Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Honor killing: It's not just for Muslims anymore.

From Arabisto: Her stoning took place over 30 minutes, police authorities were present and did nothing to stop it. Before her burial in an unmarked grave, her post-mortem examination revealed that she was a virgin. The Sunni response to her murder? 23 Yezidi workers were killed. Now that's what I call a peaceful religion.

Du'a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year old Kurdish girl from the Yezidi religion, was stoned to death on 7 April 2007 in an honor killing in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. Her murder was carried out by Du’a’s relatives and men from the Yezidi faith, Amnesty International reported in late April.

In response to Du'a’s murder, 23 Yezidi workers were killed by men from the Sunni Muslim faith.

Her stoning continued for 30 minutes and was captured on several cell phones. The video was then posted on the Internet, receiving widespread viewership from one video sharing website, YouTube.com. However, recently, YouTube.com took down the video. A 10-minute clip can be seen on
Jebar.info. I must warn the viewer that this video clip is very graphic and contains disturbing images. (Sorry team, I couldn't bring myself to watch it.)

In this troubling video, one can see a large crowd of men, reported to be from the Yezidi sect, participating in the stoning and capturing it on video. Amnesty International also reported that, “The film reportedly shows that members of local security forces were present but failed to intervene to prevent the stoning or arrest those responsible.”

Kurdish women's rights campaigner Diana Nammi, according to The Daily Mail in the UK, explained that Du'a's body thereafter had been dispatched to the Medico-legal Institute in Mosul, Iraq for an assessment of her virginity prior to revisiting her “unmarked grave” in the Sheikh Shams cemetery. The test revealed she was still a virgin and innocent of her alleged crime.

Her crime? Forbidden love. Although there have been conflicting reports, it had been reported that Du’a had converted to Islam after having married a Sunni Muslim boy, which is prohibited by the Yezidi faith. While other news outlets have stated that she had been away from home one night, raising suspicion from her relatives.

The Yezidi religion forbids one from marrying outside of the religion and do not allow any converts. It is pre-Islamic and is dated before the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The estimated population is 500,000 although the exact amount is not known as the Yezidis practice a religious tradition of privacy. They believe to be descendants of Adam, not Eve. (I guess Adam was getting busy on the side.)

Oh, really? Honor killing should not be attributed solely to any faith? Well then, the Yezidi religion must be the exception that proves the rule: Muslims invented the honor killing.

One must note that the murder of women in the name of honor in Kurdistan, Iraq, and elsewhere is not unique and should not be attributed solely to any faith. Amnesty International stated, “While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address “honour killings” they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.”

Four men, two of whom are relatives, have been arrested for her murder and the chief of police will be substituted, CNN reported on 21 May 2007.