Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where to Draw the Line?

After writing my last post, I went on a mini-vacation which involved much outdoor relaxation. During this beautiful R&R session, I was reading Marie Claire, and one article in particular jumped out at me, as I just wrote a whole post about secular countries being angered by immigrants bringing their cultures with them, rather than assimilating. The article was about a girl named Noor Almaleki who was killed at age 20, in November, by her father.

Following part may be explicit: read at own risk.

The Iraqi family moved to the USA, and I believe Noor's father was becoming a citizen...if he hadn't already. Faleh Almaleki (the father) obviously benefited from moving to America, but he was not satisfied with his daughter "fitting in" so easily. She was making too many decisions for herself, and *gasp* living alone! This poor girl was harassed by her family, forced to move back in, tricked into returning to Iraq, entered into a forced marriage, returned to the US, escaped again and finally started college & a new life...only to be extinguished far too young. Faleh was worried about his "honor" being tarnished by Noor and her behavior, so he ran over her with his car...twice. How can a person be so enraged with his or her own child that they can brutally murder them? And over "HONOR"?!

This article hurt me so deeply, especially since I have been actively following Jesus and his teachings on forgiveness and love. Knowing, & partially understanding, God's love and how we as humans must imitate this perfect Being, makes it hard to read this kind of story. This man did not know God...he can never enter the Lord's presence with such filth covering his soul. When the police told Noor's mother of what happened she said something along the lines of "good, this is just was Noor needed!" and then when the police realized what was going on and refused to disclose her location to her, the mother shouted "We cannot kill our daughter, we are Muslims".

But they DID kill their daughter! This girl was so frightened by her family, that when they finally tracked her down in the hospital and spoke to her in Arabic, her heart rate monitors showed her HR doubled and they had to be BANNED from her room. These people tortured this girl physically, mentally, and no doubt spiritually. Preaching a set of rules and behaviors that Jesus never protect their "honor" and manipulate her life. The parents were quoted saying they couldn't control their actions because they were "tribal/clans people", as in Iraqi's live their lives based on old tribal traditions.

The thing that really sent me over the edge was that we cannot prosecute these MANIACS who do this (honor killings are becoming more and more common) because they are classified as "domestic disputes". This is not happening to the average American family. This happens in immigrant families from the middle east and parts of asia, and sadly, Muslim families. These people do not assimilate because "tribal" and or cultural traditions are incredibly strong. Taking this into account, I feel unsafe. I want our country, and those in Europe, as it happens there too, to take action! How can you sit back and allow these young, beautiful, promising ladies to be murdered so violently? Do they not mean anything to you? They mean something to me, and most definitely to God.

I am on the verge of tears just writing this. The article describes other honor killing cases and it just gives me flashbacks from last year. During my orientation there was a Bangladeshi girl who participated in the team dance competition and placed in the top 3. The winning teams would perform on the first weekend of school in the fall. I was so excited. Coming in to watch the dance off at the start of the school year, her team all had matching tee-shirts, as a tribute to her. Her father "honor" killed her because he was afraid of her going away to school & making bad decisions. How does that make any sense, when these men make the worst decisions of all? Murder.

I can only thank God for not placing me in a family such as this, or in the Middle East/parts of Asia where these traditions seem to thrive. I can never offer up enough praise and thanksgiving, because as much as we think we are shielded and safe from incidents such as these, they're never far away. I never would have dreamed someone would be killed just weeks before freshman year her own father. It just breaks my heart, but it reaffirms how truly dependent on the Lord I am...I don't know how else I could live in this world without the comfort and peace He sustains me with.

So where do we draw the line? Western Europe and America are wealthy, appealing nations that attract people who live in these poor, restricted countries. But they bring their extremism and fanaticism with them and ultimately harm us in the process. Why should we support these people? I know there is no way to ban only "possible murderers", duh, but why aren't there laws in place, and I'm talkin' strict, severe laws, that warn and punish these horrible monsters?

Please pray for these girls who have payed the ultimate sacrifice for the ignorance of their families and their cultures, for girls who are still in situations such as Noor's, and for me (because I am feeling so affected by this).

May God just bring us peace upon this Earth!


NeverEver said...

this is such a complicated situation... there are so many facets to this issue!

1. people living in poverty come to the west because the west advertises itself as a place of opportunity and acceptance (which it does not always fulfill) Some are even refugees and honestly have no other options.

2. so many people in these poorer countries are unfortunately uneducated. how do you go to school or learn to read the qur'an (in the case of Muslim immigrants) when you have to work from childhood or your community cannot support a masjid or a teacher? Education is the biggest prevention of violence, especially a good religious education.

3. domestic violence is not just an immigrant thing. it DOES happen to average american/western people. a lot. Go to the local women's and children's shelters and see how many are american and how many are immigrants. The numbers and their will horrify you. The only difference is that they do not label it as "honor killings" and sensationalize it in the media. unfortunately those American women are forgotten in favor of the juicy gossip about those "others" living in our country.

raising awareness about domestic abuse and stiffening punishment is really the ONLY way to help these issues. (also the government can prosecute in the case of domestic violence, as it is a crime) For example Michelle Young was pregnant and killed by her husband in Raleigh, Jennifer McDougall in Houston, A woman in tennessee who was driven to shoot her husband (a pastor in the church) after years of abuse, a woman stabbed to death by her husband over the price of cigarettes, a 24 year old girl named Ashley in Elkton, Maryland who was stabbed by her husband. These american women who are forgotten in favor of better news... those are the women I pray for.

NeverEver said...

You've got me on a roll with this topic now, lol.

I wanted to make sure I wasn't making this stuff up :-P so I did a little research at

Minorities do have a marginally higher domestic violence rate in the U.S. However the minorities that have the highest rates are Native American and African American, neither of which are immigrant groups. In fact Asia and the Pacific Islands have the lowest domestic violence rates in the U.S. (this includes southwest asia and the middle east).

I also looked up general statistics on immigrants and domestic violence resulting in homicide in New York City. Of the people surveyed, 51% who experienced domestic violence were immigrant, 45% were born in the US. Most were Hispanic. This is in one of the heaviest immigrant populations, so I would figure it would be less outside of New York.

Also there is a lot of talk about how rural areas are hotspots for domestic violence but are often overlooked by surveys. Most often people living in rural areas are not immigrant, but born in america.

Anyway, thank you for bringing up this topic!

Charisms on Campus said...

Ah yes, dialogue shall commence :D

I definitely agree that education is truly important and under employed in these countries, but it is basic moral teaching. "Thou Shalt Not Kill". I know that's biblical and not necessarily Islamic, but if Islam claims to share roots with these faiths, then that should surely have carried over and been a staple in Islam...and many Muslims agree it has, it's not permissible to kill.

But on Noor's facebook memorial page, a girl defending Islam posted these surahs that actually CONFUSED me about where Islam actually stands on this.

Quran - 6:151"...take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom."

Quran - 17:33 "Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause."

Jesus, a prophet you recognize, said anyone who hates his brother in his heart is guilty of murder. Killing, for any reason, was eliminated at this point in the Judaic tradition, as Jesus preached Love. True love is void of all anger/hate/revenge (scripture: love is patient, love is kind, etc) and we are commanded to forgive each and every offense made against us (check out my post on this a few posts back!)

So why is it that this teaching never passed into Islam? I think it was on Yessie's blog that we talked about how some of the bible is "corrupt", but surely such a teaching is NOT corrupt. Why did Mohammad change Jesus' WHOLE mission here on earth? There is no "just" killing anymore because punishment is now reserved for God alone.

Charisms on Campus said...

(I wanted to make a new post just in case the first got too long!)

Most terrorist leaders (not making ANY Muslim generalizations here) are learned Muslims...they have studied Qu'ran extensively and they believe their work is a divine mission. Those surahs allow Muslims to kill...depending on what is just and that itself is vague. Anyone can justify a murder in Islam it seems.

I didn't mean to make it sound like no Americans kill their daughters or that abuse it only occurring in immigrant households...because sadly we have deadbeat parents here too. But the whole concept of killing your daughter for your own honor is insane and isn't an American concept. It is sadly being sensationalized because it's becoming more and more common and it itself is completely absurd!

The point I think I failed to make is that we as Americans have a standard of what we tolerate as moral, and as we allow immigrants in, them bringing their violent traditions like this with them,we are seeing a rebellion against our standard and that's scary. We don't tolerate the murder of our children for any reason, so where do we draw the line with immigrants being allowed citizenship who will never assimilate to OUR standard? It's really tough

Deltaflute said...

I think killing a person out of honor is horrible, but the west has it own set of freaks.

Look at this Austrian guy.

NeverEver said...

On the Prohibition of Honor Killings in Islam:
"And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement." Al-Qur'an 4: 96

"…if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." [Al-Qur'an 5:32]

This verse is first directed at the Children of Israel, but is clearly meant to be an example and lesson to the Muslim people as confirmed by the tafsir of ibn Kathir that this was practiced by the sahabah of the Prophet salAllahu aleyhi wa salam.

"Al-A`mash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said, "I entered on `Uthman when he was under siege in his house and said, `I came to give you my support. Now, it is good to fight (defending you) O Leader of the Faithful!' He said, `O Abu Hurayrah! Does it please you that you kill all people, including me' I said, `No.' He said, `If you kill one man, it is as if you killed all people. Therefore, go back with my permission for you to leave. May you receive your reward and be saved from burden.' So I went back and did not fight.'''

On Retribution:
Now, this retribution concept has nothing to do with honor killings anyway since retribution can only be legislated by a court and honor crimes are taken by renegades/vigilantes outside of the judicial system.
44 Surely We revealed the Taurat in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) for those who were Jews, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, because they were required to guard (part) of the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers.
45 And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.
46 And We sent after them in their footsteps Isa, son of Marium, verifying what was before him of the Taurat and We gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard (against evil).
47 And the followers of the Injeel should have judged by what Allah revealed in it; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors.
48 And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;
49 And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, and be cautious of them, lest they seduce you from part of what Allah has revealed to you; but if they turn back, then know that Allah desires to afflict them on account of some of their faults; and most surely many of the people are transgressors.
50 Is it then the judgment of (the times of) ignorance that they desire? And who is better than Allah to judge for a people who are sure?
Al-Qur'an 5:44-50

NeverEver said...

my response is too loooonnng eeeek! lol
inshaAllah I will do a post and send a link

caraboska said...

NeverEver, The problem is that these 'honor killing' types would consider their daughters' behavior as 'spreading mischief in the land'.