hey..someone tell em its the 21st century!!!!

  1. Yak
    13,672 Posts.
    Palestinian women, girls killed for family 'honor'

    Report: Fathers, brothers, sons murder scores of innocent females each year to avert shame

    Posted: May 6, 2003
    1:00 a.m. Eastern

    Each year, dozens and probably hundreds of brutal "honor killings" of Palestinian women and girls – most of whom are virtually blameless – go unreported, according to an anthropologist's recent study.

    In a story for World and I magazine, James Emery says women in the communities of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel and Jordan are killed by male kinsmen in an attempt to protect the reputations of their families.

    Emery says the women "are murdered in their homes, in open fields, and occasionally in public, sometimes before crowds of cheering onlookers."

    Most occur among Muslims in poor, rural tribal areas or among uneducated urban dwellers, he says, although the practice is not explicitly condoned by the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

    In the feudal, patriarchal societies of the Middle East, writes Emery, "honor is based on what men feel is important, and reputation is everything."

    "Unfortunately," he says, "thousands of women have been killed in the name of honor because imagination and rumors are as important as actions and events."

    When a girl's chastity is in question, he says, her family feels the shame, even if she is raped or the rumors prove unsubstantiated.

    "A woman shamed is like rotting flesh," a Palestinian merchant told Emery. "If it is not cut away, it will consume the body. What I mean is the whole family will be tainted if she is not killed."

    Woman always blamed

    Emery says the reasons for honor killings include allegations of premarital or extramarital sex, for refusing an arranged marriage or attempting to obtain a divorce, or simply for talking with a man. The murders are carried out by fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins or sons.

    Among Palestinians, all sexual encounters, including rape and incest, are blamed on the woman.

    "The issue of consent is irrelevant when it comes to honor killings," says Marsha Freeman, director of the International Women's Rights Action Watch. "It has to do with the woman being defiled. It completely objectifies the woman as being about her sexuality and purity. It makes her not human."

    Women's groups and human-rights organizations campaigning to eliminate honor killings are hindered by the lack of reliable statistics.

    Under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, at least 25 "official" honor killings occur each year, says Emery, but the actual number of deaths is much higher.

    Many murders are ruled an accident, suicide, or family dispute, if they're reported at all, he says: "Police and government officials are often bribed to ignore crimes and hinder investigations. A woman beaten, burned, strangled, shot, or stabbed to death is often ruled a suicide, even when there are multiple wounds."

    Because honor killings are accorded special status, murderers serve little or no jail time, the anthropologist notes. Some men convicted of premeditated murder serve as little as three months and are treated as celebrities by family and friends upon release.

    Emery says in communities where the crime is prosecuted, teen-age brothers are encouraged to kill their sisters because the consequences will be less severe due to their age. Relatives of the victims, including mothers and sisters, often defend the killings and occasionally help set them up.

    "The brutality of the attacks is shocking," he says, recalling the story of an 18-year-old Palestinian man who stabbed his teen-age sister 40 times because of a rumor she was involved in an extramarital affair.

    "The family thanked God for her death," Emery says. "In an adjacent neighborhood, a 16-year-old boy killed his divorced mother, stabbing her repeatedly as he chased her into the street."

    According to Emery, some Palestinian women who face a loss of honor and certain death have been offered a chance "to die with dignity" by strapping on explosives and killing Israelis.

    Emery has done extensive research in Palestinian communities and has lived and traveled overseas for a number of years. He is an expert witness on Asian and Arab culture in civil and criminal cases and a lecturer on Middle Eastern terrorism.

    He says the murder of females in the Middle East is an ancient tradition that began prior to the arrival of Islam in A.D. 622. Arabs sometimes buried infant daughters to avoid the possibility they would later bring shame to the family, Emery notes.
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