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Muslim women

{Originally posted on author’s website, FirstOneThrough}

Honor killings have a sad history throughout the Muslim world. Many families deliberately and systematically kill wives and daughters if there is any suspicion of the women bringing “dishonor” to the family. The cause of such shame may come from actual or feared adultery, refusal to marry a designated spouse, or even dressing inappropriately. The cultural rationale for the honor killings is that by murdering the offending women, honor is restored to the families.

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Gaza and the West Bank are similar to other parts of the Muslim world regarding the reasons for honor killings. However, the recent spike in the number of killings in the territories has been very dramatic and atypical. In 2011, there were five such murders in the territories. The number of homicides jumped to 13 in 2012, and doubled again to 27 in 2013. In just the first two months of 2014, 8 honor killings were reported by Palestinian media sources, a pace that would have put it on course for nearly doubling again.

By comparison, in Afghanistan an estimated 150 women are killed each year in honor killings. Afghanistan has over eight times the population of Gaza and West Bank, and 18 times Gaza alone. Therefore, on a proportionate basis, the Palestinians now kill twice as many women in honor killings as Afghanistan (or over three times as many if one only counts Gaza where most of the murders take place).

Adding insult to these horrific murders increasing popularity, was the lax way such murders were treated in Palestinian courts. According to the Palestinian Law (Article 340), the killers were not subject to any punishment.

He who discovers his wife or female relative committing adultery and kills, wounds or injuries one or both of them is exempted from any penalty, and he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty.”

The terrible jump in honor killing of women in Gaza and the West Bank did not make it to the pages of The New York Times. The courts absolution granted to the murderers was not a subject that the Times decided to cover. In 2011. In 2012. In 2013. In 2014.

The closest the New York Times came to an article about the Palestinians’ disregard for a woman’s life in the territories was in an article by Jodi Rudoren in October 2012. That article was about a particular women’s rights advocate. While one would imagine some specifics about the lack of women’s rights and a review of honor killings being covered in such an article, there was barely any mention.

  • There was no description of honor killings
  • No report on the increasing number of killings
  • No review of Palestinian Law absolving the murderers

Instead, Roduren chose to describe the difficulty of a specific woman acting as a rights advocate in Gaza (as opposed to the hardship all women face in Gaza). Of course, according to Roduren, the main source of the hardship was Israel:

  • ““psychological siege” imposed by a combination of Israeli restrictions on travel and trade”
  • “lost a personal battle last month when Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by her and three other women to study in the West Bank.”
  • “the resistance of the Israeli occupation as a priority,”
  • Israeli court ruled, 2 to 1, against the four women
  • “Israeli warplane hit an apartment building”

So what does a reader take-away from the New York Times?

    1. While the New York Times occasionally covered stories of honor killings in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it never covered those killings in Gaza, despite the greater prevalence in Gaza.
    2. When the paper had a chance to describe the honor killings in Gaza in an article about a woman’s rights advocates, it opted not to do so.
    3. The thrust of the sole article on the morbid topic laid most of the blame on Israel, as opposed to the Palestinians themselves

Hooray New York Times. You gave a pass for Muslim misogyny and murder meted out by Palestinians. Absolution of the Arab sins came from Jews just across the Green Line.

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Paul Gherkin is founder of the website FirstOneThrough, which is dedicated to educating people on Israel, the United States, Judaism and science in an entertaining manner so they speak up and take action. In a connected digital world, each person can be a spokesperson by disseminating news to thousands of people by forwarding articles or videos to people, or using the information to fight on behalf of a cause because In a connected digital world. YOU are FirstOneThrough.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Why the people do not care about others anymore? Where are the Media in the world? They are there if they want to support the Antisemitism /Racism!!!! / But they are quiet by killing innocent women.

  2. It would be interesting to compare on a "proportionate level" the number of young girls/women killed in the USA on an annual basis. Sure, it may not be called HONOR KILLING, but….

  3. Theirs is a barbaric system. They deny education, freedom, and basic rights to over half of their citizens. Where is the honor in any of it? What good can come out of it?

    To speak of "honor killings" is an oxymoron in itself, for the very contemplation of the act dishonors both the perpetrator and the victim.

    The Islamic system is ultimately doomed, as it is based upon taking, and exclusive male gratification, to the detriment of all females plus those others whom they come against. It is a socially and culturally immature system, which of course will never grow into spiritual adulthood.

    Their end is fully predictable.

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