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Posted in: Honor Killings

Published on Jan 14, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Honor Killers: Prosecuted in Europe, Seen as Psychiatric Victims in America


When it comes to honor killings and honor-related violence, America had better start learning a few things from Europe.

On October 20, 2009, near Phoenix, Arizona, Noor Al-Maleki's father, Iraqi-born Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki, ran over his 20-year-old daughter with a two-ton jeep. He struck down her female companion and protector as well. His daughter died. Although she was seriously wounded, Amal Edan Khalaf, the other woman, survived. Just like Yaser Said, who fled Dallas after honor murdering his two daughters (and who has not yet been found), Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki also fled, first to Mexico, and then to England. However, he was captured, extradited back to Arizona, and charged with first-degree murder.

Well done!

The case has been described, correctly, as an "honor killing." Poor Noor did not want to remain in an arranged marriage and dared to find a fiancée on her own. When she died, she had been living with her fiancée and with her future mother-in-law. Now comes Arizona lawyer Billie Little, who is Faleh Hassan Al-Maleki's lawyer. Guess what Mr. Little told the judge? According to Arizona Central, because Andrew Thomas, the prosecutor in the case, is a Christian, Mr. Little actually wrote: "An open process provides some level of assurance that there is no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs."

Let me understand this. Mr. Little does not want the judge to view a murder as a murder because a Muslim committed that murder? Or because only a Muslim was murdered—and that somehow counts for less? From my own research, published in Middle East Quarterly, it is clear that honor killing is primarily a Muslim-on-Muslim crime. After all, Noor was a Muslim too. And, an honor killing is not like Western domestically violent femicide. Western fathers do not kill their young daughters. (And, by the way, does Noor have a mother? If so, where is she? Why is she so silent?)

Clearly, Al-Maleki became judge, jury, and executioner when he took the law into his own hands to punish his daughter because, in his view, she was too western and therefore not a good Muslim. What does that make him? A good Muslim? Or a really bad Muslim?

Perhaps Islam is not and should not be on trial here but Muslim customs, Muslim behavior surely is. It is the proverbial elephant in the room. How can the prosecutor not mention it? And, once mentioned, how easy it will be to gain pity for the poor, allegedly "racially profiled" murderer.

In addition, Mr. Little is demanding that his client be psychiatrically evaluated because "he does not understand basic court proceedings." I wonder: Is Mr. Little consulting with Muzzammil Hassan's lawyer in Buffalo? He's the Pakistani-born charmer who severely battered and then beheaded his lovely wife Aasiya. Hassan's lawyer is arguing "extreme emotional disturbance." This is rather ironic since this kind of defense has been used, often unsuccessfully, on behalf of battered women.

Then, there is the case of Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood massacrist. My God! Maybe we had better watch out for all those named "Hassan" or "Hasan"–but what we really need to watch out for is a culture that barely tolerates differences among Muslim names; as some Muslims themselves have joked, if you're ever unsure of a Muslim man's name, just call him Mohammed and you'll probably be guessing right. The tolerance for diversity of any kind is limited in such a culture. That is the danger we face.

My point: The Fort Hood Hasan is now also being seen as suffering from a psychiatric disorder, a secondary or even pre-post traumatic syndrome. As I pointed out right away, he is an Islamic Islamic jihadist; a jihadist should not be viewed as having a psychiatric disorder merely because he perpetrates jihad in the West.

Unlike America, Europe has endured many more honor killings. Thus, they have really begun to fight back. In an earlier piece, I discussed three precedent cases in this area in Denmark, Holland, and England. In Denmark, an entire Muslim clan was convicted for an honor killing; in London, a Muslim father was convicted of a decade-old honor killing; and in overly tolerant Holland, a Muslim husband was sentenced to nine years for having beaten his wife to death with cricket bats.

In yet another recent and precedent-setting European decision, a Turkish-Muslim family who live in Graz, Austria, were just sentenced to probation for threatening to kill a female member because she wanted to marry an Austrian man who was not of Turkish origin and who was not a Muslim.

Here is part of the story in Kleine Zeitung:

"In our cultural circle," says (the sister), a 19 year old with a Graz dialect, "it's not common to marry an Austrian."

"You are also Austrian," prosecutor Hansjörg Bacher reminds her.

Her older sister (20) fell in love with an Austrian, a Christian. "We couldn't envision our daughter marrying an Austrian," says the father. – "You are also Austrian!"

The mother and father are accused of threatening the daughter and her friend, mentioning 'death' and a 'killing spree'. They then agreed that the two would get married, but the father had to leave the country for losing face. And they couldn't vouch for their relatives."

The father was sentenced to twelve months probation, the mother to ten months probation, and a sister was fined. Please note: Legal action was taken because verbal threats were made. The Austrian Court understood that such threats are to be taken quite seriously. The girl, (the intended honor killing target) has gone into hiding.

I hope that the prosecutors in Buffalo and in Phoenix read about the Danish, British, Dutch, and Austrian cases and are guided accordingly.

I would like to acknowledge the steady stream of information that I receive from Jeffrey Imm at R.E.A.L. and from Esther at Islam in Europe.


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