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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Honor Violence in America

Muslim women

For this reason, many of the victims of honor violence -– girls and women who have, for instance, refused a promised marriage; fallen in love with a boy the parents do not accept; or who are too Westernized, at least according to the family’s standards — are not safe even in domestic violence shelters. The situation has grown so difficult that in the Netherlands, young girls are sometimes sequestered in prison cells — the only place where they can be certain they are safe. Some will only appear in public in disguise, including full face masks and wigs. Other girls, unable to resolve the conflict between submitting to marriage, and essentially being raped by a stranger — not to mention the physical torture and possible murder if they resist — prefer to end their lives. Carla Rus, a psychiatrist who specializes in working with these women in the Netherlands, reports that suicide among young Hindu and Muslim women is as much as five times higher than among the rest of the population.

According to Congressman Wolf, the new bill will allow the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to examine the extent of the problem in the US, based not only on Aiya Altameemi’s case, but on research from Tahirih, in addition to the cases that have ended in the death of the victims: girls such as Jessica Mokdad, murdered at 20 by her father, an Iraqi immigrant; Noor Al-Maleki, also Iraqi, who was also 20 when her father ran her down in the family car (she, too, had refused an arranged marriage, and was considered “too Westernized” by the family); and Aasiya Hassan in Buffalo, NY, whose husband, when she threatened to leave their marriage, beheaded her.

“This is just the beginning,” notes Wolf. “It’s from here that we will look to find out if there really is a problem, or if this is just an isolated few incidents. Until now, it seems the FBI has not wanted to look at it; but there seem to be enough dots on the page that we feel it is time for them to gather data.”

Not everyone, however, finds this idea admirable. Some worry that the bill targets Muslims, defining a category of crime that singles out specific cultures and religions.

“That’s ridiculous,” says Rep. Wolf; he points out that his office has long championed issues on freedom-of-religion. “If there are honor killings and honor violence, wherever it’s going on, it ought to be ended. This is just the beginning of our country beginning to deal with this issue in a way that we should have been dealing with it a long time ago.”

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org 

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Americans, however, have been reluctant to accept the notion that honor violence occurs on US soil, just as – until recently – they insisted that the radicalization of Muslims in Europe was not a problem that could confront Americans. But with events such as Nidal Malik Hassan’s 2009 attack at Fort Hood we’ve learned otherwise: radical Islam is alive and well in these United States and with it, religious and culturally-based violence against women.

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