Thursday, May 22, 2008

Honor Killing in Germany Stirs 'Debate'

What the hell is there to debate? This is a brutal, savage act by twisted Islamists who reside in the throes of some warped 7th-Century religion.
Ahmad O. stabbed his sister more than 20 times because the 16-year-old girl didn't live her life according to his values. Women's rights advocate Seyran Ates is now calling for German society to intensify its efforts to stop honor killings. "A girl isn't a whore if she goes out," she says.

Morsal O. was 16, a young girl with joie de vivre. She laughed a lot and she was a go-getter. She was a good student, had ambition and a lot ahead of her in life. But she was murdered on Friday, May 9. Her 23-year-old brother Ahmad, with the help of a cousin, lured her to a parking lot near a subway station in the German port city of Hamburg under a false pretense and stabbed her 20 times with a knife.

If Morsal had known she would be coming face to face with her brother, she probably wouldn't have gone that evening. The two hadn't been on talking terms for quite some time, and Ahmed had threatened his sister repeatedly. Just before her murder, Morsal had sought refuge from her family, who moved to Germany from Afghanistan 13 years ago, at a number of city social facilities, most recently living for more than a year in a youth safe house. But she never succeeded in entirely breaking off contact with her family.

For more than an hour, emergency doctors fought to save Morsal's life, but she died on the way to the hospital. The girl's parents rushed to the scene, but they weren't allowed to attend to their daughter because they had forgotten their IDs in the midst of the turmoil.

Morsal died alone.
Naturally, the first inclination is to rationalize it away.
"Maybe he did it out of love," Moral's cousin Mujda said, when asked why Ahmad stabbed his sister that night. Mudja O. gave an extensive interview to SPIEGEL TV following the crime, discussing the stabbing and her cousin's possible motives for the killing. "We spoke to him and he told us, 'My sisters are my life. She should be put away before anything happens to her. The last sentence that we heard from him was that he loved his sister."

It was not the first time Ahmad, who worked in an auto parts store, had come to the attention of the police for violent acts, either. In police circles, he was known as a serial offender, constantly in trouble for beatings and even stabbings. Morsal had even tried to get charges pressed against her brother with the police after he repeatedly attacked her, but she later withdrew them.
Just a misunderstood youth.

What we're really confronted with here simply is insanity.
According a United Nations report, around 5,000 women fall victim to "honor killings" around the world each year. The true figure, however, is most likely much higher. Between January 1996 and July 2005, 55 honor killings were reported to the police in Germany alone. Yet it is difficult to record the crime because there is no official police definition.

"We have to stop talking about 'so-called honor killings,'" lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "There is no such thing. These are not 'so-called' honor killings, but plain and simple honor killings. This term honor is based on a woman not being allowed to express her own sexuality. It means: no premarital sex, no boyfriend. If a girl or young woman doesn't stick to this then she is seen as a scourge -- someone who must be killed to in order to restore honor."

Honor can be washed clean with the blood of the "guilty one," she explains. "The term 'honor,' that honor killings are based upon, has nothing at all to do with the Western understanding of the word," says Ates. "And it can only be overcome by publicly rejecting it. Children have to be taught in school that this term is dehumanizing. We have to take a stand within society. We have to make it very clear: 'If you think like this, then you are living in the wrong century. You are breaking the rules of the constitutional state in which you live, and you are not respecting human or women's rights.'"
That'll get a fatwa issued pretty damn quick.

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