A beautiful young girl is raped, strangled with a bootlace and buried in a suitcase in a garden. This is not the act of some random psycho; the persecution and murder of this young woman was arranged and carried out by her own family. Twenty-year-old Banaz Mahmod had the temerity to leave an abusive arranged marriage and fall in love with a man she met at a party. Her father decided she had shamed her family and ordered the “honour killing”.
Oh well, it’s terrible, but these things happen abroad you might think. Think again. This happened in England. Banaz lived in Mitcham in Surrey. Her parents came to England from Iraq (they are Kurdish) when she was only 10 years old. She assimilated into our culture. They obviously did not.
Official figures say that there have been 19 “honour killings” in the UK in the last 10 years. I would guess the real figure is way above that. Is it any wonder that Asian women are three times more likely to kill themselves than British women?
How much longer can this go on for? We may not have a right to impose our culture on others, but if they chose to live in OUR society then we have a right to expect them to behave as our rules dictate. And our rules say that women have a right to fall in love and marry whoever they choose without fear of death and judgement by a medieval creed that has no place in our world.
People who carry out “honour killings” should be deported. There is no room in civilised society for them. I don’t care if that infringes on their human rights. In my view once a father garrotes his daughter he ceases to have any rights. He is no longer human.
And next time a woman goes to the police four times pleading for protection, as Banaz did, then maybe they’ll listen. This is yet another tragic case of a young woman daring to be herself and paying the ultimate price. I wonder what her mother’s role in all this was? I suppose she was too scared to speak out for fear of being murdered herself.
I also wish the police would stop talking about “honour-based crime” (trust them to come up with some stupid phrase). There is no honour whatsoever in these crimes; there is only shame.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007