Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Iraqi Honor Killings

This was on NPR today:

Activists Sound Alarm on Iraqi 'Honor Killings' by Anne Garrels
All Things Considered, December 7, 2005 - Women's rights in Iraq are a subject of growing alarm for activists and some secular groups. The widely accepted and seldom prosecuted practice of "honor killings" -- in which family members of women who have had extramarital sex have a right to kill her -- is of particular concern.

The story will be available to stream from the website a little later today. The summary sounds bad enough, but it gets worse.

During the piece, a number of Iraqs tell stories about their own families. Their daughters or sisters were abducted and the abductors threatened to rape and kill the women if the families did not pay a ransom. The families would pay the ransom, get the women back, and then kill the women because the family could never be sure that they were still virgins. The shame brought upon the family for housing a woman who had extramarital sex would be too much for the family, so they had to result to killing the women.

These killings typically go unpunished. They are a tribal custom. Islam does not condone them, but the tribal customs are an even stronger influence than religion.

The new Iraqi constitution does not address women's rights at all, so there is no hope that this practice will cease.

No comments: