While honor killings are not a uniquely Muslim phenomenon, and are certainly not common in many Muslim societies, the vast majority of those that take place in the West are perpetrated by Muslims. Phyllis Chesler, in her new book on the subject—excerpted here—seeks to explain what motivates this particular form of murder and assails those Westerners who have tried to distort its realities:
Being born female in a shame-and-honor culture is, potentially, a capital crime; every girl has to keep proving that she is not dishonoring her family; even so, an innocent girl can be falsely accused and killed on the spot. A girl’s fertility and reproductive capacity are “owned” by her family, not by the girl herself. If a girl is even seen as “damaged goods,” her family-of-origin will be responsible for her care for the rest of her life. This is a killing offense. Her virginity belongs to her family and is a token of their honor. If she is not a virgin, the shame belongs to her family and they must cleanse themselves of it with blood—her blood. . . .
Becoming too “Westernized,” wanting to choose one’s own spouse, refusing to marry a first cousin, daring to have infidel friends or allegedly engaging in sex outside of marriage—are all killing offenses. From a tribal point of view, this shame-and-honor code does enforce social stability, but at the price of individual rights and personal freedom. . . .
Once people with such tribal traditions and psychologies travel to the West, the exacting shame-and-honor codes should no longer apply. But apply they do, at least among Muslims and, to a lesser extent, among Sikhs. . . . In honor killings, murders are carefully planned conspiracies and may be perpetrated by multiple family-of-origin members. Brothers, uncles, fathers, and other male relatives usually commit the murder, although mothers have also been known to collaborate in the murders of their daughters; sometimes, they are hands-on perpetrators. . . .
Although people know that the majority of honor killings in the West are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes, the American mainstream media nevertheless persist in focusing on Hindu honor killings in India and rarely on Muslim honor killings in North America. A recent “Islamically correct” pseudo-academic study on this subject ridiculously suggests that Hindus in America bear watching, that they are the problem. Abolishing human sacrifice, [however], will require mass education, consistent law enforcement, and the vigorous assistance of the clergy.