Honor Killings: A Horrific Way To Restore A Family’s Dignity

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE DISSCUSSES CASES OF ABUSE AND VIOLENT MURDER!

ATTENTION: Please note that I am not insulting or speaking out against any culture, country, or religion. I am spreading awareness and condemning ‘honor killings’.

I do not consider myself a Muslim. I have nothing against the religion, I just don’t follow the practices and beliefs. I grew up in a house hold where I was blessed to have the option of religious freedom. I do however consider myself an Iranian. Because I am. My dad’s side of the family is from Iran and my mom’s side is from the United States. So, if you want to get specific, I am an Iranian-American. I’m not ashamed of that and I never will be. I’m proud to tell people that I have cultural roots linked to Iran and the middle east. I am proud to say that I grew up being able to explore both sides of my culture. Why should anyone have to be ashamed about where they come from? Just like everywhere else in the world there are bad Iranians and bad people who live in and are from the middle east. But that doesn’t and never will define me. For there are plenty of good people there too. People who want to spread awareness and make strong changes. People who want you to know that one bad apple doesn’t always have to spoil the bunch.

We are lucky enough to live in a society where we are free to express ourselves and live as we please (within the means of the law). If you smoke cigarettes in public or wear bikinis to the beach people don’t usually assume that you have no dignity and disgraced your family. If you are seen kissing a boy in public or are out alone with them it is thought of as normal. If you got caught drinking in your parents’ backyard underage, or spent the night at a boyfriend’s house when you told your mom you were spending the night at your best friend’s house you most likely got a lecture and were grounded. But you aren’t killed for it. Unfortunately, in parts of the world some people are.

An honor killing (also knowns as a shame killing) is the murder of an individual, either an outsider or member of a family, by someone trying to protect what they see as the dignity and honor of their family. Honor killings are often connected to religion, caste, and other forms of social stratification (wealth, income, race, gender, etc.) or sexuality. Those murdered will often have a more liberal outlook on life than the murderer and are not genuinely “dishonorable”. In most cases these killing involve a woman or girl being murdered by male family members due to the belief that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family name, reputation, or prestige. These killings are believed to have originated from tribal customs passed down through the years. They are common in various parts of the world, as well as in immigrant communities in countries which do not encourage honor killings. They tend to occur more in rural and tribal areas but at times to happen in urban areas. 

Although condemned by international conventions and human rights organizations, honor killings are often justified by various communities. Isn’t that disgusting? In cases where the victim is an outsider, not killing this individual would, in some cases, cause family members to be accused of being a coward, a moral defect, and be stigmatized in their community. Most reasons for honors killings include being in a relationship or associating with social groups outside of the family that may least to social exclusion. Examples are having premarital, extramarital, or postmarital sex (in cases of divorce and widow(er)ship), refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, asking for a divorce or separation, engaging in mixed marriage, being the victim of sexual crime, dressing in clothing that are thought to cause sexual advances, and homosexuality. Though both men and women commit and are victims of honor killings, in many communities’ conformity to moral standards differ between the genders, such as stricter standards of chastity for women.

Reliable figures of honor killings are often hard to find, mainly because “honor” is either improperly defined or is defined in multiple ways. As a result, most cases are hardly given for objectively determining whether it involved an honor killing. It is often presumed that more women than men are victims of honor killings, and victims counts often contain women exclusively. These killings occur in many parts of the world, but are most widely reported in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. Historically, honor killings were common in Southern Europe and Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Greece. Now that we have a little bit of background knowledge on honor killings, I wanted to share some stories I found with you. Some have sparked change in certain countries and communities and others have flown under the radar or have been accepted. Either way, these men and women deserve to be remembered and should not have fallen victim to these horrific crimes.

Banaz Mahmod 1985-2006

Banaz Mahmod – Banaz Mahmod was born in the rural Mirawdale tribal area of Iraqi Kurdistan in 1985. She moved with her to the United Kingdom in 1995 when she was ten years old. They sought asylum and settled in Mitcham, South London, England. Although in a new environment the Mahmods held onto their strict traditional Kurdish beliefs. At the age of seventeen, Banaz was forced into an arranged marriage with a man from the family’s hometown. He was ten years her senior, illiterate, and old-fashioned. She contacted police throughout her marriage, reporting that she had been raped and beaten by her husband on multiple occasions. She made her family aware of the violence being inflicted upon her, but they told her that leaving the marriage would humiliate them. Despite the objections and with the abuse continuing, she eventually left her husband after two years of marriage. She returned to her family home in July 2005 and started a relationship with, Rahmat Sulemani, a man her of her choosing. Banaz’s uncle, Ari Agha Mahmod, and her father, Mahmod Babakir Mahmod, did not approve of her actions and were told that Banaz and Rahmat continued their relationship despite their claims that they had ended it. My man’s name was Mahmod Mahmod. Dude, what? On December 2, 2005, a meeting was held at Ari Agha’s house where it was agreed that both Banaz and Rahmat should be killed for bringing shame onto the family and community. Fearing for her safety, she went to the police and reported that her uncle had threatened to kill both her and her boyfriend after overhearing a phone call discussing the plan. On December 12th, Banaz took a letter that named the people claiming to kill her to Wimbeldon Police Station. On New Year’s Eve, the police were summoned to a café in Wimbledon after Banaz had arrived in a distresses state claiming that her dad had tried to kill her. Unfortunately, the policewoman who interviewed Banaz did not believe her. On January 22, 2006, an attempt was made to kidnap Rahmat Sulemani. Three of the men involved were among those whom Banaz had already named to the police. Both Banaz and Rahmat separately reported the incident and Banaz was asked to return to the police station on January 24th, but she never arrived. On the morning of January 24, 2006, Banaz’s parents left their home to take their youngest daughter to school and do something shopping while Banaz was sleeping in the living room. Mohamad Hama, Mohammed Ali, and Omar Hussain arrived at the home shortly thereafter. The three men subjected Banaz to more than two hours of rape and torture before strangling her to death. Her body was put in a suitcase, taken to a house in Handsworth, West Midlands, and buried in the garden. On January 25th, Banaz was reported missing by her boyfriend, who had become concerned for her welfare after not being able to contact her. As a result, her parents and uncle were interviewed and their homes were searched. The interviews exposed inconsistencies in stories originally given by Banaz’s parents on the day she went missing. After searching Sulemani’s phone records and listening to exhanges between himself and Mahmod Mahmod the case was turned over to the Metropolitan Police Homicide and Serious Crime Command. After searching unsuccessfully for Banaz and more interviews her dad and uncle, along with other suspects, were taken into custody. On February 4, 2006, Marid Hama was charged with murder. While in prison Hamda bragged about what he and the others had done. He directly implicated Banaz’s uncle, Ari Agha Mahmod, and her cousins Mohammed Ali, Omar Hussain, and Dana Amin. On April 25, 2006 Banaz’s body was discovered. On May 1st, Ari Mahmod was charged with murder. Mahmod Mahmod was charged with murder that August. Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain fled to Iraqi Kurdistan after the crime. In October 2007, Scotland Yard were notified that Mohammed Ali was in cusody in Sulaimaniya where he had killed a teenage boy in a hit and run accident. He was extradited to the United Kingdom in June 2009. Omar Hussain was extradited in March 2010. In June 2007 Banaz’s dad and uncle were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of twenty and twenty-three years respectively. Mohammad Hama pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life, with a minimum term of seventeen years. In November 2010 Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain were found guilty of murder and were sentenced to serve twenty-two and twenty-one years, respectively. In December 2013, Dana Amin was found guilty and jailed for eight years for helping dispose of Banaz’s body. Banaz Mahmod was twenty years old at the time of her death.

Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu 1975-2000

Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu – Jaswinder “Jassi” Kaur was born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia in 1975. Her wealthy family was headed by her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, in the Fraser Valley, after the family migrated from Punjab, India. On a visit to Jagroan, India in December 1994, Jassi met and fell in love with Sukhwinder “Mithoo” Singh Sidhu. They kept in touch over the years after Jassi returned to Maple Ridge. In 1999, Jassiand her family made another trip to India with purpose of arranging a marriage for her. Sukhwinder claimed that he would bring sleeping pills when visiting Jassi and her sympathetic aunt would mix them the food at dinner time to make sure everybody was deep asleep. After everyone had gone to bed, he would jump over a wall around 11:00 p.m., enter the home, and meet Jassi in her room. Jassi and Sukhwinder secretly married on March 15, 1999 in a gurdwara. She did not tell her family about the marriage but continued to write and send money to Sukhwinder. After a year had past relatives in India contacted Jassi’s parents and told them about the marriage. They strongly disapproved of the marriage because Sukhwinder was from Jassi’s mom’s village and belonged to the same Sidhu clan. Traditionally such alliances among close relatives are forbidden. Jassi’s parents attempted to persuade her to get a divorce by offering to buy her a car and materials possessions before beating her. After that failed, her family pressured her into signing documentation, disguising it as legal paperwork that would help Sukhwinder come to Canada. In reality, the document contained criminal accusations against him. When Jassi discovered this, she contacted Indian officials, stating that the accusations were false and she was tricked into signing the forms. After this, her family forcefully held her captive on in their home. Jassi escaped with the help of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who escorted her from the residence. She borrowed money from a friend to buy a plane ticket, and flew to India on May 12, 2000, to reunite with her husband, On June 8th, the couple were kidnapped by hitmen hired by Jassi’s uncle. Sukhwinder was violently beaten, while Jassi was taken to an abandoned farmhouse, where she was murdered. On June 9, 2000, her body was discovered in an irrigation canal near Kaonke Khosa. She was battered and her throat had been slit. During an investigation Indian Police found out that the killers were in contact with Jassi’s mom and uncle via phone, and they determined that the order to kill her was given by her mom. The local hitmen involved were subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted after an aggressive investigation by Inspector Swaran Singh. Attempts were made to extradite Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha from Canada to India to stand trial. But the process was stalled due to British Columbian court proceedings and Canadian extradition laws. When questioned by Indian authorities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Justice stated that the file remained open and extradition was being considered. In August 2004, Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu was accused of rape and incarcerated in the Ludhiana Central Jail for four years, until he was finally acquitted. The woman who made the false accusation was found to have ties to Jassi’s family. Darshan Singh Sidhu, one of the men who was convicted to Jassi’s murder was later acquitted after an appeal and was given permanent residency in Canada in 2008 after lying about his criminal history on his application. After the truth was discovered, he was considered inadmissible by the country. After a decade long investigation. Jassi’s mom and uncle was arrested by the RCMP on January 6, 2012. On May 9, 2014, following proceeding in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Justice Gregory Finch ordered that Surjit Badesha and Malkit Sidhu by turned over to Indian police to face trial. On January 24, 2019, they were both extradited, arriving in Delhi, India to face charges. Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu was twenty-four years old at the time of her death. 

Shafilea Ahmed 1986-2003

Shafilea Ahmed– Shafilea Ahmed was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1986. Her parent immigrated from the village of Uttam in the Gujrat District in Pakistan. The family lived in the Great Sankey area of Warrington, Cheshire where Shafilea attended high school and college. She was a straight A student and hoped to become a lawyer. Shafilea’s parents held tight to their Pakistani roots and still followed many of the traditional beliefs pertaining to women. While on a family trip to Pakistan in 2003 Shafilea’s parents tried to get her to enter into an arranged married but she refused. During this visit Shafilea drank bleach in what was reported as a suicide attempt. This caused extensive damage to her throat for which she was having regular on going care for at the time of her disappearance. Her dad claimed that the bleach incident had been a simple mistake and that Shafilea grabbed the bleach on accident, thinking it was mouth wash during a power outage. Hospital staff and authorities claimed the explanation was a “stupid and obvious lie”. Both parents explained that although their daughter turned down a suitor in a forced marriage, they never tried to pressure her into agreeing with it. On September 11, 2003 while back home in England Shafilea Ahmed went missing. After a week of not seeing her in school and not being able to reach her teachers informed the police of her disappearance. A major campaign urged anyone with information to come forward and a nationwide hunt was launched. When Shafilea failed to show up for her routine throat care police became convinced that was a victim of murder. They believed the murder could be connected to her rejection of her Pakistani suitor. In February 2004, Shafilea’s dismembered remains were found are heavy flooding in the River Kent. Police said her body had been deliberately hidden, and a gold “zigzag” bracelet and blue topaz ring were identified by her parents. Due to the advanced decomposition of the remains, the cause of death could not positively be determined. Police believed the body had been there since the day she disappeared or not too long after. Shafilea’s dad, Iftikar Ahmed, and her mom, Farzana Ahmed, were released without being charged after briefly being arrested along with five other members of their extended family. Shafilea’s best friend Sarah Bennett recalled one time when she had been branded a “slut” by her mom for dying her hair and wearing false nails. Neighbor Sheila Costello told authorities that Shafilea had been reported missing twice before and had been found staying with friends. She also stated that she heard the family had a horrible argument over an arranged marriage and that Shafilea had run away. Three years after the murder, eight members of the Ahmed’s extended family were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice but the proceedings against them were eventually dropped. In January 2008, the coroner’s inquest held that Shafilea was the victim of a very vile murder and a verdict of an unlawful killing was reached. After the inquest, her parents unsuccessfully attempted to have the verdict overturned and replaced by an open verdict. Her dad claimed that the coroner’s view was biased. On August 25, 2010, Shafilea’s younger sister Alesha planned a robbery that took place at her parents’ house while everyone was home. She was arrested and once safely in police custody told them that her parents had killed her sister and she had been frightened into silence but could no longer live with the guilt of what happened to her sister. Alesha told investigators that after trying to force Shafilea to accept the arranged married, her parents were afraid her refusal would be shame on the family. So, one night her dad surprised Shafilea while she was taking a nap on the couch, put a plastic bag in her mouth, pressed down hard on her chest, and suffocated her to death. On September 7, 2011, Cheshire Police arrested Shafilea’s parents and charged them with her murder. In August 2012, they were both found guilty and were handed down a sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of twenty-five years. Shafilea Ahmed was seventeen years old at the time of her death. 

Ali Fazeli Monfared 2001-2021

Ali Fazeli Monfared– Ali “Alireza” Fazeli Monfared was born in Fazeli Monfared Ahvaz, Iran in 2001. In an unknown year, but I’m assuming rather recently Fazeli Monfared applied for an exemption from obligatory military service so he could leave Iran and move to Turkey to live with his close friend, Aghil Bayat. Although homosexual conduct is criminalized in Iran, part of the military exemption law allows gay and transgender people to receive a medical exemption from service. The law states, “a person can be freed from his military service duties if he is ‘mentally ill’ (homosexual).” Ali received his exemption card in the mail from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after disclosing his homosexuality. Although Fazeli Monfared tried to hide the card one of his male family members found it and discovered he was gay. This same family member previously told Ali’s father that he had dishonored the family due to the way he dressed. After the card was brought to more male relatives a group got together and took Fazeli Monfared to a rural village near Ahvaz on May 4, 2021, where they beheaded him. The alleged killers then called Ali’s mother and told her where to find his body. Fazeli Monfared’s half-brother and cousins were later arrested in relation to the killing. Iran is one of an estimated eleven countries where same-sex sexual acts can be punishable by death, and one of almost seventy countries where it’s criminalized. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the country’s death penalty as punishment for homosexual conduct in a 2019 interview. In Iran the sentences for homosexual conduct range from receiving thirty-one to one hundred lashes to death. As of right now, no news has been released about the trial(s) of Fazeli Monfared’s family members. Ali Fazeli Monfared was between nineteen and twenty years old at the time of his death.

Samia Shahid 1988-2016

Samia Shahid– Samia Shahid was born in Manningham, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England in 1988. She was the daughter of two immigrants from Pakistan who held on deeply to their Pakistani roots. Shahid attended Nab Wood School and worked in a variety of sales roles while doing make-up artistry as a hobby. In 2012, she was married to her cousin, Shakeel, in a match arranged by their parents. The wedding took place in Pakistan, where most members of the family still resided. After the wedding, Samia returned to Bradford, while her new husband stayed in Pakistan, pending the processing of his immigration papers. In 2013, while Shakeel was still in Pakistan his wife met and fell in love with a man named Syed Mukhtar Kazim. In 2014, she converted from the Sunni sect to the Shia sect of Islam and obtained an ex-parte divorce (a divorce granted to only one spouse from the country they are a legal citizen of) from her husband from the Islamic Sharia Council of UK. Shortly afterward, she married Kazim in Leeds, England, and moved to Dubai with him. Shahid’s family did not approve of her new way of life. They asserted that her divorce was not valid since the Islamic Sharia Council had no legal authority in the United Kingdom or Pakistan. They insisted that she was still legally married to her cousins and that her new marriage was a “sham”. Syed claimed that Samia had been threatened by her family numerous times over their relationship and West Yorkshire Police confirmed that she had been subjected to verbal harassment by her mother before she moved to Dubai. Immediately after Shahid left England her parents filed a missing person report to the local police, rather than accepting that she was living her life the way she wanted to. The police opened an investigation and contacted the Islamic Sharia Council of UK. The Shia cleric who issued the ex-parte divorce told authorities that he was abused on the phone by Shahid’s family members, and passed on recordings of the abuse to investigators. In 2015, while on a visit to Bradford, Samia attended a meeting with family members accompanied by a police chaperone. The meeting was tense and an official warning for verbal harassment was issued to her mom. In July 2016, Samia received a phone call claiming that her dad was critically ill in Pakistan. So, she did what any or most daughters would do and got on the first flight she could find from Dubai to Pakistan, against the advice of her second husband who believed the claims were false. The day before Samia was going to Dubai Kazam said that the “constant stream of instant messages” she’d been sending to him had suddenly stopped. On July 20, 2016, Samia was found dead in her cousin’s home. Initially, there were conflicting reports on her cause of death. According to Syed Kazim, Shahid’s cousin Mobeen told him over the phone that she passed away from a heart attack. Local media reported that Samia has committed suicide as a result of depression, a claim her family denied. Kazim maintained his belief that his wife had been murdered in an honor killing because they disapproved of their marriage. Samia’s uncle, Haq Nawaz, obtained a death certificate from the “local union council” and told police that she had died of natural causes. Investigating officer, Aqeel Abbas, told the press that there were “no signs of external physical injury” to Shahid’s body. However, the autopsy noted, bruising around her neck, and the forensic examination concluded that she’d been raped and strangled to death. Fearing a cover-up, Samia’s constituency MP, Naz Shah, wrote to Pakistani authorities and spoke to Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan’s then High commissioner to the UK. After Shah’s contact, two Bradford residents were arrested over alleged threats made towards Shahid. Based on Kazim’s allegations, an in-depth investigation was ordered and the chief minister of Punjab set up a special committee of leading police officers to work on a report. The original lead investigator, Aqeel Abbas, was subsequently suspended from duty for “mishandling” the case and allowing Samia’s mom and sister to leave Pakistan. He was later arrested for “concealing evidence. Samia’s uncle, Nawaz, was arrested on suspicion of falsifying medical files since he obtained a death certificate before Shahid’s forensic examination had concluded. Her dad, Muhammad Shahid, and ex-husband, Shakeel, were arrested and held on remand (pre-trial detention). On August 14, 2016, Samia’s first husband and cousin, Shakeel, confessed to strangling her to death. Abubakar Buksh, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, led the new investigation which alleged, in conclusion, that Samia’s death was a “premeditated and cold-blooded honour killing”. He also announced that the investigation concluded that her ex-husband Muhammad Shakeel, and dad Muhammad Shahid were involved in the killing. Buksh also stated that Shakeel had been charged with raping her. According to the police report, a day before reaching Islamabad, Pakistan, Samia sent a text message to her friend saying that she was in fear for her life. Upon her arrival she arranged for a childhood friend to pick her up at the airport, leaving her passport and return ticket with them for security. The report further claimed that Shahid’s dad and ex-husband wanted her to stay in Pakistan and renounce her second marriage. Which she of course refused to do. The day before she was scheduled to fly back to England, Shakeel demanded her passport, and plane ticket, when she wouldn’t hand them over, he attacked her. She ran out of the room, telling Shakeel that she would go to the British authorities about the attack. That enraged him so much that she wrapped a scarf around her neck and strangled her while her dad held down her legs. Shadid intended to pardon his nephew/former son-in-law if he was charged with murder under the Divya law of Pakistan. Muhammad Shahid was in custody from July 2016 until being granted bail in December 2016. The court deemed that the evidence presented again him to justify holding him on remand. Shahid died in a Lahore hospital in January 2018 at the age of fifty-two. KARMA BITCH! Abbas and Hawaz were both bailed out of prison in September 2016. In October 2016 arrest warrants were issued for Samia’s mom and sister. In September 2018 Shakeel was also released on bail. Although he admitted to strangling Samia, confessions given to police are not admissible as evidence in Pakistan. Samia Shahid was twenty-eight years old at the time of her death.

Palestina Zein Isa 1972-1989

Palestina Zein Isa– Palestina “Tina” Zein Isa was born in Mato Grosso, Brazil in 1972. She was named after the State of Palestine and was the youngest of seven children. Her dad, Zein al-Abdeen Hassan Isa, was raised in Beitin, West Bank, Palestine, and immigrated to Brazil in the 1950s. Her mom, Maria Isa, was born in Mato Grosso. Her family moved to Puerto Rico before moving to Beitin for some time when Palestina was five. In 1986 the family settled in St. Louis, Missouri, and opened a grocery store. Palestina’s friends gave her the nickname “Tina” which she used frequently. When Tina turned fourteen her relationship with her dad started to deteriorate which was in stark contrast to the close relationship they kept when she was a child. She began to listen to popular American music such as hip hop, dance, rap, R&B, and rock. Music that her dad highly disapproved of. Zein wanted to arrange a marriage for his daughter with a man from his hometown to try and put a stop to her newfound lifestyle. When Palestina attended prom her parents sent people to the dance that forced her to return home. In January 1989, her parents learned that Tina had been in a relationship with a twenty-year-old black man named Cliff Walker. This enraged them even more and their relationship with their daughter became more strained. Zein Isa help grudges against black people because Palestinian businesspeople had often been targeted by black criminals (that’s what it said in research, not my personal opinion). Zein began making phone calls to family and friends telling them that Tina had damaged the honor of his family and needed to die. She got a job working at a local Wendy’s fast-food restaurant and her family opposed the idea of her not working for the family business. After her first day working at Wendy’s Tina’s boyfriend walked her home to the Delor Park Apartments. Once she arrives her dad started a heated confrontation with her. During the argument, he began stabbing his daughter with a boning knife. He stabbed her a total of six times, severely damaging one of her lungs, her liver, and her heart. Palestina was buried in Florissant, Missouri in a bridal gown. A tradition her mom said was common in Brazil for unmarried girls and women who pass away. The family did not provide notice of the funeral to the media to ensure that only people from the family and the local Palestinian community attended. FBI agents secretly monitored and photographed the service and burial. Zein Isa was a member of the Abu Nidal Organization, which at the time he murdered his daughter, was plotting to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. His daughters had been worried about his ANO actives and agreed to help the FBI bug their house with recording devices. This ended up being a crucial part of Zein’s trial since Tina’s murder was recorded on an audiotape. This tape also confirmed that Maria was an active participant in her daughter’s killing. The tape also proved that Zein’s story about Tina asking for $5,000, grabbing a kitchen knife, and kicking him in the leg was false, destroying his claim of self-defense. Maria’s lawyers argued that she always favored Tina in family disputes and that she couldn’t have assisted the murder. On October 25, 1991, Zein and Maria Isa were convicted of first-degree murder. Both were sentenced to death by the jury. In April 1993, Zein Isa was indicted by the FBI in connection with terrorist activities within the ANO. The charges were later dropped since he was already sitting on death row. Zein died of complications of diabetes on February 17, 1997. Maria’s death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment without parole, she died on April 30, 2014, at the age of seventy from natural causes. Palestina Isa was seventeen years old at the time of her death.

I wish I could share all the victims of honor killings stories but sadly there are just too many. I wish they would end. They NEED to end. Culture is no excuse for murder, period. Honor Killings are unfortunately on the rise right now, with Iran reporting three in one month and a total of seventeen in 2021. Of course, not all of them get reported and I’m sure the numbers are much higher. This increase has started outcries in countries to put an end to them. Women and men are speaking out again against honor killings and trying to have their voices heard by the government. In 2019 Iran lifted a ban on women in football (soccer) stadiums. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. But on August 5, 2021, Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as Iran’s new president and many Iranians are expecting women and youth to face new difficulties under his hardline administration. At the end of the day no matter the country, culture, religious beliefs, or people these honor killings are not okay and never will be.

Sources:

“Honor Killing Victims” – Wikipedia

“Honor Killing” – Britannica

“As if she had never existed” – Aljazeera

“Deadly Women” – Investigation Discovery

“Speak Truth to Power” – PBS

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