Guilty: Muslim Family in Canada Convicted in Honor Killings

This is even more true in Europe, where honor killing victims are viciously tortured to set an example to other daughters that this is what will happen to them if they disobey tribal and religious customs.

Although Hindus also commit honor killings, they do so infrequently in the West. Some Sikhs have perpetrated honor killings in Canada. One such high-profile case involved a British Colombian mother who sent her daughter abroad in 2000 where she arranged for her contract killing. Today, more than a decade later, Canada has issued an arrest warrant for the mother, Malkiat Kaur, to be extradited to India to stand trial for the murder of Jaswinder “Jassi” Kaur and for the attempted murder of Jassi’s beloved husband. Jassi’s crime? She fell in love with a social inferior and dared to marry him.

Some Muslim immigrants in the West still behave as if they are still living in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, the Maghreb, or on the West Bank. According to my 2010 study, 91% of the honor killings in the West were Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. Yes, this includes the honor murder of wives by their husbands and with the help of both their in-laws and their own family of origin. This is another kind of honor killing. These poor souls are almost double the age of the daughter-group. I discuss this in the 2010 study.

It is important to note that for the first time the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal did cover an honor killing case which involved Muslim perpetrators in North America. In the past, they failed to do so — or they focused on Hindu honor killings committed in India.

However, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesCNNBBC, and the Washington Post all shied away from using the term “Muslim,” but did indicate that the perpetrators of these honor killings were “Afghans” and “immigrants”; they sometimes utilized the term honor killing but usually either in quotes or preceded by the phrase “so-called.”

The Huffington Post has published more than twenty articles in the last 24 hours on this trial. A quick review suggests that very few articles use the word “Muslim.” Some of the journalists include Supriya DwivediDanielle CrittendenStephanie Levitz, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. My Canadian colleague, Farzana Hassan, uses the word “Muslim” and addresses the cultural and religious tradition of honor killings:

Regrettably, far too many men raised in patriarchal settings regard their female offspring as liabilities. The birth of a female child is often marked with anxiety and dismay. Later on, the issue of family honour kicks in when the girl reaches puberty. In fact, the notion of honour revolves primarily around women and their sexuality and conduct. The men in the family are rarely subjected to the kinds of constraints their female relatives endure. It is mostly when the conduct of the women is perceived as dishonourable that matters worsen.

Interestingly, Ayaan Hirsi Ali does not use the word “Muslim” as she opines on this case. But she does make an important point, namely, that American justice may lag behind Canadian justice. Hirsi Ali cites the Arizona case of Faleh Almaleki, who was only convicted of “murder in the second degree.” However, Almaleki received a sentence of 34 years — and for only one murder, not for four. An additional point that one must make concerns Arizona’s failure to charge Noor’s mother as a co-conspirator. Texas made the same mistake in the Said case, as did Canada in the Parvez case.

There has been something of a silence, at least so far, on the part of the various North American Muslim associations.