While seldom reported, there are an estimated 27 Islamic “honor killings” each year in the United States.
The troubling statistic is from a recent study commissioned by the Department of Justice.
“Hidden among thousands of nondescript murders and cases labeled as domestic violence,” the cases are often “motivated by a radical and dark interpretation of Islam,” Fox News reported.
Honor killings typically involve men attacking wives and daughters over actions perceived to insult the Islamic faith. The crimes are secretive, according to Farhana Qazi, a former U.S. government analyst and senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism.
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“Cases of honor killings and/or violence in the U.S. are often unreported because of the shame it can cause to the victim and the victim’s family,” Qazi told Fox News. “Also, because victims are often young women, they may feel that reporting the crime to authorities will draw too much attention to the family committing the crime.”
According to the study, being “too Westernized” is the overwhelming reason most victims are killed:
“Honor Violence Measurement Methods,” a study released earlier this year by research corporation Westat, and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, identified four types of honor violence: forced marriage, honor-based domestic violence, honor killing and female genital mutilation. The report, which estimated that 23-27 honor killings per year occur in the U.S., noted that 91 percent of victims in North America are murdered for being “too Westernized,” and in incidents involving daughters 18 years or younger, a father is almost always involved. And for every honor killing, there are many more instances of physical and emotional abuse, all in the name of fundamentalist Islam, say experts.
And while women are frequently the victims, men can sometimes be targeted if they reject an arranged marriage or are assumed to be homosexual.
Here are a couple of examples of honor-motivated killings included in the Fox News report:
– In 2012, police arrested the mother, father and sister of 19-year-old Aiya Altameemi in Phoenix after they allegedly beat, restrained and burned her for reportedly declining an arranged marriage with an older man and talking to another boy.
– In 2009, Aasiya Hassan was beheaded by her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, at the Buffalo, N.Y., Muslim TV station where they worked for allegedly requesting a divorce. The Pakistani-born killer defended himself at trial, never denied his guilt and was convicted in 2011. A few months before Hassan was killed, Sandeela Kanwal was strangled by her father outside Atlanta for failing to “be true to her religion” because she wanted to leave an arranged marriage.
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