Dr. Muazzam Nasrullah at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan compiled a statistical study that attempts to quantify honour killings in Pakistan.
Nasrullah used local and national newspaper reports systematically compiled by the Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan as the basis for his study.
A total of 1,957 incidents of honor killings were recorded over four years, the study reported. The majority occurred in response to alleged extramarital relations.
But Nasrullah said he is
confident the results were lower than the actual number because not every event makes it into the media.
Honor killings are not unique to Pakistan, and the World Health Organization estimates about 5,000 women are murdered by family members in the
name of honor each year worldwide. Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, an adviser on gender violence at the World Health Organization, said honor killings are an extreme form of violence against women which we see primarily in the Middle East and in parts of
Asia, but in many ways they are not very different than some of the murders that are being documented in other places.
Nasrullah said the most important conclusion of his study is that more research needs to be done on honor killings to reveal
more about the causes and scope of the problem. His hope, expressed in the published study is that clear knowledge about the extent and the brutal consequences of [honor killings] may serve to alter traditional practices.
An Azeri immigrant in Russia's Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a mini-skirt, police have said.
The man's arrest follows the detention last week of two other citizens of
Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim state in the Caucasus, who confessed to murdering the girl, a university medical student. They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles ($4140) by the girl's father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting
national traditions and wearing a mini-skirt.
The girl was abducted on the street in Russia's second city on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and then shot twice in the head, the source said.
A Saudi women's group has blamed the country's religious police in the "honour" killing of two sisters shot dead by their own brother after they were arrested for mixing with unrelated men.
The Society for Defending Women's Rights in
Saudi Arabia said the religious police had placed the sisters' lives in danger when they arrested them and then placed them in a Riyadh women's shelter.
The two women, identified as Reem, 21, and Nouf, 19, were murdered after they left the
shelter on July 5. The brother shot them in the presence of their father who, according to newspaper reports, quickly forgave the son for defending the family's honour.
But the society blamed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and
Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, for sparking the brother's anger over his family's honour by arresting the girls in the first place: These women have not committed any crime to be killed in a such brutal way. Arresting women for mingling
with (unrelated males) should be stopped because it puts many Saudi women in danger and sometimes (costs) them their lives.
The women's group called on the Saudi authorities to charge the brother with murder and also bring to justice members
of the religious police involved in the two girls' case.
For Ahmet Yildiz, a stocky and affable 26-year-old, the choice to live openly as a gay man proved deadly.
Prosecutors say his own father hunted him down, traveling more than 600 miles from his hometown to shoot his son in an old neighborhood of
Istanbul. Ahmet Yildiz was shot outside his apartment building.
Yildiz was killed 16 months ago, the victim of what sociologists say is the first gay honor killing in Turkey to surface publicly. He was shot five times as he left his apartment to
buy ice cream. A witness said dozens of neighbors watched the killing from their windows, but refused to come forward. His body remained unclaimed by his family, a grievous fate under Muslim custom.
His father, Yahya Yildiz, whose trial in
absentia began in September, is on the run and believed to be hiding in northern Iraq.
The case, which has caused a bout of national soul-searching, has underlined the tensions between the secular modern Turkey of cross-dressing pop stars and a
more traditionalist Turkey, in which conservative Islam increasingly holds sway.
Ahmet Kaya, Ahmet Yildiz's cousin, said Yildiz was the only son of a deeply religious and wealthy Kurdish family from Sanliurfa, in the predominantly Kurdish
Kaya said Yildiz was tutoring fellow students so he could make extra money to live independently. But by coming out as gay in a patriarchal tribal family, he had become the ultimate affront to both religious and filial honor, even with
parents who adored him.
Ahmet's father had warned him to return to their village and to see a doctor and imam in order to cure him of his homosexuality and get married, but Ahmet refused. Ahmet loved his family more than anything else
and he was tortured about disappointing them. But in the end, he decided to be who he was.
That clash of values permeates Turkish society. While Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union is pushing the Muslim-inspired government to accept
and even promote civil liberties for women and homosexuals, some traditionalists remain ill at ease with a permissive attitude toward sexuality and gender roles.
Ms. Darama, a religious Muslim who wears a gold satin head scarf, said she was the
only one among her neighbors willing to testify: The police and local religious officials are trying to protect the killer because they think homosexuality is a sin, she said. But in Islam killing is an even bigger sin, and no one but Allah has
the right to decide between life and death. Ahmet was a nice, gentle boy and he didn't deserve to die.
Police have seen honour crime surge by 40% due to rising fundamentalism, new figures show.
Honour-based violence, including crimes like murder, rape and kidnap has increased in London during the last year.
Reported instances of
intimidation and attempts at forced marriage have also increased by 60%.
A report into the scale of the problem by Scotland Yard found there were 161 honour-based incidents recorded in 2007-8, of which 93 were criminal offences. But in 2008/9 the
number of incidents had risen to 256, with 132 being criminal offences.
The latest figures indicate that the trend is continuing, with 211 incidents reported in the last six months until October, of which 129 were offences - more than double the
number in the same period last year.
Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said the group is now dealing with four times more complaints relating to honour than two years ago.
She said: More women are
coming forward. They are becoming more aware of their rights in the UK, that there is help available and they feel confident enough to report matters to the police. But I also think cases and violence are increasing.
Queen Rania of Jordan is challenging Islamic hardliners by supporting tougher sentences for men who commit honour killings .
Queen Rania, who regularly appears without head-scarf, let alone hijab, has given her quiet support to women's
rights groups who want to change laws amounting to legal impunity for men involved in honour killings.
But standing against is are another symbol of the country's attempts to show a progressive face. Jordan's MPs, who have been given more power to
hold the government and royal family to account than in other Arab countries, have shown little enthusiasm for the moves.
This whole issue is being exaggerated, and the reason behind it is not innocent, said Sheikh Hamza Mansour, leader of
the parliament's Islamic Action Front. His coalition of Islamist and tribal representatives has so far blocked an attempt to introduce tougher sentences for men who have killed their sisters and daughters for bringing shame on their families: It's as if the government is giving up our personality to turn us into a Westernised society.
For Rania, it is deeply offensive that the killing of women not only appears to be condoned, but seems to be on the rise: the number of deaths reported, currently between 20 and 25 a year, is increasing. Sentences remain low, often as little
as six months to three years in jail.
The government is introducing a special tribunal to hear honour killing cases, but a parliamentary alliance has so far blocked attempts to change two articles of the legal code. The first is article 340, which
allows an in flagrante defence to a man who kills his wife and her lover if he finds them in bed together. It has only ever been used once. More important is article 98, a crime of passion defence, which is commonly used and gives reduced
sentences to those who claim they commit violence in the fury of the moment. The government wants a minimum penalty of five years even under this defence, but is coming under vociferous attack.
While the khap panchayats (Religious caste based councils) are getting louder in their protest against screening of new Bollywood movie Khap-a story of honour killing in Haryana, the cinema owners, in the stronghold of these bodies, seem to have
preferred to play safe by not screening the movie on its release on July 29.
Though, the cinema owners maintained that they had not received any threat from the khap panchayats, sources pointed out that apprehension of violence is one of the
reason behind disinterest of the cinema owners in screening the movie at this stage.
Prominent locals though have taken a serious view of some khap individual's threat to obstruct the screening of the film in Haryana. They jointly submitted a
memorandum to Rohtak district administration asking for necessary steps like providing security at the cinema halls.
In a joint statement issued in Rohtak by a group of academics, social activists, intellectuals and artists, expressed concern over
the culture of intolerance being spawned by some khap zealots saying: Fearing a possible threat by the khap elements, Rohtak theatre owners have reportedly decided not to screen the film due for all India release. This is highly unfortunate and a
direct attack on the right to freedom of expression. If one does not agree with the film, one is free to express dissent or approach the court if there is anything illegal in the film as the movie has been cleared by the Censor Board.
The suspected honour killing of a gay man in Turkey has provided the inspiration for a new film that aims to raise awareness about homophobia in the country.
The producer and co-director of Zenne Dancer , Mehmet Binay, has taken inspiration
from the tragic death of 26-year-old Ahmet Yildiz, a close friend, who he claims was murdered in 2008 by his own father for being gay.
As reported by CNN, Yildiz's father is still at large, with court documents identifying him as the main suspect.
A copy of the indictment suggests the father's motive to be that he did not accept the victim to be in a gay relationship .
Speaking to CNN, Binay said:
Death and murder is still on the agenda of our
country. We can't get rid of this mentality. People need to tolerate each other. They need to understand that different identities can live next to each other without disturbing each other.
Duma (Dolls) is an extremely powerful documentary by Abeer Zeibak Haddad. It is regarded as the first ever film to focus on and shed light to violence against and sexual assault of women in Palestine.
Haddad directs her camera
towards the lives and realities of five Arab women who have were sexually harassed or raped by their family members or friends at an early age.
What bring these women together is not only the violence they endured in different ways, but also their
silence imposed upon them by their families or society. The film creates a space for women to break the barrier of silence and fear and speak overtly about their experiences of rape and abuse.
In an interview, Haddad talks about the challenges she
faced in making the film:
People told me that it would be impossible to find women who were willing to come forward and talk about these issues in front of a camera. This is because these women fear negative
retributions from the community, and bringing shame to their family. Some women have lived with the secret of being sexually abused for years, they are even afraid to tell their own mothers. Even though I spoke with many women who had suffered from
sexual abuse, only five of the women agreed to be filmed. Out of those five only one agreed to have her face shown. It took months to find these women. Additionally I was afraid that society would not accept the film, I am finding that now people are
very open to seeing the film.
Haddad sees the main mission of her film to be able to make women who are victims of sexual abuse feel that they are not alone. I want this film to give women the courage to come forward with their
secrets. My mission is to show this film to as many audiences as possible, it does not matter what country a person is from or what religion they associate themselves with, I just want to show it to as many people as possible.