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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Honor Killings

Published on Apr 01, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Is Being "Americanized" a Capital Crime in America For Muslim Women?


Her mother was in on the honor/horror killing; her brother and a paternal relative knew about it—if not in advance then immediately afterward. Her brother, Ali, had begun to call his sister "vile" names. Ali also believed that she had "dishonored" the family. Her own mother, Seham, viewed her daughter as "dirty," as someone who was living with a "dirty" woman, a "liar." She even told her daughter that she was no longer her mother—that the "dirty" woman was now her mother.

My main question: Will the Arizona police haul in Seham and Ali as accomplices to this honor/horror killing? European courts have begun to do just this. Will America follow suit or not?

Kudos to Paul Rubin, who has written a long and excellent journalistic account of the Noor Al-Maleki honor/horror killing in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. Rubin obtained access to unreleased police records. I also tip my hat to Jeffrey Imm of R.E.A.L., who brought Rubin's article to my attention.

Noor (left) with her friend, ASU student Sana Ameen

Allow me to draw some important conclusions from Rubin's detailed account.

The honor/horror killing family will never tell the police the truth. It will have to be dragged out of them. Evidence will have to face them down. Even then, they will keep "spinning" the story. This was the case with the Kingston, Canada mass honor/horror murders, and it is the case here.

Thus, at first, Noor's mother, Seham, said she knew nothing, did not know where here husband Faleh was, had no idea how he had gotten away, did not know if he had tried to kill their daughter or not. However, according to cell-tower records, the police found out that "within minutes of Faleh's fleeing the bloody scene, he spoke by cellphone to his wife, to their son Ali, and to at least two other members of his extended family." At first, Seham Almaleki, who had been in California at a job, claimed that "all she knew was that there was a family problem of an unspecified nature." When the police told her that her husband had "intentionally slammed into Noor and Amal (the older woman with whom Noor was living), this is all Seham said: "This woman is a liar. This woman is dirty. Her family is dirty."

Not a word of concern about her daughter. The police "got it." Therefore, when Seham said that she wanted to see her daughter immediately, they did not allow Seham to visit the hospitalized and unconscious Noor. Seham's response? "I'm a danger?" Seham shouted. "I'm a Muslim. We can't kill our daughter."

For the record: I am about to publish a second study about honor killings on five continents in Middle East Quarterly, and it does seem to be a primarily Muslim-on-Muslim crime. Please note: The victim is a Muslim—which should appeal to those sympathetic to Muslim persecution–but alas, the perpetrators are also Muslim, which means that to mention this will be seen as "Islamophobic," racist, fascist, etc.

Back to the timeline, the police records, and Seham's lies. The police learned that a young man of Middle Eastern origin and a "veiled" woman had picked up a prescription for diabetes in Faleh's name. Veils are exceptionally useful for committing crimes. Ali finally admitted that his father had called him before the murder to tell him to "man up" because his father would not be around any longer. And, Seham finally admitted that yes, she and her son had picked up the medicine for Faleh—but that subsequently, "she'd thrown the pill bottles out of her car window, though she couldn't come up with a reason for having done so." (Faleh had his medicine with him when he was apprehended in the UK).

Seham continued to adamantly blame Amal, another woman, for what her husband had done. As the author of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (which I was recently interviewed about), I am not at all surprised by a mother betraying her own daughter and blaming another woman for her husband's crimes.

Faleh is also a practiced liar. First, he claimed that it had all been a "freakish accident." Then, he asked, why would he kill his daughter with a car? "I have no problem with my daughter…If I want to kill her, I go buy a gun, I know where they live. I just lost control of the car."

The Almaleki children, circa 2005 (Noor is standing second from left.)

Eventually, he said that he had also lost control of his "brain," that it was not a premeditated crime. But then he said that his daughter "should not have become so Americanized—that it was wrong." But then he justified the murder. "If your house has got a fire in just part of the house, do we let the house burn or do we try to stop the fire?" Noor was the "small fire" that had to be extinguished.

Ali managed to contradict himself as well when he told the police that the "slaying was unplanned." And then he warned the media. "You guys be careful what you say. That's my father you're talking about. And my father is a loving man. He loved Noor…Why would he do this if he loved her?"

Ali's explanation: "He lost his mind."

Muzzammil Hassan in Buffalo who savagely battered and then beheaded his wife Aasiya is also arguing "extreme emotional distress" and portraying himself as a battered husband and victim. The other Hasan, Dr. Malik, the Fort Hood shooter, has also been presented (mainly by the media) as having suffered from "secondary post traumatic stress"—all that alleged listening to soldiers who suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan.

In other words: Just as many Islamists are demanding the right to practice Islamic gender and religious apartheid in the West, using Western concepts of religious pluralism and tolerance—just so are Islamists beginning to describe what their culture may view as a "righteous kill" as proof of emotional suffering and mental distress.

And, Faleh, like Muzzammil, is crafty, aggressive, and persistent. Muzzammil writes letters to the newspapers from his jail cell describing himself as a wounded, long-suffering victim; he signs the letters with his mother's name. And Faleh has asked his cousin to get the Iraqi Consulate to intervene, to explain that an "Iraqi is worth nothing without his honor." Faleh has also suggested that Jamal (his cousin who fled to Iraq) do the following:

"Have friends sit across from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and hold signs saying 'The Iraqi honor is precious.' Signs that say I'm not a criminal, that I didn't break into someone's house, that I didn't steal…for an Iraqi, honor is the most valuable thing…we are a tribal society that can't change, I didn't kill someone off the street."

Faleh asked his wife and son to find a good lawyer—preferably not a Jew—to find a "loophole in this subject—you know, clans, tribalism, something like that." And then, he contradicts himself. "The Jews know of it (loopholes)."

Does this sound like a contrite father? Or like a mentally unbalanced man?

For those new to this case, here are Noor's presumed "crimes." Noor ran away from a marriage that her father had arranged for her in Iraq. She came back to America. She wore American clothes, used American-youth expressions (like "Dude,") had pages at facebook and myspace. She dressed glamorously, attractively—and she had a boyfriend. After seeking refuge with another Iraqi woman, Amal, a former friend of her family, Noor developed some kind of relationship with Amal's son. (It is unclear what kind of relationship that was, exactly).

As the oldest girl in the family, with three younger sisters, Noor was setting a bad example for her younger siblings. Who would marry them? Worse: They might all follow Noor's example.

I am giving the last word to beautiful Noor herself: In an email exchange with a friend just before she was murdered, Noor typed "Dude, I am so scared….I'm so shaky…My dad is a manipulative asshole. I've honestly never met anyone…so evil."


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