>Ever since the story about the 20-year-old Iraqi woman being run over by her father because was “too Westernized” came to light a few weeks ago, it has made my blood boil. Now that she has died, it has only hardened my feelings towards this father’s actions.
Noor Faleh Almaleki died Monday of injuries suffered when she was run over October 20 in a parking lot in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria, Arizona, police there said. Authorities said they expect to change the aggravated assault charge against her father, Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, to more severe counts after meetings with prosecutors, Peoria police announced.
After the incident, Almaleki’s father drove to Mexico, abandoning his vehicle in Nogales, Peoria police said. He then made his way to Mexico City and boarded a plane to Britain, where authorities denied him entry into the country and put him on a plane back to the United States, police said.
A friend of the daughter, Amal Edan Khalaf, 43, also suffered serious injuries in the attack, police said. Almaleki faces a separate aggravated assault charge in connection with her injuries.
He is currently held in Phoenix, with bail has been set at $5 million, Tellef said.
While my outrage should be felt by anyone who has a soul, we know that there are a minority of people who will commend this man for killing his daughter. Radical groups who identify with Islam often hide behind their religion to tolerate honor killings. Defined by Human Rights Watch (via Wikipedia), honor killings are:
acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life. (Source)
I must note that investigators have not concluded the Arizona case an honor killing, but the father’s reasoning is eerily similar to what some point to as an “immoral” behavior (disobeying a father’s rules).
The United Nations points out that honor killings occur in a diverse array of countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom and as many as 5,000 are victims in honor killings. (Source)
And there have been a few cases in the U.S. and Canada that police have connected to honor killings. In 2008, two teenage girls were shot to death in a taxi cab in Texas. Police immediately issues a warrant for the girls’ father, who still remains on the run. In Ontario in 2007, the father of a 16-year-old was charged with murder after he called police and informed them of his actions.
I hate to sound like a typical western woman who is jumping on the bandwagon to decry the human rights abuses these poor women and girls are suffering, but this issue can not be ignored and covered up. I’m sure apologists and those who like to hide behind cultural relativism will come to support these actions and criticize westerners for meddling in the business of other religions, cultures and countries.
But that type of criticism doesn’t hold water. No woman should be killed because she’s brought “dishonor” and shame upon a family. No (male) family member has the right to take a (female) family member’s life because of his feeling of embarassment.
The problem I have with those who justify honor killing is they imply women are the cause of their family’s “shame.” It’s a woman’s fault if she’s raped by a man on the streets. It’s her fault if she takes on a different “lifestyle” than what her family approves of. It’s a woman’s fault if she loses her virginity before marriage. It’s a woman’s fault if she decides not to enter into a pre-arranged marriage (not because she isn’t interested or doesn’t like the man selected for her).
Another problem I have with honor killings is how little attention it’s gotten from states and their leaders. These male leaders continue to turn a blind eye from the blatant human rights violations that are ongoing in their backyards. Fearful of losing the support and backing from male citizens and lawmakers, female leaders have also done little to nothing to make this issue a priority in their governments. In an attempt to hold onto traditions, many families have also been reluctant to protect their female family members of the wrath of these men hell-bent on protecting their “honor.”
I eagerly look forward to the day in which I won’t have to blog about this issue. I look forward to the day in which women and girls can enjoy the same choices and freedom their gender counterparts can partake without any consequences.
But, as a realist, I know this issue will only be “resolved” once our world’s states and their leaders and regular citizens take a stand and denouce crimes against their sisters, mothers, cousins, girlfriends, wives and grandmothers.