Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Killing for Honour

The killing of women to protect family honour continues across a number of regions of Iraq, often justified on religious and social grounds.

This episode of the progamme invited the jurist Amira Hassan and the novelist Abdul-Sattar Baidhani to discuss honour-killing.

Hassan said the scourge had its roots in a patriarchal social system and Sharia law where women are considered symbols of family and tribal honour.

She suggested that courts are too lenient with the perperatators of honour crimes and also praised civil society organisations for trying to combat the practice.

For his part, Baidhani said honour-killings were unacceptable and were the result of society's failure to move with the times. He said these crimes had their roots in social customs and had little to do with religion. He said there had long been confusion over social and religious practices in eastern societies.

He pointed out that Islam does not advocate the killing of women, although he said it sanctions the flogging of a woman and man who have sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Baidhani suggested that the best way to reduce honour-killings was to separate religion from social customs.

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