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.