Honor Killings? What ‘Honor’ Would That Be?

A young American woman named Samya fled an arranged marriage and a Muslim father who threatened to kill her if she ever brought non-Muslim friends home, male or female.

The biggest crime that Samya committed — in the eyes of her father, her uncle, and her brothers — wasn’t to leave home, but to leave Islam. She no longer believes in God, and now lives incognito in a big U.S. city:

In the two years since [she left], Samya has learned to drive, manage a checking account and hold a job as a restaurant hostess. She takes college courses when she can, and changed her name to shield her from her uncle or other family members who might try to find her. …

Samya has joined a local atheist group. The members embraced her immediately, raising $1,000 and taking her shopping for clothes and meals. One man donated the $1,500 it would require to legally change her name.


Samya still lives in fear that her male relatives will track her down and murder her. Violent death is often the fate of women who “bring shame” upon Muslim families.

There were at least 5,000 honor killings in 2000, according to a U.N. report. In 2010, a British newspaper estimated the number as high as 20,000. Most honor killings involve the murder of one family member — usually a female — by other family members who believe the victim has somehow disgraced them.

In the U.S., where there have been at least five documented honor killings, teenaged sisters Sarah and Amina Said were shot and killed in 2008 by their Egyptian father, Yaser Said. He was reportedly upset that the girls had non-Muslim boyfriends. Said remains at large and authorities believe family members are helping to hide him.

Times five thousand. Or twenty thousand. No one knows.

[image via religionnews]