After reading this, I think I can faintly recall someone at some point arguing that Islam was a religion of peace as opposed to those nasty Christian Crusaders. But, you know, in the scope of history and in the context in which they were carried out, the Crusades weren’t all that extreme–indeed, they began as a reaction to Muslim expantionism. Be that as it may, the era of such Christian militarism is behind us, and save for the possible exception of some cults and fringe fundamentalists groups that can hardly be considered Christian, things like this are unheard of within Christian culture*…not so in the modern Muslim world, from North Africa to Jordan to Turkey to Pakistan… honor killings are all the rage among certain groups of Muslims. Hat tip to Fr. WB.

They call them the “virgin suicides.”

Every few weeks in this Kurdish area of southeast Anatolia, which is poor, rural and deeply influenced by conservative Islam, a young woman tries to take her life. Others have been stoned to death, strangled, shot or buried alive. Their offenses ranged from stealing a glance at a boy to wearing a short skirt, wanting to go to the movies, being raped by a stranger or relative, or having consensual sex.

Hoping to join the European Union, Turkey has tightened the punishments for “honor crimes.” But rather than such deaths being stopped, lives are being ended by a different means. Parents are trying to spare their sons from the harsh punishments associated with killing their sisters by pressing the daughters to take their own lives instead.

Women’s groups here say the evidence suggests that a growing number of “dishonored” girls are being locked in a room for days with rat poison, a pistol or a rope, and told by their families that the only thing resting between their disgrace and redemption is death.

{read it all}

*of course, there are other horrible and abusive things that happen all over the US and other predominantly Christian countries as well…some of the psychological abuse is certainly similar, and the pressure to not talk about abuse and/or incest is certainly just as high… but the whole business of honor killing (or pressuring someone into an honor suicide) is sickening. Not only that, but they could be coming to a country or neighborhood near you, as it has in the UK, Denmark and Germany:

This week, for the very first time, a court in Europe sentenced nine members of the same family for the honour killing of a female relative. Honour killings, where a woman is murdered for the shame that she is said to have brought on her family, are a growing phenomenon in Western Europe. In December 2005 Nazir Afzal, a spokesman of Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service stated that the United Kingdom has had “at least a dozen honour killings” between 2004 and 2005. British police are investigating more than 100 cases of women who died under mysterious circumstances. Germany was shocked last year by the murder of Hatin Surucu, a young Turkish woman who was killed by three brothers because she was “a whore who lived like a German.” A German women’s organization states that “There are no concrete statistics available, but unofficial estimates [of honour killings] are considered to be high. We get calls from women caught in difficult situations almost every two weeks.”

{read it all}

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