Romeo and Juliet in Muslim Iraq
by Phyllis Chesler
Romeo and Juliet are alive and well in Dokan, Iraq—well, not exactly. Romeo (Aram Jamal Rasool) was murdered in an honor killing. Juliet (Sirwa Hama Amin) gave birth to her legal husband Romeo's son, but was also permanently shunned by her own family—the same family who killed her beloved Romeo. Juliet now lives in a house filled with weapons and is escorted by armed guards provided by Romeo's family when she leaves the house.
This Juliet can never marry again. She is a dishonored woman. She can never see her relatives again—except perhaps for a moment, when they murder her; perhaps not even then, for her family may send a paid assassin to cleanse its shame.
The honor murder of a man, not a woman has, seemingly, catapulted the case into the American media. Finally, at long last, even the New York Times has written about an honor killing committed in a Muslim country: Iraqi Kurdistan. In the past, the same American mainstream media which has refused to write about honor killings committed in the United States, has only addressed honor killings in India; they do not hesitate to describe them as "Hindu" honor killings if indeed, Hindus have committed the crime.
However, in this latest article the word "Muslim" or "Islam" is never used. But the article, written by John Leland and Namo Abdulla, goes further than this mere omission. Its clear political objective appears in the title and subtitle: "A Killing Set Honor Above Love: A Stern Tribal Code Grips Iraqi Kurdistan."
Just in case you fail to understand their point, in the fourth paragraph, the journalists quote Qadir Abdul-Rahman, one of Juliet's uncles as saying, "The girl and boy should be killed. It's about honor. Honor is more important for us than religion."
And there you have it. "Muslims" do not commit honor killings—and when they do, it has nothing to do with Islam. The murderers are not described as Muslims. They are identified as tribal elders. When such unidentified people commit honor killings the murders are due to a "deep seated tribal honor code."
If so, then why not drop "Hindu" and "Sikh" from the articles about Hindu and Sikh honor killings?
But this is part of a pattern. Recently, in Sweden, the media did not note the religion or ethnicity of the man who physically attacked a male physician who had entered the hospital ward to examine his wife who had just given birth. The woman was bleeding to death and the unnamed and poorly described assailant remained unknown.
How many ethnic Swedes would attack a doctor because he is a man who is trying to save a woman's life?
It is important that the mainstream American media also note that honor killings in the West are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes; Hindu and Sikh immigrants to the West rarely commit honor murders in the West.
When I published my second academic study about honor killings in Middle East Quarterly in 2010, I offered to write an op-ed piece about the findings for the New York Times, a venue in which I had frequently appeared in the past. The editors turned the idea down cold as did the Washington Post.
Both newspapers have done long articles about "Hindu" honor killings.
If the mainstream Western media are only telling us that Islam is a peaceful religion and that (radically Islamist) Muslim leaders are not only peaceful but are actually being persecuted by an "Islamophobic" West—then we, too, like this latest tragic Juliet, will only meet those Muslim terrorists who are trying to blow up civilian targets in America at the other end of a plot.
Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists today seem to be Muslims and Arabs; airport security might also keep this in mind as they begin to X-ray and pat down the lot of us. Oh, wait a minute: Janet Napolitano is considering exempting Muslim women in burqas from being patted down.
Only in Obama's America, folks, only in his America.
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