There have been a couple of columns in the National Post in the last few days that I feel need some rebuttal.
The first was by a member of Canada’s Parliament, Mr. Ujjal Dosanth. His piece lamented the atmosphere of political correctness that seems to prevent Canadians from speaking out about the horror of honour killings. Nowhere, however, does he seem to be aware of the horror of Human Rights tribunals in Canada that are prepared to prosecute anyone who speaks unkindly of other people’s customs.
Furthermore, he states, most curiously, that no religion “condones” honour killing. Au contraire, Mr. Dosanth. An act can be condoned by actual approval or it can be condoned by lack of objection.
In a column in Front Page Magazine, Islamic expert, Robert Spencer, has this to say about Islamic views of honour killings:
… but the problem with honor killing is sanctioned by Islamic law and custom, thus making it very difficult to stamp out in Islamic communities. Hindu dowry-killing is not sanctioned by Hindu teaching. It is against the law in India. In Islam, however, the situation is quite different: Syria recently scrapped a law limiting 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.’”
That’s right: two years for murder.
And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
What’s more, a manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.
No penalty – that is condonation no matter how you slice it. This is why you never hear Muslim spokespeople do anything but re-direct attention to cultural or ethnic practices whenever anyone raises the issue of honour killings and Islam.
The second column that caught my attention was one by Chris Selley, rattling on about how honour killing is such small potatoes in the great pantheon of murders in Canada (he cites statistics) and we should all just take a pill and settle down and stop calling for an overhaul of our immigration laws to stamp out this non-plague.
This is what I would call a shadow boxing column.
Who is calling for an overhaul of the immigration system to stamp out honour killings: somebody in the mainstream media, any members of Parliament, or any political party that could form the government in Canada? I know of no such movement, so Selley is simply punching aimlessly at the air.
What is missing from his statistical-analytical assessment is the horror that attaches to a crime in which parents kill their children.
Thousands of parents in this country put up with teenage children who shoot themselves up with drugs, break into homes, are involved in acts of violence, driving while drunk, and all sorts of other anti-social behaviour, while they bad-mouth their parents in the process. Such behaviour prematurely puts grey hair on the heads of the parents, but they love their offspring and stick with them until they get through these trying years and mature into productive adults.
The idea that parents would kill a teenage girl just because she wanted to wear jeans and tee-shirts and hang around with her friends at the mall is too terrible to contemplate.