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A Pakistani man, Chaudhry Rashid, in Atlanta murdered his 25 year old daughter this weekend and had his first court appearance today. Deemed an ‘honor killing’, this story is unfortunately not unique.
What always confuses me about stories on “honor killings” is that every case of domestic violence that leads to death (which happens all too often), when committed by a MUSLIM man is deemed an “honor killing”. This case seems to be similar to situations that occur SO often in non-Muslim communities that never get the tiniest bit of public attention. However, as soon as a Muslim man commits an act of violence, it is used to perpetuate the ideas that Muslim men are oppressive towards Muslim women. That being said, I was surprised to see the inclusion of the quotes from Ajay Nair at the end of the piece. It was refreshing to see someone say that honor killings are just another form of domestic violence and that violence occurs across race/class/religious boundaries.
While I think that it is EXTREMELY important to recognize that this is not merely a Muslim issue, Mr. Nair’s insinuations that this is an anomaly in South Asian communities concerned me…why can’t we accept that this is happening in our communities? It is actually NOT rare at all. In fact, Muslim women are experiencing violence at the hands of the people that are supposed to nurture and care for them every day.
Unfortunately, because of the way the Muslim community has been set up (to make all men look like terrorists, crazy people, and perpetrators of “honor killings” and all women look like timid, submissive, brainwashed children) it is no surprise that there is a certain feeling of defensiveness, like that of Mr. Nair’s, when talking about behavior such as Chaudhry Rashid’s. The fact of the matter is that he killed his daughter – and while the media is trying to make domestic violence seem like both a specifically Muslim issue, and simultaneously like not such a big deal at all, we need to be establishing a community where we can come together under the common idea that violence does in fact occur in our communities, that we have a responsibility to confront it, and that as a community we can hold perpetrators accountable without having to make all Muslim men seem violent.