Op-Ed: Ten Minutes on Honor Killings
Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Fellow of the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is at work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
I recently joined Michael Coren at Sun TV in Canada for the second time. The interview took place at the Time Warner building where CNN provides studios for other networks. The view of Columbus Circle, which also houses the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Jazz at Lincoln Center, is breathtaking, very Old New York. One contemplates Central Park trees, a manicured circular garden, and of course, the statues of Christopher Columbus and the USS Maine National Monument, a memorial to sailors who died on board the USS Maine in 1898 in Havana, Cuba.
The Sun studio driver was an exceedingly courtly gentleman who unfurled an overly large and comforting umbrella and walked me into and out of the car in the driving rain. Nice touch.
Back in the olden days, television and radio studios had no security. And, then things changed: first, one's name was kept on a list and one had to show photo IDs; then, escorts were provided; finally Israeli-style security systems were installed, complete with metal detectors and equipment to monitor attaché cases and handbags, just like in airports today.
And then--one does what one came to do. Look into a completely black camera and engage with one's delightful host who can be heard, but not seen. I was there to speak about honor killings (see video below). There were many important things that I did not have time to discuss.
I should have congratulated Canada for prosecuting both the actual perpetrators and the collaborators in the Shafia Honor Killing. However, the 25 years without parole sentence for the murder of the four Muslim female victims only amounts to 6 1/2 years for each victim. Not good enough. (Am I this bloodthirsty?)
I should also have congratulated Canada for, after twelve years, and a complex legal battle, now being ready to extradite Malkit Kaur Sidhu, the heartless Sikh-Canadian mother who had her daughter brutally murdered abroad because the young woman had dared to marry a social inferior.
Canada did not try Aqsa Parvez's mother who lured her daughter home from a protective shelter. The United States did not try the Said sisters' mother who also lured her girls home to certain death at their father's hand in Irving, Texas. Nor did the US try Noor Almaleki's mother who helped her husband flee. It should have done so. These mothers are all accessories to murder.
Host Michael Coren (an excellent interviewer), gave me the opportunity to "own" my own research. He noted that 91% of honor killings in the West are perpetrated by Muslims. And, said I, that statistic is mine, I reported that precise percentage in my 2010 study published at Middle East Quarterly.
I quickly pointed out that Hindus and Sikhs do commit honor killings as well but they do so mainly in India; Hindu immigrants do not conduct themselves this way in the West. For nearly two years now, various people have used that particular statistic without noting where it came from.
Ah--I do go on. Here, watch the interview. I hope you find it enlightening.