Friday, June 27, 2008

A different kind of 'honor killing'

Most of the time when one reads about an "honor killing" in the news, the victim is a female member of a family whose actions are felt to have brought dishonor on the family. The actions leading to an honor killing can range anywhere from excessively "western" behavior to "allowing" oneself to be raped. In the twisted minds of the killers, a family's honor is redeemed when male members of the family - usually a father, brother or uncle - kill an "offending" female member of the family.

In an unusual case in Britain recently, the husband of a young lady of Pakistani background was killed because he wasn't the husband hand-picked for her by her family. The murder was sentenced to life in prison.

The Telegraph article provides a story behind the story, though, that's worth reading for its description of life for some female members of Pakistani immigrant families in Britain:
Tom Bayliss, prosecuting, had told the court that Yasmin Khan was one of six children born to Pakistani parents living in Halifax.

She attended a local school until the age of nine when she was taken by her mother to Pakistan.

Mother and daughter moved in with Miss Khan's uncle, Rehmat Khan, and her brother, Arza.

When Mrs Khan returned to Britain her daughter spent her days doing housework. She was not placed in education again for three years.

At the age of 15 she was allowed to return to Britain, with the caveat that she would later return to Pakistan to marry one of her nephews.

Back in Yorkshire, she tried to regain control of her life, finding a job as a receptionist and studying for A Levels at Calderdale College.

Her family disapproved of her behaviour and she was sometimes beaten.

In 2002 she was taken back to Pakistan and told she would only return to Britain "when you start behaving yourself".

Arza Khan was violent towards her and in response to this she took an overdose.

While in Pakistan she met and fell in love with Mr Mehmood. She flew back to Britain and lived for a time away from her family in both Edinburgh and Cardiff.

During this period Arza Khan made telephone calls in which he threatened to kill her.

Miss Khan and her chosen lover were secretly married in Pakistan in October 2004.

However, she became homesick and once again flew home to Britain. He followed, and lived at a secret address in Halifax. It was from this house that he was taken away and executed on February 11 last year.
Positively medieval.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging about this, Eric.

Another strange aspect of this case is that Yasmin wasn't murdered, too. I'm worried about her. I think she's at high risk.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Eric said...

That was one thing I meant to remark on here, but didn't. I think that with the convictions, she's probably a bit safer than she otherwise would have been. But as long as there are male members of her family about, she's probably at risk.

BTW...I got your book from Amazon not long ago, and it's in my summer reading queue. It looks very good.