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Posted in: Honor Killings

Published on Dec 26, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Jailing the Intended Victims of Honor Killings For Their Own Good


In an attempt to protect high-profile Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents who have had fatwas issued against them: Taslima Nasreen or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example, the “good” people have been forced to jail them, not their attackers. Today, Nasreen says she is a “virtual prisoner” in Delhi where, for her own safety, the Indian government has stashed her after a mob of fanatic Islamists tried to kill her. When Hirsi Ali was similarly threatened, the Dutch government was forced to essentially “jail” Hirsi Ali for her own good.

Where will this end? With all the “moderate” and dissident Muslims and ex-Muslims in jail? How big will this jail be? How much will it cost? Can the world’s governments afford this? How many people will have to be jailed before the West really understands that a new kind of war has been declared against us–one that we may have to fight in ways other than by jailing innocent civilians.

Hint: There are no civilians in this new kind of War.

What is the price of dissent? How much will governments be willing and able to pay to protect women from their own families who intend to honor-murder them? Or who control them in terrifying ways? Today, a Saudi women and her advocates are appealing to the Saudi King to save her from her own brothers who forced her to divorce her husband and the father of her children because the husband was deeemed tribally unworthy. The woman is now distraught and threatening suicide.

The British government has just announced a new program that will both better protect and prosecute honor killings in the West. The approach will follow an anti-Mafia model in that the British police now understand that the equivalent of a federal witness protection program, will be required for both intended victims and for witnesses who might be willing to testify on their behalf. (I have been talking about this kind of model for quite awhile and am glad to see such signs of potential progress in Britain).

Last night I saw Marjane Satrapi’s film “Persepolis” which is based upon her popular adult graphic novel aka a book-length comic strip of the same name. Although the film was a bit too long–it was nevertheless a highly creative, charming, feisty, and original presentation of the most sombre political history.

Her heroine, “Marjane,” is a child when Khomeini comes to power and she is a very young adult when she leaves Teheran first for Vienna and then for Paris. Marjane is a feminist warrior. (But so is her grandmother!) Both are portrayed as daring and sophisticated. The jailing, torture, and agonizing deaths of the regime’s political opponents, both male and female, is rendered in a soulful and heartbreaking way–as is the regime’s diabolical persecution of women.

On the other hand, the West, in which women are not punished for how they dress or because they dance or even sleep with men, is still not a welcoming place for a young Muslim immigrant entirely on her own. Indeed, the young Marjane ends up homeless on the streets of Vienna where she nearly dies. The difficulty of integrating into a Western-style life without any family protection or connections, sends Marjane back home to Teheran where at least she has family. Grim Iranian political reality ultimately returns her to the West.

When Westerners fight about Muslim immigration and about alleged “racism” towards Muslims, they are often talking about two distinct populations. Those who argue for an open door policy are thinking about Muslim and ex-Muslim immigrants in flight from Islamist persecution who deserve asylum in the West. Those who argue against open immigration are thinking about their Islamist persecutors and about those Muslim immigrants who mean to practice Islamic gender and religious Apartheid in the West.

Go see “Persepolis.” Read the book. Think long and hard about a pre-emptive strike against a civilian population that has already been so persecuted by its leaders. But, think even harder about whether we want such leaders and those who share their ideology to impose their evil will upon the West and upon Judaeo-Christian culture.


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