Monday, January 26, 2009

NPR Spins to Cover Up Muslim Honor Killing in Atlanta

NPR did a story on Chaudry Rashid, a Man Accused Of Killing Daughter For Family Honor today. The story doesn't mention the name of the murdered woman, Sandeela Kanwal, until the tenth paragraph. (Well, her first name is mentioned in paragraph eight.) And the story avoids mentioning the woman's extramarital affair which would support the honor killing hypothesis. Even worse, the story ended with a long section making the argument that it was not an honor killing and unrelated to Islam or ethnicity:
For Muslims in Atlanta, the attention was the last thing they needed.

Shahid Malik is a local representative of Atlanta's Pakistani population and one of the very few willing to speak about the Rashid case.

"This thing hurt the Muslim community, Pakistani community," he says.

He says that the killing has nothing to do with Islam, but that Rashid has little education and comes from a small village in Pakistan where tribal traditions are strong.

"I think in their mind, use the name honor killing, they give less punishment," he says. "But that is wrong because law is changed. This is American law."

Malik says years ago, Pakistan used to punish honor killings with only seven years' imprisonment. Now, he says, the sentence is greater. But he says Kanwal's murder doesn't fit in that category of crimes.

"Whatever this case is or not, this is not an honor killing," he says. "It is not based on Pakistani law. Chaudry Rashid loved his daughter."

Begner hopes the state doesn't make this about Islam or ethnicity. This death could have happened, he says, in any culture, with any family.

But I remembered some of the details of the case, and noticed one of the key facts supporting the honor killing hypothesis was that the woman killed was having an affair. So I did an archive search and found this from the July 11, 2008 Atlanta Jpournal Constitution:
Sandeela Kanwal, 25, of Jonesboro argued with her father as they drove home from her job at Wal-Mart Sunday night, according to the arrest warrant. He was angry about her extramarital affair and her desire for a divorce from a husband she didn't love. Kanwal married Majid Latif in an arranged marriage in the Punjab province of Pakistan in 2002.

When Kanwal said she would not reconsider ending her six-year marriage —- she filed divorce papers this month —- Rashid became enraged. He took a bungee cord he had carried from the car into the house and strangled his daughter in her bedroom. The warrant says he put the cord in his pocket so his daughter didn't see it.

Remember that in Islam, people who have committed adultery are punished by death according to some Hadith. That's Shariah Law. And Honor Killing is when the men of the family implement the punishment privately so that the family will not be "shamed".

Hat Tip Women Against Shariah


The Underground Pewster said...

The question I have is with one of the comments by Malik,

"Whatever this case is or not, this is not an honor killing," he says. "It is not based on Pakistani law. Chaudry Rashid loved his daughter."

So he loved his daughter, okay. Then was this a crime of passion?

It sounds like it meets the U.S. definition of murder to me.

The man was probably influenced by both his cultural and religious backgrounds, and the Muslim community needs to face up to the changing face of Islam in the U.S. and new immigrants with "Old World" ideas.

Christians are not immune to the sin of murder, and to "honor killing." We have read of "machismo" killings in other countries.

If only we would listen before we leap,

Matthew 19:17-18

"And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,"

Perpetua said...

Hi Underground Pewster,

I got the impression that Chaudry Rashid originally thought that if he explained that it was an honor killing type situation, he would get a light sentence or none at all, as was the case in his village of origin. However, that defense had no positive effect and instead caused outrage in the Atlanta community. So the Muslims in Atlanta are now trying to do damage control by saying it was not an honor killing. It is unfortunate that NPR played along.

With regard to loving his daughter, it is my impression that the people who commit honor killings do love their wives, daughters, sisters. They just don't love them enough not to kill them when they violate sexual boundaries.

While in Christianity, we are admonished not to bear false witness, Muslims are encouraged to lie if it is for the benefit of Islam. So Malik, in representing the Muslim community, would have no guilt in lying about this case if he thought it would benefit Islam to do so.