Yaser Said, who brutally murdered his two teenage daughters in Texas on New Year’s Day 2008 in an apparent honor killing, has finally been caught after being on the run for twelve years. This horrifying case points up the reality that honor murder can happen even in Western countries. But immediately after Said’s tardy capture, the denial and obfuscation began.
Islam Said, a son of Yaser Said, was arrested with him. Apparently he was in hiding with his father who murdered his two sisters Amina and Sarah, although he doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with the killings. And according to the Dallas Morning News, Islam Said denies that the killings were honor murders or had anything to do with Islam. “It’s something else. Religion has nothing to do with it.”
Yet that raises the question of why Islam Said was with his father at all. If these weren’t honor killings, why would Islam Said go on the run with Yaser and help him hide for all these years? Why wouldn’t he have the normal human reaction of thinking that what his father had done in murdering his sisters was abhorrent, and turn his father in to authorities? Did Islam Said’s commitment to the religion of Islam override that natural human reaction and make him think that what his father had done was good and praiseworthy?
For despite media denial and obfuscation of the fact, honor killing is something that many Muslims believe to be good and in accord with their faith. According to Islamic law, “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (Reliance of the Traveller o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victims were the murderer’s daughters, victims to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
That is why Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. 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.”
Also connected to the Islamic aspect of the story, and evidence that these were honor killings, is the fact that Yaser Said was enraged that Amina and Sarah had non-Muslim boyfriends. The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that “Sarah said her father had threatened her older sister when he learned that she had a boyfriend, saying he’d put a bullet through Amina’s head.”
Twelve years ago, however, the Dallas Morning News was more courageous and honest. Back in January 2008, it reported that the girls’ mother Patricia had said (regarding Amina) that “since they are Muslim that the daughter was only allowed to date other Muslims. Yaser had found out she went on a date with a non-Muslim and became very angry and threatened her with bodily harm.”
Yet now Patricia is playing dumb: “She had no idea where Said was, and, despite public speculation about a motive, she doesn’t know why the sisters were killed.” We can only hope that police will not take her claim at face value, and thoroughly investigate whether Patricia had any role in Yaser being able to evade capture for twelve years. For note this: Patricia “divorced Said in 2009 and had converted to Islam after her daughters’ deaths, said in 2011 that she didn’t know why Said had killed Amina and Sarah but that he thought they were overly Westernized.”
This is a woman who admitted in 2008 — after her husband had killed their two daughters — that her husband had threatened to kill one of her daughters for dating a non-Muslim. Then, after that, she converted to Islam. What kind of a mindset could Patricia Owens Said possibly have had that would have induced her to join the religion that seems to have played a role in leading her husband to murder their daughters? Could it have been because she was in touch with Yaser and was signaling her acquiescence to and approval of his act? Will investigators look into this possibility, or would that be “Islamophobic”?
Probably the latter. Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey says “This man brutally murdered — shot to death — his two daughters in his taxi cab. What led him to do that, I think at this point to us, is irrelevant.”
No, sir. It isn’t irrelevant at all. It could shed important light on the behavior of Islam Said, and on the question of whether or not Patricia Owens Said was involved in his twelve years as a fugitive. Also, knowing exactly what happened in this case could help authorities prevent such honor killings in the future. Will you, Chief Spivey, consider such issues, or allow political correctness and fear of the Leftist mob curtail and deform your investigation?
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.