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
“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).