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Jordan: No Honour in Killing

For the past three weeks, Jordanian bloggers have been renewing calls against “honor killings,” following a court conviction of a father – and his two sons – for beating his daughter to death for “going out with full make up.”

The case sent waves of awe and shock across the Jordanian blogosphere and some of the mainstream newspapers, as this was the seventh case this year of women being murdered brutally by their relatives on the suspicion that they had committed “adultery.”

Blogger Kinzi was among the first to call for Jordanian male bloggers to break their silence about this topic.

“You all rose well when it was Gaza. This time, the evil is within our own land, perpetuated by our own laws, executed by Jordanian hands. Don’t you care as much for your fellow female citizens as you do for innocent Gazan women?”

The Arab Observer answered with a post initiating an email campaign:

“It is time for our local media, whether it is printed or online, to stand up to their responsibilities towards Jordanian citizens. It is time for you all to raise up your voices and lobby to abolish such retarded law. We awe it to ourselves, to our mothers, to our daughters and to our wives, we ought to provide them with dignity, equality, and safety. No Jordanian woman should fear the prosecution of a male relative. No man should get away with murder under the name of honor.”

Jordanian law stipulates that a man who finds his wife or a related female engaged in “adultery” and kills or wounds her as a result of this discovery in a “fit of fury” receives a reduced sentence, according to articles 340 and 98 of the Penal code. The Jordanian parliament, with conservative, tribal and Islamic MPs leading majority of seats, has failed twice in 2003 to reverse or change these laws. Seven cases of “honor killings” took place that year.

Joining other bloggers, Qwaider wrote in support of stopping honor killings, saying there is no proof whatsoever that this is related to Islamic laws and teachings.

Many think that honor killing has it's roots in the Islamic Shariah. Quite frankly nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, Islam doesn't take people's lives as award for committing adultery without proof… You really need 4 people to see them in the act as witnesses… The punishment for any unmarried person (male or females) is few flogs (or the modern equivalent).

He called upon fellow bloggers to start “a campaign to protest the unjust, inhuman, and extremely degrading dishonor killing pardons that are spelled out in the law.”

The calls were echoed in the Syrian blogosphere.

According to blogger Bam Bam, there has been little interaction between Jordanian and Syrian bloggers. But the recent campaign found support  from Syrian bloggers as seen in posts written by Abu Fares, Razan, and last but not least KJ who wrote a fictional story entitled “why I killed my sister.”

Bam Bam goes on to say this is high time to ask all the tough question:

“Are honor crimes an isolated occurrence or a culmination of several events that lead to them ? how frequent do those events occur and if I reduce the occurrence of the most frequent event can I reduce honor crimes? Why do people commit honor crimes? is it because of religion , to protect social status and reputation, or some other reasons?”

Just as bloggers continued to spread these messages, another case was reported – a 19-year-old man was charged of stabbing his 21-year-old sister, just after she was released from the governor's protection. He confessed to the murder, saying his sister “often left their family home to go to an unknown destination.”

Blogger Kinzi commented on the sentence, saying it is an “improvement from the six months slap on the hand.”  The man was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.  She added that blogger Naseem Tarawnah had written about the murder when it took place in 2007. He then wrote that the victim, as in many similar cases, was not sexually active.

It is estimated that an average of 18 to 20 cases of “honor killings” are reported in Jordan every year, according to this televised report.

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