escort and dating. She did it behind her parents and her father brutally murdered her for it. Another was a young woman who married against the fathers wishes.

    The latest was Islamic, the Shafia family murders. There is some argument if the killings where honor killings or not. I’m not sure it matters, the man murdered his polygamous wife and three daughters, his other wife helped kill them. Rona Amir Mohammed was the wife and was a virtual slave, brought in as a domestic worker, she was treated terribly and when she finally realized she had rights in Canada, he murdered her.

    I don’t agree with the death penalty, and we don’t have it, but sometimes for some people I almost wish we did.

    India has a large number of dowry killings, murdering the woman when the dowry isn’t considered large enough. How insane is that?

    The Canadian citizenship study guide mentions honor killings specifically, saying, “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings’, female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.”

    I wonder if it helps.

    • Michael
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I would add it seems to me Islam is keeping the practice alive. I don’t know enough about Sikh or Hinduism to know if the women are considered less by their scriptures or dogma, but it appears to me Islam does.

      I find the Indian dowry killings bizarre once I get past the horror. Does the father consider the girl to be his property? Did he ignore her all her life? Or did he love his girl child, then one day simply turn around and murder her because of a perceived insult from her husbands family? As if the young woman had any choice or participation in the matter of a pre-arranged marriage. I can only think the woman is considered property. You sell a cow to a neighbor, the check bounces, so you go over and kill the cow. Except the cow is the killer’s very own daughter.

      I just can’t conceive how any of these men reach the decision that killing their own daughter is a sane response.

      I find this particular case of a 10 year incomprehensible. They have no moral authority whatsoever and I’d like to see this Mullah executed along with any other that seeks to harm the child. But this twisted religion and society elevates these sick disgusting creatures so they have authority when they should have not a bit.

      The human animal is the strangest animal of all.

  26. Michael Johnson
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I worry I’ll get my face chewed off, but I’ve decided to enter the fray…

    I’m not interested in excusing Islam, or equating what happened to this poor girl with Italian honor killings or whatever.

    I do happen to believe that honor systems across societies are a deep part of human culture and are a separate phenomenon from morality; morality is usually directly bound up in religion, and many honor cultures see honor as at odds with their religion.

    I believe that largely because I saw Kwame Anthony Appiah deliver several lectures at Hong Kong University based on his book The Honor Code. There, he gives a number of examples of people (in different cultures) lamenting how they were bound by honor to do things they found deeply against their religion. He also notes that the only people who were exempted from duels of honor (when that was a thing in the west) were those who were either priests or known for their extreme religiosity.

    I’m writing a paper on Fielding at the moment, and I found this curious example in Tom Jones (when he’s forced into the situation of having to duel someone):

    “But how terrible must it be,” cries Jones, “to any one who is really a Christian, to cherish malice in his breast, in opposition to the command of Him who hath expressly forbid it? How can I bear to do this on a sick-bed? Or how shall I make up my account, with such an article as this in my bosom against me?”

    “Why, I believe there is such a command,” cries the lieutenant; “but a man of honour can’t keep it. And you must be a man of honour, if you will be in the army. I remember I once put the case to our chaplain over a bowl of punch, and he confessed there was much difficulty in it; but he said, he hoped there might be a latitude granted to soldiers in this one instance; and to be sure it is our duty to hope so; for who would bear to live without his honour? No, no, my dear boy, be a good Christian as long as you live; but be a man of honour too, and never put up an affront; not all the books, nor all the parsons in the world, shall ever persuade me to that. I love my religion very well, but I love my honour more. There must be some mistake in the wording the text, or in the translation, or in the understanding it, or somewhere or other. But however that be, a man must run the risque, for he must preserve his honour. So compose yourself to-night, and I promise you you shall have an opportunity of doing yourself justice.”

    ***MJ again: notice where the cart and the horse go in this case: honor demands something, so either there’s a mistranslation in the religion, or God gives you an exception, or there is a contradiction, and religion just has to be ignored.

    I’m NOT saying that religion can’t bolster and support a particular honor system. A lot depends on their points of agreement. But seeing the honor stuff as *caused* by religion is to my mind not settled. Better examples in Appiah’s book though.

    • Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I’ve read some of Appiah’s stuff, and it is pretty good. Does he try to explain where it comes from? Previous discussions of “honour” and “face” societies etc. I’ve seen leave it unanalyzed, especially historically.

      • Michael Johnson
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        @Keith Douglas,

        I have to apologize; I haven’t got around to reading Appiah’s book (the number of academic books on my must-read list unfortunately trumps the ones on my really-want-to-read list). I talked with him a little and went to the lectures.

        He does have stuff about ‘face’– in fact, he talked a lot about Chinese foot binding in the lectures (it was in Hong Kong, of course). The idea he developed was that honor systems are separate from morality; that changing them from within was especially difficult because moral arguments tended to go nowhere; and that “external” shaming– dishonoring yourself or your country in a broader context– was the major historical source of change. So, for example, foot binding stopped when the argument was made that it shamed China in front of the westerners. Only when China felt part of global society and had ‘face’ to the rest of the world was it shamed into stopping the practice; centuries of earlier traditions of moral objections to the practice did nothing. (This is a poor summary of what were excellent lectures, I again recommend the book.)

        As for where it comes from, I don’t know what Appiah says, but given the widespread nature of honor societies (doesn’t Jonathan Haidt have stuff on honor in the American south?) I’d think the structures were largely innate (honor structures– behavior and attitude types) while the content was not (that is, what is and is not honorable).

  27. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I transcribed this from an interview with the brother of Miriam Ibrahim, the woman who was sentenced to death by stoning in Sudan for marrying a Christian. The attitude horrified me completely and I felt physically ill watching it. The level of religious brainwashing required to think like this is extreme, but literally hundreds of millions of people agree with him.

    (I was going to put it on my own website, but there have been issues getting it up and running, the latest being someone skipping the country!)

    The interview is by Nima Elbagir and it was first broadcast on CNN’s ‘Amanpour’ on 4 June 2014.

    Brother: It’s one of two. If she repents and returns to our Islamic faith and embraces our family then we are her family and she is ours. We will hold her dearer than the apples of our eyes. But if she refuses she should be executed. We will not deny Islamic law. This is what the law states and we will never allow any distortion of that.

    Elbagir: This is your sister? Will you allow yourself to see her executed? To watch her walk to the hangman’s noose?

    Brother: But why would I indulge my humanity, my emotions and incur the wrath of my lord? That’s not how it works for us.

    Whatever the origins of honour killing, it is clear to me that it is religion that sustains and perpetuates it, and Islam is the worst offender.

    • nicky
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Yep, spot on

    • Michael Johnson
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      This seems like a conflation to me. I don’t see how this is an honor killing (or a soon to be honor killing).

      The thing about honor killings is that in those cases, if you don’t kill your daughter (or wife or…) then nobody in town will speak to you or sell you rice at the market or anything. Your entire family will starve in the streets in front of everyone, and not for their lack of ability to work or pay. (Admittedly, that’s not what drives the honor-behavior, as it happens to immigrants in the west; I’m just using the social setup as a diagnostic for what’s honor or not.)

      The same was true in the age of duels: if you were required by honor to duel and you didn’t, then you were drummed out of polite society.

      The case you mention is different. Her family wants to kill her, but it doesn’t look like they are facing societal repercussions for her behavior and/or death/not-death. It looks like an open-and-shut case of religion sanctioning horrible things. It’s hard to have a discussion about honor killings if no one is willing to distinguish them from any barbaric killings.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        My point was about the effect religion has on people’s behaviour. I was not conflating honour killing with the death sentence in this case. However, I can see I could have spelled it out more clearly.

        People who kill in the name of their religion, whatever the cause, genuinely believe their behaviour is correct. They’re brainwashed by religion and that was the point I was truing to convey. Ms Ibrahim’s brother considers pleasing Allah and doing what he believes Allah wants is more important than anything else

  28. nicky
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    In my youth I lived a year in Afghanistan, I’ve been in Turkey and Iran (just before the ‘revolution’). When I was young and still good-looking I had a Moroccan partner. My best friend here in SA was a (inexplicable to me still) convert to Islam.
    So I’ve had a little exposure.
    My conclusion is that Islam is the pits. Anything you dislike about Christianity (and there is a lot there) you will find in Islam with a little star of excellence.

  29. nicky
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Lest I’ll be accused of ‘Islamophobia’ -yes I’ve often been-: a phobia is an irrational fear. I do not think my fear is irrational, hence not a phobia.

    Is there anything positive to be said about Islamic culture? Yes, there is. In general the Islamic cuisine is excellent (although I like to wash it with a -forbidden- glass of good dry red). I eat it daily (although I do eat pork, but that does not affect the recipes).

    Nevertheless, I’d give up on all that good food with joy, if it would prevent such horrendous child rape and ‘honour murder’.

    ‘No Cross, no Crescent’ is the only way to decency, methinks.

  30. s krishna
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    I have read that it is prevalent in India,too.

  31. Kev
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The culture versus religion argument is a red herring: all historical culture’s have their religions, I believe without exception. If another religion comes along after, it is superposed on the religious world view pre-existent. Christianity was convenient to Constantine’s expanding militarist empire and was moulded to requirement’s. I don’t see Islam as much different, the societies in which it is used to justify violence have a particular mind-set for which Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism could be ‘adjusted’ equally well: the arguments are hardly logical in any case. It could be argued that Islam ‘evolved’ in certain societies because it fitted the requirement, not that it formed those societies, but was formed by them: egg and chicken argument

  32. linda muat
    Posted August 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I the little girl who was raped still alive?

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