Cultural Differences

The killing of, usually young, women by members of their family for departing from the family’s culture or demands in any one of a number of ways appears to be over-represented in the statistics in what we know of such killings, over-represented by Muslim families, although that type of murder certainly happens in other cultures. Some argue that the motives for such killings have their roots in customs which predate Islam. Others point out that the Koran does not sanction such extra-legal activities, much less encourage them; the same cannot be said of the Bible.

If murderers think they have a ‘right’ to murder young female members of their family then they should be thought of only as murderers because their murdering is not sanctioned by Islam, whatever they may think or claim. If it is true that such murderers are treated relatively leniently by the courts in predominantly Muslim countries then that is a political matter, not a religious one.

The UN has estimated that there are around 5,000 such murders a year worldwide, which may be a substantial underestimate, according to some sources.

Much harder to find are statistics on how many women are murdered each year worldwide by their husbands, male partners, or ex-husbands and ex-partners, because those women have tried to leave those husbands or partners. One thing is sure – when such cases are reported in the media it is seldom that you hear news of the murderer’s religious beliefs.

Maybe Muslims are over-represented in these statistics too. I very much doubt it. So few of those we learn of have names which suggest Muslim origins.

Whatever type of killing it is a woman is dead. Is it the case that if a Muslim has killed a female family member it is an ‘honour killing’ and his religion should be linked to the murder, but if any other man has done it it is simply murder and his religion is irrelevant, even though in the great majority of cases it will be outrage to his ‘self-esteem’ – honour, if you like, which has motivated him? Wrinkled Weasel seems to think so. Now that is bias. And that's just one word that you might apply.

I don’t know much about Islam. None of my best friends are Muslims. None are Christians either. I have noticed one thing about Muslim families though, and call this stereotyping if you like: they look after their old people. Overwhelmingly. Oh, far, far FAR more than they murder. They keep their elders at home, however infirm they become. We in the civilised ‘West’ park our old people in ‘care homes’ when they become too much bother, park them there for them to be lonely, confused, isolated, patronised, neglected, treated as half-wits and sometimes downright abused by strangers paid to ‘care’ for them who wish only finally to be rid of them, as we do. Muslim families tend not to do that. That much I do know.


Foxy Brown said...

That cultural difference is crucial in that Western (i.e white) feminists keep silent on killing of muslim women, who, within the scope of religious law, have violated the codes governing modesty, and perhaps even chastity. The hierarcy of victimhood means that race, a concept which can be indistinct from culture and religion, trumps sex. No one wants to be a racist. Although having said that, climate change deniers, paedophiles and critics of multiculturalism are morally akin (or at least according to Michael Buerk). It's very confusing.

Foxy Brown said...

By the way, I understand where Michael Buerk is coming from, and thought his intro to the Moral Maze was very amusing.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Foxy, I shall listen to it and get back.

Jim Baxter said...

It has nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with law and how it is applied.

So, I don't agree with a word of that.

Foxy Brown said...

@ Jim,

My point is that while stalking, domestic violence, rape and actual murder of women by men are condemned by feminists in the West as examples of the evils of patriachy, honour killings which are also specific to biological sex, are not. The fear of causing offence means that this religiously-motivated violence tends to be skated over by the academics in Women Studies Departments; certainly in institutions within the anglophone world. Islam does seem to be a factor, because in the Indian Sub-continent, one does not hear very much about so-called honour killings among Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or Jains. Mark Steyn would back me up on that one. Of course, that is not to say they do not occur.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born critic of Islam, has written extensively about the subjugation of women in that religion, and has, rather unjustly, been condemned by many on the left for her criticisms.

But, yes, I concede that one of the most admirable things about muslim communities within the UK is the love and care they administer to their elderly. I'd also like to say that I work in education and muslim children are among the only ones who want to learn, and it's a pleasure to teach them.

Dave said...

I read an article on Islam from an encyclopaedia published back in the 20s. The writer observed that the Qu'ran was akin to a war manual. The discipline and customs were there to keep control. I recently read that Islam was tribal in nature which is why westerners fail to understand it. Muslims are loyal to Allah, then family, then tribe, etc. Anyone who brings shame on the family brings shame on Islam. Anyone who brings shame on Islam brings shame on the family. Westerners just don't think like this. I can choose a different way of life to my family without invoking shame. I can change my religion if I so choose. I have a choice and I'm free to use it without fear.
Members of the tribe of Islam have no choices only obligations. They must never bring Islam into disrepute, which means they cannot convert.
There is no way that I can see how the West can change this.
What is needed is a revolution from within. Reformation.
The Reformation broke the Roman church stranglehold. Before the Reformation one could not dissent. The church had power of life and death and entry into the hereafter as weapons to keep the people under control. The Reformation allowed people to think and to question. The Reformation brought about the Enlightenment which unltimately allowed fredom of expression and the freedom to choose your religion.
Some may argue that the Reformation allowed Islam a foothold, but Jesus said he came to set the captives free.
If the world is to survive the rise of Islam we do not need Christians to proselytize muslims. We hope and pray that they will break their own chains through a reformation of their own making.

Foxy Brown said...

@ Dave,

The Reformation brought about the Enlightenment which unltimately allowed fredom of expression

One of the fruits of the Enlightenment was the accordance of political, civil and legal rights to women. Secular law affords females far greater protection than its religious equivalent. Perhaps another valid question is not how the figures tally up, in terms of a straight comparision if the statistics are available, but whether legal measures seek to remedy clear and blatant injustices.

Ruth@VS said...

Some years ago I was talking to a man of Pakistani origin, 3rd generation British and he referred disparagingly to more recent immigrants as "junglies", meaning pretty much as it sounds. The problem with all migration is that by and large it is those with least to lose who move; the poorest, the criminals, the least educated. Most recent immigration from south east asia has been from this poor, least educated group, mostly from the tribal areas. These people are very different to those who live in towns, they often have strong tribal customs which go back thousands of years, which they often misinterpret as religious obligations. My colleague was scathing of the way they behaved and felt it was bad for more established and integrated citizens like himself. His views are not unique, but rarely heard.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear Ruth, This is Jim's post (for the avoidence of writs)

It's a massive issue and we have not even touched on internicine squabbles.

I agree with your point about migrantation. We cannot accept all the poor and oppressed of the world. What is good news is that some parts of the world are growing a set of cojones (see below) and striving for the kind of society we enjoy.