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Palestinian Arab Journalist Calls for End to 'Honor Killings'

Journalist argues that the practice has roots in the Koran - and urges the Arab world to turn away from violent punishments for women.
By Dalit Halevi, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/12/2014, 9:31 PM

Muslim women
Muslim women
Flash 90

A 29 year-old Palestinian Arab mother of three was murdered north of Jerusalem on Monday. The husband, a Qalandiya resident, turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority (PA) police. 

In the Palestinian Arab magazine Al Hayaam published Saturday, journalist Omar Hilmi Al-Harol called to "cease killing women."

Al-Harol indicated that the phenomenon of murdering women for 'honor killings' is not a new phenomenon in the Arab and Islamic world, but that its roots are deep within the Koran - and  not a new phenomenon in the Arab and Islamic, but its roots lie in the Quran as a means of dealing with adulterers. 

Fourteen women were murdered in honor killings since 2014, according to Al-Harol; the last murder was a husband stabbing his wife, in Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah. The journalist sided in the article with a cultural and religious campaign to end harm to women within the framework of the Arab and Islamic world, and deliver messages of gender equality to all. 

Dr. Yunis Al-Astal, a member of the Council of Palestinian Clerics and a Hamas MP, recently criticized the punishment of honor killings in Palestinian Arab society.

In his statement, Astal argued that honor killings is a more serious crime than the reason behind the honor killings itself, as punishment for premarital sex - which is the most common reason for the murders, according to Astal - is only one hundred lashes, not execution.

Astal also clarified that while adultery is punishable by stoning according to Sharia Law, the sentence needs to be handed down by the court, not by family members. He slammed the fact that, often, honor killings are carried out in secret - with only close family members knowing her fate. 

The Hamas MP urged Palestinian Arabs to solve problems with promiscuity not by murder, but through arranging the two guilty parties to marry. 

The move may come as a surprise to some, as Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza since violently taking power there in 2007.

The group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.

The group also introduced a strict dress code for female university students, demanding that they wear “modest clothing."