When news stories surfaced late last night about the horrifying beheading in Orchard Park, NY, a Buffalo suburb, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell century we’re living in. Last time I checked, it was 2009, not 1536 as accused murderer, Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan, seems to think. I tend to forget, however, that many in some parts of the world continue to live in the 16th century (or import this attitude).
Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan is accused of beheading his wife last week, days after she filed for divorce. Authorities have not discussed the role religion or culture might have played, but the slaying gave rise to speculation that it was the sort of “honor killing” more common in countries half a world away, including the couple’s native.
As shocking as the murder is in and of itself, the whole ordeal is insanely ironic. Hassan and his wife, Aasiya founded Bridges TV, a cable station aimed at Muslims in North America that, according to its mission statement, seeks “to foster a greater understanding among many cultures and diverse populations.” The station’s purpose is basically to build bridges between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities and to counter stereotypes.
Yeah, I’m not so sure how beheading your wife is going to actually counter any stereotypes or endear Hassan to the North American population. I have a feeling that most Muslim Americans don’t want him representing their community.
The debate, though, is whether this murder is considered good ole American domestic violence or a foreign-style honor killing:
The New York president of the National Organization for Women, Marcia Pappas, condemned prosecutors for referring to the death as an apparent case of domestic violence.
“This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing,'” a statement from NOW said.
Nadia Shahram, who teaches family law and Islam at the University at Buffalo Law School, explained honor killing as a practice still accepted among fanatical Muslim men who feel betrayed by their wives.
“If a woman breaks the law which the husband or father has placed for the wife or daughter, honor killing has been justified,” said Shahram, who was a regular panelist on a law show produced by Bridges TV. “It happens all the time. It’s been practiced in countries such as Pakistan and in India.”
The fact that they’re actually having this debate is odd because to me, an honor killing is really just a form of domestic violence. That statment from NOW further confuses me. What exactly constitutes a “terroristic version of ‘honor killing?'” Is there a regular version of honor killing? Honestly, I think all honor killings, as well as what some in the West would differentiate as domestic violence, are forms of violent terrorism against women. And those who commit these detestable crimes must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
My point is that because we’re in America, we shouldn’t even recognize the fact that a father or husband may have created some fake law for his wife or daughter that, when broken, might have been his justification for killing her. In the end, that father or brother or husband is a murderer, plain and simple.