Britain’s honour crime shame

Jan 14, 2019 by

by Julie Bindel, UnHerd:

On Saturday, Canada granted asylum to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun. Detailed in a stream of tweets, the Saudi teenager had refused to board a flight from Bangkok to Kuwait, barricading herself into her hotel room to escape her abusive family. “My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things. My life is in danger,” she told journalists.

It is just the latest example of the fear and abuse many women experience in communities in which ‘honour-based violence’ is the norm. This is nothing short of a disgrace – and the fact that so many police and prosecutors take a ‘softly, softly approach’ shows us the level or cowardice and incompetence in dealing with this issue.

Originating from tribal customs, primarily in the Middle East and southern Asia, honour crimes can occur in Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Jewish communities. But the victims are mainly girls and women living under Islamic law.

Male family members are required to spy on the female members, with the focus on virginity, chastity and the family’s reputation. If the women are seen as violating the ‘honour code’ by behaving in a way that is forbidden ­– for example, if she refuses an arranged marriage, is accused of adultery, liaises with a man from another religion, or becomes ‘Westernised’ – she can be punished for disgracing her family. In countries such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, that punishment could be rape or murder.

But honour crime is not restricted to Middle Eastern communities. While the UK may pride itself on being a liberal democracy with one of the finest criminal justice systems in the world, many so-called ‘honour crimes’ are being committed on British soil – and the UK is tragically failing the women and girls who are the victims.

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