Honor killings are used as a way to control behaviors typically in male dominated societies, often in the middle east. Usually, we hear about a daughter, a neice, a sister, mother, or a wife who has been murdered for violating a traditional role in their interaction with other males outside of their family. Unfortunately, this week honor killings are making news headlines because of a New York television owner’s death. It is being alleged that Aasiya Hassan was killed by her husband Muzzammil under the heading of an honor killing because of her desire for a divorce after some domestic violence issues, allegedly between husband and wife.
The Hassan’s started their television station in 2004; they did so because they wanted to combat any form of anti -Islamic sentiments that have been building since 911. They called their station Bridges TV.
Muzzammil Hassan has not admited that he killed his wife; however, many believe that he could not tolerate her request for a divorce, as it would dishonor their family. Because the Hassan’s were viewed as leaders for the Islamic community, because of their position in the media…many people are concerned that if it is proven that he did in fact kill his wife in a misguided attempt to protect the family honor…that this will have a terrible influence and impact on those who saw them as leaders in the United States.
Honor killings are not honorable. It should not be tolerated in any country. There are better and more effective ways to change behaviors that cultures or families find unacceptable. The United States can not tolerate this kind of behavior…killings of any kind are punnishable by law. Mrs. Hassan was beheaded; this is a cruel way to die. This is an opportunity to support those in the Islamic community who will stand up and say these “honor killings” are not something that we all support. We must not judge all middle eastern people by the actions of a select few.
I would like to express sympathy to those friends and family members of Aasiya Hassan. No one deserves to die in this manner. We must demand that those who choose to violate human rights and commit honor killings be held legally accountable. Human life is to be respected and women need to be valued and protected from honor killings. Cultural differences need to be addressed in terms of educating each other and finding ways to uphold the good things each culture has to offer.
I think that the goals that the Hassan’s had, to bridge the gap of understanding, was a good goal…it is a terrible thing that the work that was started by them will be overshadowed by the manner of death that Aasiya experienced; it is unfortunate that her beheading reinforces the violent perception that many people have of the Islamic culture.