February 7th, 2010

Sixteen year old Medine Memi was murdered by her father and grandfather in Kahta, Turkey, buried alive as punishment for the “crime” of having been seen talking to boys. An autopsy found soil in her stomach and lungs and no sign of narcotics or poison in her blood, which indicate that she was alive and fully conscious when buried. For more information about this heinous crime, read Turkish Girl Buried Alive For Talking To Boys, Male Monsters — Girl Buried Alive for Being a Girl and the World Shrugs (Huffington Post 2/05/10),  Teen Buried Alive for Chatting with Boys (Change.org 2/05/10), and Buried Alive In Turkey—and Under the Burqa (Chesler Chronicles, Pajamas Media 2/06/10).

For more on “honor” killings and Muslim women’s rights, read “Honor Killing” and Islam (Huffington Post 2/19/09), Under God: Imams Asked to Preach Against Domestic Violence (On Faith, Washington Post 2/19/09), Islamists’ Rise Could Benefit Women’s Rights (Washington Post/Newsweek 11/04/08), Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence? (The Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2009), Honor Killing from an Islamic Perspective (IslamOnline.net 6/17/02), Honor Killings – Zahra al-Azzo (New York Times Magazine 9/23/09), Honour Killing: A Crime against Islam (The Muslim Council of Britain 10/14/2003), and additional articles cited below, and visit ReformIslam.org’s Stop Honorcide page and The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women. Read the poem and tell me what you think, browse the articles, and please sign the petition below to protest this evil custom.

     As a father of two teen daughters, this is beyond my comprehension.

Honor killings” like this are a barbaric social convention.

     A father’s role is to love and protect,

And though I mean no religious disrespect,

To kill the ones you should defend

Is the greatest evil I can comprehend.

     I also don’t understand how some in America throw their daughters out

For getting pregnant out of wedlock (mostly the “religious” devout).

Teen pregnancy’s not good, but expulsion’s not the solution,

But that’s not even close to talking to boys resulting in execution.

     I don’t blame Islam as a religion, per se—

This barbaric custom pre-dated Islam (so they say).

But Islam should take a stronger, more consistent stand

And the custom’s discontinuation demand.

     Some Islamic scholars or leaders do make the claim

That honor killings and other domestic violence are the same.

Western law used to look the other way when men beat their wives,

But that is a view that no longer survives.

     “Honor” killing, on the other hand

Is still socially accepted in many a Muslim land.

Some religious figures even use Islam to justify it

(If they don’t say so directly, many at least imply it).

Maybe Islam had more women’s rights than the West back in the Middle Ages,

But to say that justifies women’s current status in Islamic countries is outrageous.

While the West has made progress since that time,

Many Islamic countries haven’t changed much, particularly with anti-woman crime.

     So no, I don’t blame Islam itself for this abhorrent case,

Just like I don’t blame Christianity for the views some Christians embrace.

I do blame religious and political leaders in Islamic communities

For not taking stronger measures to stamp out this disease.

     The Right criticizes Liberals for being morally relativist,

But I and many other Liberals believe right and wrong do exist.

This heinous crime clearly fits into the latter category,

And should be condemned by all nations and faiths, end of story.

     The murderers in Turkey will be tried for their crime,

And the world will pay attention, for a time.

But what is needed is action,

Not just cries of dissatisfaction.

     What can be done? Where can we start?

How can you and I play a part?

Whether it will change things I don’t know,

But if you’re willing to try, sign the petition below.

     The world should and hopefully will not shrug

Or forget that girl,

     And the hole her father dug.

“Honor” killings have taken place in North America also, as illustrated by this chilling CNN news report below about two teenage girls murdered in Texas by their Egyptian father because they had become two westernized and had non-Muslim boyfriends. As described in the Spring 2009 Mideast Quarterly Review article, almost all of the “honor” killings tracked in North America were perpetrated by Muslims (two were by Sikhs).

For a longer (and somewhat more inflammatory) report on the Texas and other “honor” killings, watch this Fox News special report.

PS: I want to acknowledge Dr. Phyllis Chesler, author of the Pajamas Media and Middle East Quarterly articles referred to above and an apparently tireless crusader for Muslim women’s rights. In addition to an apparently endless stream of articles and blog posts, Dr. Chesler has written 13 books, including the recently updated Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, her best-selling Women and Madness, and The Death of Feminism (the latter discusses the treatment of women in Islamic countries). Although I’m sure she and I would disagree on many issues, I agree with her completely on the unacceptability of “honor killings” and the need for religious and political leaders in countries where such killings take place to take a much stronger stance against them.

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3 Responses to “Heinous”

  1. Flyer Says:

    Murder is murder. I agree this is a partcularly tragic murder that turns on its head the relationship of father and daughter.

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