My recommendation

Let’s call it “control freak murder” instead of “honor killing”.

And when it happens, let’s ask where everyone is, not just “women’s groups”.

Seriously – how is an “honor killing” any different than an abuser killing his spouse/girlfriend for coming home too late, or spending time at her mothers or whatever other bizarre thing they lose it for?
These are murders. Not “killings”.

4 thoughts on “My recommendation

  1. These are different because there 1) there is a religious motivation behind honor killings, and 2) often entire families are plot and carry out the murder together, something you don’t see with crazy boyfriends/husbands. Men who beat up and attack their wives or ex-girlfriends don’t have brothers and uncles helping them. It’s quite different.

    I reecommend reading this op-ed from a Pakistani newspaper, “Truth and Denial”:


    “According to the UN’s Special Rapporteur “honour killings had been reported in Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Yemen”. Egypt is 90 percent Muslim, Iran 98 percent, Jordan 92 percent, Lebanon 60 percent, Morocco 99 percent, Pakistan 97 percent, the Syrian Arab Republic 90 percent and Turkey 99 percent. Of the 192 member-states of the United Nations almost all honour killings take place in nine overwhelmingly Muslim countries. Denial is not an option.”


  2. While I agree with you that the phrase “honor” killing is troubling, these crimes do have some material differences from other crimes of passion and murders.

    “Honor” killings are believed to have their origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic Arab tribal codes. In some cultures, a family’s honor resides in its females, and any affront to it (perceived, actual, or rumored), it is believed, must be avenged through killing. This is a huge difference from other kinds of murders. . .the risk profiles and the triggers are quite different, and this has implications for prevention and treatment.

    Another set of differences is that, in some countries where these crimes occur, the state effectively sanctions them by having perpetrator-friendly laws on the books. This is the case in Jordan and Syria, among others. In Jordan, “honor” killings are misdemeanors; the average sentence is six months. The killers are treated by their communities and their families as heroes.

    There are other differences, even though the outcomes of all murders are the same. . .someone dies.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

  3. Ellen is right of course, but I just wanted to expand her point to mention that ‘honour’ killing is by no means an Arab phenomenon but can be found in many cultures that combine male-dominance and the exchange of women as an organising principle of the family, tribe and community.

  4. And yet if in a country like Canada where it’s illegal and not cultural, if you called it murder, perhaps it would go away a lot quicker.

    I understand what you are saying, but Canada isn’t there. If a person from a country that believes in honor killing, does one, then it’s murder.

    If a group of her relatives do it, then it’s gang murder.

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