While some Islamic scholars have insisted that “honor killing” is cultural rather than inherently Islamic, a prominent Palestinian Muslim cleric made it clear in a sermon at the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that Muslim men are prepared to kill to defend their family’s name.
Sheik Issam Amira explained that Muslims are “undergoing a major crisis regarding the honor of their womenfolk” amid the many temptations posed by modernity.
Social media, television and women leaving the house without male chaperones are just some examples of the “obliteration” of women’s honor in Palestine, he said.
In response, Amira encouraged men to say to their female relatives: “We are ready to die defending your honor, but at the same time, we are ready to kill you if you take your honor lightly.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute, which translated the sermon, said it was posted on the Internet on Sept. 21.
The sheik said that with “obscenity” entering every home, Muslims “are waging a fierce war, a ferocious battle, to defend the honor of our womenfolk.”
“Our women’s honor is being targeted more than our lives and our property. Moreover, the honor of our womenfolk is more sacred than our property, our lives, and our holy places,” he said.
He said the “violated honor of women cannot be restored, whereas property may be regained, and the same is true of the holy places if there are men and armies up to the task.”
He took Muslim fathers and brothers to task.
“What are you doing about the honor of your sisters and your mothers? How can you go about your business, not knowing what is going on in your own homes? Why don’t you supervise your homes? Why don’t you raise your sons and daughters to zealously protect their honor?”
It was at that point that he instructed men to be “ready to kill.”
Texas honor killings
WND reported in July a Muslim immigrant from Jordan was convicted by a jury in Texas of killing his daughter’s American husband and an Iranian women’s rights activist in what was described by prosecutors as “honor killings.”
Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan orchestrated the killings of his son-in-law – a convert to Christianity – and his daughter’s friend, who had encouraged the marriage, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Honor and shame, that’s what this is all about,” special prosecutor Ann Emmons told the jury at the end of a five-week trial in Houston.
“You heard him say honor is a big deal to him. And the only way to clean that honor is to kill.”
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, commented that all schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shiite, teach that conversion from Islam, or “apostasy,” must be punished by death.
Quran 4:89 states: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.”
Spencer also cites a hadith, a collection of the sayings of Muhammad, Bukhari 9.84.57, which says: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
He also pointed out that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide and the Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for “honor” murders.
In Iraq, honor murderers get off lightly, and in Syria, a 2009 has been eliminated that limits the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'”
The Jordanian Parliament in 2003, Spencer noted, voted down, on Islamic grounds, a provision to strengthen penalties for honor killings.
Al-Jazeera reported, “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Spencer concluded: “Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.”