11.27.2011 07:48 PM


The coverage of his Kingston murder trial is starting to bug me.

So, here’s a quiz: is the phrase “honour killing” anywhere in the Koran?


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    Finn says:

    No it’s not, what do I win?

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    Tiger says:

    I think there’s a bit of confusion when people talk about this sort of thing.

    So-called honour killings aren’t a religious matter — they’re cultural. You’ll never see an “honour killing” among African-Americans who converted to Islam; you may well see an honour killing or two among Christians from a certain part of the world.

    They’re abominations, and it’s terrible to see some people bring them over with them when they immigrate, but diagnosing it as a religious matter simply gets the causation wrong.

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    Jonathon says:

    You are absolutely correct, Warren. I have not read the precise phrase, “honour killing” in the Koran. As a side note, the phrases “suicide bombing in nightclubs and restaurants”, “hanging homosexuals from construction cranes in Tehran”, “spraying acid into the eyes of schoolgirls in Kandahar province” and “flying airplanes into skyscrapers in Manhattan” also do not appear in the Koran. I can only speculate on the cultural origins of such behaviors, since it is clear that the Koran does not specify any of them.

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      Ken says:

      Heck, even the word “circumcision” isn’t in there.

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      Joseph Krengel says:

      Ok, lets do that.

      Suicide bombing outside of military theatres are generally considered to originate in Sri Lanka with the activities of the LTTE; and they were certainly the most prevalent up until the last decade. Of course suicide attacks have a long and dubious military history as well.

      Using planes to destroy targets with the pilots still in them is also a well established practice. The Germans used young pilots for barely navigable flying rockets in the latter stages of the War. The Japanese of course famously deployed Kamikaze pilots in the same conflict.

      The Spanish conquistadors would mercilessly punish any Native populations that practiced sodomy (as many did). At various points during the early and middle centuries various European states imprisoned, crucified, or burned homosexuals.

      Of course these are not detailed historical accounts, but they do demonstrate that there is no common cultural thread to them. Rather, they are all byproducts of circumstance; suicide attacks are a strategy of groups that are in desperate or dire circumstances, and are unable to extend conventional military power. Similarly, the off-and-on punishment of homosexuality is a result of contemporaneous social mores. It is only logical to look at the general traits of societies that ‘practice’ honour killings, rather than just the religion that they share with others.

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        Cam Prymak says:

        JK – insightful post.

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        Pat says:

        That’s a short-sighted question, Gord. You would probably be closer to the mark if you asked – what is the economic situation of the people they recruit to be suicide bombers? Or, what historical events led to 9/11? There is much more going on than just religion – though it certainly simplifies things for people who think there is only one reason or cause for any action. Religion – Islam in this case – is merely being used to convey the message that the USA (and its allies) have treated the middle east like crap since WWI.

        Remember – plenty of terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity as well, but we shouldn’t assume faith is the ONLY reason for those things. As a proud Irish-Canadian – and one who spent much of his education studying the history of the British Isles – I could easily make the argument that discrimination based on religious affiliation (Catholic vs. Protestant) is the only factor at play in Northern Ireland. That would definitely support my thesis that bad things have been done in the name of Christianity as well. However, for much of the time the Catholics were left out of both the governance of Northern Ireland and restricted from the best jobs – which is why they turned to violence. In response to the violence, the Protestants also became violent. We should all know that there have been plenty of bombings and massacres in Northern Ireland, even in the last 25 years (not to mention the previous 700 yrs or so).

        Repression and ill-treatment lead to disgusting acts of terrorism – it is NEVER simply an issue of religion. Religion is just the scapegoat. It is much easier to say that Islam is bad, rather than saying that we have been disgraceful in our treatment of the middle east.

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        Cam Prymak says:

        Just so there’s no ambiguity, please identify ‘the religious background of the vast, vast majority of contemporary suicide bombings, flying planes into buildings, etc.’ and what your overall message is exactly.

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    allegra fortissima says:

    The cultural origins of such behaviors lay in the concept of “women as property”:


    I’ve never witnessed any “honorkillings” in Southern Italy three decades ago, luckily. But I’ve seen women being treated as property – not one would have even dared to marry against “Padre Padrone’s” wishes, trust me. And when I saw a Turkish friend of mine crying several years ago, I asked her what was wrong. Her younger sister was getting a divorce, but at least her father “would take her back”…

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      allegra fortissima says:

      The article cannot be found here anymore, but it shows up when you google the website address.

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    Jim Hanna says:

    I’ve been keeping up a bit on the trials, and I don’t recall there being any direct reference to Islam or the faith of the perpetrators of this atrocity….certainly it has nothing to do with that religion, or even the culture of most Afghanis or Pakistanis…the words of these people are chilling, and they have dishonoured themselves, their family, and their names orders of magnitude higher than anything these poor girls could ever have done.

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    Joe says:

    Have honour killings ever been executed against muslim men, I wonder?

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    MCBellecourt says:

    Notwithstanding, if (when) the accused are convicted of this atrocity, they should be put on the next plane back to where they came from without delay. I don’t want this trash in the country I grew up in.

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    Pedro says:

    If this question comes from a lawyer then I can see why other-than-lawyers have such a low opinion of such.
    If it comes from a person that truly respects human rights and goodness then I must state that, No, I do not find that the coverage of this trial “bugs me”.
    To paraphrase something I read on the internet: ” They came to me and I turned away since it did not affect me”.
    I have since gone out and knocked on every one of my neighbours’ homes to wish them a happy and healthful holiday and to re-acquaint ourselves.
    May we all live as brothers and sisters in Canada.
    We should strive for no less.

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    Rene Gauthier says:

    The answer is obviously “NONE”.

    The “honour killing” is more of a cultural value, than it is a religious one.

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    student501 says:

    Well, at least one of the accused didn’t hesitate using the concept.

    “Nothing is more dear to me than my honour”

    All he asked for in return were obedient daughters who wore the hijab and stayed away from boys. “They committed treason from beginning to end,” Shafia declares. “They betrayed kindness, they betrayed Islam, they betrayed our religion and creed, they betrayed our tradition, they betrayed everything.”


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