honor killings

Religion figures heavily — and rightly so — in AP story on Muslim's 'honor' killing of sister

Religion figures heavily — and rightly so — in AP story on Muslim's 'honor' killing of sister

In the past, we at GetReligion have raised concerns about news stories failing to consider religion's role in "honor" killings.

As our own tmatt has pointed out, there is no need to dwell on the Islamic element of such crimes, and it would be wrong to suggest that all Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere practice, accept or ignore "honor" killings. (Yes, the scare quotes are appropriate on this subject.)

But for the sake of full and accurate reporting, it's crucial that journalists note when religion provides the impetus for such killings.

The Associated Press' Kathy Gannon does an excellent job of that in an absolutely riveting story on a man who killed his sister in Pakistan.

The AP lede:

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — For two months, over the thunder of machines at the steel mill, the men taunted Mubeen Rajhu about his sister. Even now, they laugh at how easy it was to make him lose his temper.
Some people had seen Tasleem in their Lahore slum with a Christian man. She was 18, a good Muslim girl, out in public with a man. Even though the man had converted to Islam out of love for her, this couldn't be allowed.
"Some guys got to know that his sister was having a relationship," says Ali Raza, a co-worker at the mill. "They would say: 'Can't you do anything? What is the matter with you? You are not a man.'"
Raza can barely contain a smile as he talks about the hours spent needling Rajhu.

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Who was behind the 'honor killing' of that Pakistani model? Conservatives!

Who was behind the 'honor killing' of that Pakistani model? Conservatives!

"Honor killings": It's hard to think of a more ironic phrase. In some lands, like Pakistan, it means to kill a relative -- most often a girl or woman -- because of anxieties over actual or perceived immorality.

It happened again with the weekend murder of Qandeel Baloch, who has been called the Pakistani Kim Kardashian for her many tweeted cheesecake photos, Facebook posts and appearances in videos. Baloch, 26, was strangled by a brother for "honorable" reasons.

At GetReligion, we've complained for years about the reticence of many media professionals to link the killings with some versions of Islam. And here we go again, with USA Today  blaming nebulously described "conservatives":

Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, shot to fame and notoriety with a series of social media postings that would be tame by Western standards but were deeply scandalous by conservative Pakistani societal norms. She cultivated an outrageous public persona, recently promising to perform a public striptease if the Pakistani cricket team won a major tournament.
Baloch had a large following of more than 700,000 people on her official Facebook page. She posted recently she was “trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.”

You know conservatives. Those are the guys who oppress women and hold back progress and cut welfare and keep out immigrants. The heavy implication is that in Pakistan and in the U.S., conservatives are pretty much alike.

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BBC: Another generic, mysterious 'honor killing' (updated)

This time the bloody honor killing took place in a public place, for all to see — outside the Lahore High Court. The short BBC report noted: Police said 30-year old Farzana Bibi died on the spot after being attacked with bricks and sticks. Her father handed himself in, but police say her brothers and former fiance, who also took part in the attack, were still free. …

Farzana Bibi’s parents accused her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her, and had filed a case against him at the High Court. However, she testified to police that she had married him of her own accord. Police said the couple had been engaged for a number of years.

Religion, apparently, had nothing to do with this event, which was said to be a mere cultural phenomenon. However, the report ended by noting:

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BBC silence on honor killings and Islam

The BBC reports three Pakistani women were murdered by a member of their family for insulting the family honor by “smiling and laughing in the rain outside their family home” . The Corporation does a strong job in detailing the who, what, where and when of this “honor killing”, but continues its policy of hiding the why. The mention of Islam is absent from this story.

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