Kabary Salem is a former Olympic boxer who was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges over the strangulation death of his daughter, Ola Salem. Ola Salem, a Muslim women’s rights activist, was found dead in Staten Island on October 24, 2019. According to an acquaintance, Ola Salem was “becoming very Americanized,” and that seems to have been what sent her father over the edge.
Kabary Salem was extradited from Kuwait, to which he fled not long after his daughter’s body was discovered. Before he left, he spoke to the New York Times about the murder, and told them, according to the New York Daily News, that “his daughter had complained to him that she was being tailed by another car on the highway.”
He played his part to the hilt, telling the Times: “I want to know what happened to her, what is the reason for that, but no one tells me. I am just waiting. She was a really good, beautiful girl.”
The reality was much uglier: “It’s unclear what sparked the violence,” notes the Daily News. “The DA’s office wouldn’t comment on a report that the father wasn’t happy with the man his daughter was dating. A source who knew the daughter told the Daily News she was becoming more Westernized and didn’t want to wear her hijab.”
This source, which for quite understandable reasons remained unnamed, said of Ola Salem: “She was very outspoken. She wasn’t timid. She was becoming Americanized.”
That increases the likelihood that this was an honor killing, a murder carried out in order to cleanse the family of the dishonor brought upon it by the immorality of a daughter. If Kabary Salem murdered his daughter because she didn’t want to wear the hijab, Ola Salem is yet another casualty of a phenomenon that is tolerated in all too many areas. The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Meanwhile, Western feminists have an annual event, World Hijab Day, in which they don hijabs in order to show solidarity with Muslim women in the West who supposedly experience abuse for wearing the hijab, although a great many of these incidents have been found to have been faked by the alleged victims. The real victims of abuse over wearing the hijab are much more often girls and women who don’t wear it, such as Ola Salem.
Aqsa Parvez’s Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it. Amina Muse Ali was a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab. 40 women were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab. Alya Al-Safar’s Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped wearing the hijab in Britain. Amira Osman Hamid faced whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab. An Egyptian girl, also named Amira, committed suicide after being brutalized by her family for refusing to wear the hijab. Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia were told they had to wear the hijab or be fired. Women in Chechnya were police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab. Other women in Chechnya were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab.
Elementary school teachers in Tunisia were threatened with death for not wearing hijab. Syrian schoolgirls were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab. Women in Gaza were forced by Hamas to wear hijab. Women in Iran protested against the regime by daring to take off their hijabs. Women in London were threatened with murder by Muslim thugs if they didn’t wear hijab. An anonymous young Muslim woman doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents. Fifteen girls in Saudi Arabia were killed when the religious police wouldn’t let them leave their burning school building because they had taken off their hijabs in their all-female environment. A girl in Italy had her head shaved by her mother for not wearing hijab.
Other women and girls have been killed or threatened, or live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab. But where are the feminists standing in solidarity with Ola Salem, and others like her?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.