Shafia, unapologetic for his actions, justified the premeditated murder in secret wiretaps recorded days before the arrest: They betrayed our religion and creed. They betrayed our tradition. God curse their generation, they were filthy and rotten children, the publication had earlier reported about Shafia's conversation.
The immigrant's words may have left many may people chilled to the bone; however, few know that such barbaric acts are still prevalent in many fanatical societies.
An honor killing is a primitive and twisted tradition practiced in some communities with the sole purpose of restoring the family's honor when a perceived dishonorable conduct is carried out, usually by the woman.
Below are some key facts that divulge the darker side of religion and tradition.
1. Killing in the name of honor is a legitimized tradition in some communities that is carried out on rape victims, cases of promiscuity, indecent dress code, demands for divorce or even or getting divorced. In some cases, the murders take place due to inheritance problems, feud-settling, or even to get rid of the wife in order to remarry.
2. Many traditions have a very strong presumption about a woman's chastity and are required to follow strict rules in order to maintain respect. Many times society will shun the family that has lost honor. It is mostly such social pressure that encourages families to resort to honor killings.
3. Honor killing is originally a Baluch and Pashtun tribal practice which is being increasingly incorporated into the Islamic society.
4. Most honor killings occur in Islamic countries, although such murders are not sanctioned in Islamic religion or law.
5. The tradition of honor killings is rooted not just in Islam but in several other religions as well.
According to Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, a University of Toronto professor of women's studies, followers of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and have used their religions as a rationale to commit such acts. Under Syrian law, an honor killing is not murder.
6. Although women are mostly targeted, homosexual men too have fallen prey to such monstrous killings. According to BBC, hundreds of gay Iraqi men have been murdered since 2004. In 2008, a 26-year old Turkish student Ahmet Yildiz was reportedly gunned down by his father for tarnishing the family honor.
7. The typical killer is usually the brother, father or husband of the victim. Teenage brothers though are often selected to commit the act, because as minors their sentences are generally lighter. The man is considered the victim as he has first suffered loss to his honor and then of the woman he has killed.
8. According to Nafisa Shah, Member of National Assembly from Pakistan Peoples Party, there is a whole honor killing industry in Pakistan that involves stake holders, tribes and police administration. Convicted men in that country can get away with murder scotfree by paying compensation or blood money to the family of the victim.
9. Honor killing methods usually vary widely from place to place. In Sindh, Pakistan, honor victims are usually hacked to pieces with axes and hatchets.
10. According to United Nations Population Fund, as many as 5,000 women are killed by members of their own families every year.