Pakistani Americans Condemn “Honor” Killings

Los Angeles, CA: A number of Pakistani-American and American-Muslim organization have jointly condemned the recent “honor” killings of four young women by their father in Pakistan on Dec 28. Nazir Ahmed, a working class Pakistani, slit the throats of his three young daughters and 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor" -- a crime that shocked the whole nation.

This age-old tribal custom of "honor killing" pre-dates Islam and has nothing to do with Islamic beliefs and values. Islam does not allow individuals to take laws in their own hands. Moreover, Islam forbids and strongly condemns the killing of innocent persons. Before the advent of Islam, killing newborn baby girls, who were thought to bring dishonor to the family, was a common practice. Islam abolished that custom and elevated the status of women in society to equal partners with rights to education, property and political participation.
It is extremely painful for Muslims to see these barbaric pre-Islamic customs persevered in Muslim societies. Honor killings, residual of tribal and feudal cultural values, cannot be changed by punishment alone, though stringent penalties must be imposed on guilty individuals. The state and the civil society, residents and expatriates, groups and individuals, all share equal responsibility for eradicating this diseased behavior pattern.

The joint statement reads:

“We strongly condemn last week's murder of four young Pakistani women by their father, who was motivated by the tribal notion of ‘family honor’. The Pakistan Government must follow due process in trying the suspect and, if found guilty, imposing maximum penalty under the law. It must also engage relevant NGOs in training law enforcement agencies to detect and prevent violent crimes against women. Presently, victims fear the police as much as the perpetrators of violence.

“Recognizing that this social malady cannot be fixed by a government decree alone, several sectors of the state and the civil society – law enforcement agencies, courts, media, academia, clergy, NGOs, and intelligentsia – must come together and workout a shared, long-term, strategy to eradiate this diseased behavior pattern.

“Pakistani civil society must focus all its creative energies at the popular culture to help stop glorification of violence in general, violence against women in particular, and retrograde values as a matter of principle.”

The joint statement was issued by the following organizations: American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Association of Pakistani Professionals (AOPP), Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), Pakistan Community Association of New Orleans (PCANO), Pakistan League of America (PLA), Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum (PUFF), and United Muslims of America (UMA).


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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