The recent conviction in Canada of Afghani-Canadian parents and son, in the highly-publicized legal case hinging on what has been described broadly as “honor killings,” has exposed the horrifically demented practice to public scrutiny.
Though the three defendants — Mohammad Shafia, his wife and son — denied responsibility for the death of Shafia’s three daughters and first-wife, the Canadian court decided otherwise.
Recordings presented during the trial included wiretaps in which Shafia called his dead daughters “treacherous” and “whores” because they dated boys and wore what Shafia considered to be suggestive clothing. When the verdict was announced, Ontario Superior Judge Robert Maranger determined that the murders of the four women —ages 13, 17, 19 and 52 — were, in fact, motivated by warped (some might say, rightly, “sociopathic”)ideology. As he ruled, Maranger said:
"It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime. The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honor.”
Mohammed Shafia’s distorted concept of honor is one that is shared by far too many around the globe. It says that the murder of women and girls — those ones who don’t play by the family rules — restores the honor the family has been deprived of by virtue of its female members’ behavior.
One in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime and nearly 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and partners physically, emotionally and spiritually violated.
This is a moral shame not just on the men who committed these crimes but on ALL men.
It wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. It reads:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Men in this country live with a legacy of viewing and treating women as less than human. Our past reveals that we have not always recognized the image of God as fully present in our sisters.
While not every man has committed a crime of violence against women, all men are responsible to make sure such crimes end. The statistics show that rape and assault are not isolated incidents but rather are a consistent and constant part of our society and culture.
It won’t end the crisis, but the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), is an important tool, giving an avenue of response to women who have been victimized.
A jury on Sunday found three members of an Afghan family guilty of killing three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor," ending a case that shocked and riveted Canadians.
Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and using the Internet.
The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia's childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.