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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The name HUSSEIN is a curse...

From MySpace buddy IRANAWARE

Five weeks ago Leila Hussein told The Observer the chilling story of how her husband had killed their 17-year-old daughter over her friendship with a British soldier in Basra. Now Leila, who had been in hiding, has been murdered - gunned down in cold blood. Afif Sarhan in Basra and Caroline Davies report on the final act of a brutal tragedy.

Leila Hussein lived her last few weeks in terror. Moving constantly from safe house to safe house, she dared to stay no longer than four days at each. It was the price she was forced to pay after denouncing and divorcing her husband - the man she witnessed suffocate, stamp on, then stab their young daughter Rand in a brutal 'honour' killing for which he has shown no remorse.

Though she feared reprisals for speaking out, she really believed that she would soon be safe. Arrangements were well under way to smuggle her to the Jordanian capital, Amman. In fact, she was on her way to meet the person who would help her escape when a car drew up alongside her and two other women who were walking her to a taxi. Five bullets were fired: three of them hit Leila, 41. She died in hospital after futile attempts to save her.

Her death, on 17 May, is the shocking denouement to a tragedy which had its origins in an innocent friendship between her student daughter, Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, and a blond, 22-year-old British soldier known only as Paul.

The two had met while Rand, an English student at Basra University, was working as a volunteer helping displaced families and he was distributing water. Although their friendship appears to have involved just brief, snatched conversations over four months, Rand had confided her romantic feelings for Paul to her best friend, Zeinab, 19.

She died, still a virgin, four months after she had last seen him when her father, Abdel-Qader Ali, 46, discovered that she had been seen talking 'to the enemy' in public. She had brought shame on his honour, was his defence, and he had to cleanse his family name. Despite openly admitting the murder, he has received no punishment.

It was two weeks after Rand's death on 16 March that a grief-stricken Leila, unable to bear living under the same roof as her husband, found the strength to leave him. She had been beaten and had had her arm broken. It was a courageous move. Few women in Iraq would contemplate such a step. Leila told The Observer in April: 'No man can accept being left by a woman in Iraq. But I would prefer to be killed than sleep in the same bed as a man who was able to do what he did to his own daughter.

Her words were to prove prescient. Leila turned to the only place she could, a small organisation in Basra campaigning for the rights of women and against 'honour' killings. Almost immediately she began receiving threats - notes calling her a 'prostitute' and saying she deserved to die like her daughter.

Even her sons Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, whom she claimed aided their father in their sister's killing, disowned her. Meanwhile, her husband, a former government employee, escaped any charges, and even told The Observer that police had congratulated him on what he had done.

It is not known who killed Leila. All that is known is that she was staying at the house of 'Mariam', one of the women's rights campaigners, whose identity The Observer has agreed not to reveal. On the morning of 17 May, they were joined by another volunteer worker and set off to meet 'a contact' who was to help Leila travel to Amman, where she would be taken in by an Iraqi family.

'Leila was anxious, but she was also happy at having the chance to leave Iraq,' said Mariam. 'Since the death of her daughter, her own life was at serious risk. And this was a great opportunity for her to leave the country and to fight for Iraqi women's rights.

'She had not been able to sleep the night before. I stayed up talking to her about her plans after she arrived in Amman. I gave her some clothes to take with her and she was packing the only bag she had. She was too excited to sleep.

Mariam said that when she awoke Leila had already prepared breakfast, cleaned her house and even baked a date cake as a thank-you for the help she had been given. After the arrival of 'Faisal', the volunteer (whose identity is also being protected), the three left the house at 10.30am and started walking to the end of the street to get a taxi. They had walked less than 50 metres when they heard a car drive up fast and then gunshots rang out. The attack, said by witnesses to have been carried out by three men, was over in minutes. Leila was hit by three bullets. Mariam was hit in her left arm and Faisal in her left leg. 'I didn't realise I had been shot for a few seconds, because as I heard the gunfire I saw Leila falling to the ground and saw blood pouring from her head,' said Mariam. 'I was so shocked, I didn't immediately feel the pain.

Two men ran from their homes to help. They rushed Leila to hospital and a passing taxi took the other two. But Leila died at 3.20pm, despite several operations to save her. As she lay in her own hospital bed receiving treatment, Mariam said that she heard someone saying that Leila had been shot in the head. But there were other mutterings that were clearly audible. 'I could hear people talking on the corridors and the only thing that they had to say was that Leila was wrong for defending her daughter's mistakes and that her death was God's punishment.

'In that minute I just had complete hatred in my heart for those who had killed her.

Police said the incident was a sectarian attack and that there was nothing to link Leila's death to her family. 'Her ex-husband was not in Basra when it happened. We found out he was visiting relatives in Nassiriya with his two sons,' said Hassan Alaa, a senior officer at the local police station in Basra. 'We believe the target was the women activists, rather than Mrs Hussein, and that she was unlucky to be in that place at that time.

It is plausible. Campaigners for women's' rights are not acceptable to many sections of Iraqi society, especially in Basra where militias have partial control in some districts and impose strict laws on locals, including what clothing they should wear and what religious practice they should follow.

Since February 2006, two other activists from the same women's organisation have been killed in the city. One of them was reportedly raped before being shot. The other, the only man working for the non-governmental organisation (NGO), and a father of five who was responsible for the organisation's finances, was shot five months ago.

There could be many with a grudge against such organisations. However, Mariam believes Leila was targeted, pointing out she had been hit by three bullets. 'When we were shot, they focused on Leila, not us,' she said.

Since the attack the NGO has stopped its work in Basra. 'We daren't answer the phones because we have received so many threats since we gave our support to Leila's case,' said Mariam. 'Most of our members are preparing to leave the city and even Iraq if they can raise the money.

A single mother since her husband was killed for refusing to join a militia, she too intends to move when she can. Faisal, who also survived her injuries, is still suffering post-surgical infection. She preferred not to speak, but her mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said: 'My daughter is very shocked at what happened, and my two grandsons can't stop crying since they saw her in hospital.

Leila's burial was arranged within hours of her death by the husband of one of her cousins and Mariam's father.

The Observer visited Rand's father and two brothers at their Basra home, but they refused to talk beyond Hassan proclaiming his father's innocence. When asked if he would be visiting his mother's grave, he shrugged: 'Maybe in the future.

Leila was an orphan, raised by an uncle who died in the Shia uprising against Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s. Hamida Alaa, 68, a friend of the uncle, said: 'The poor woman was killed and now her name and history is buried with her. No one wants to speak about it. She is just one more woman killed in our country who has already been forgotten by the local society.

In the last days of her life, Leila was suffering from the pressure of having gone against her husband. 'She was sleeping with the help of sedatives,' said Mariam. 'She would wake up at night with terrible nightmares, even dreaming of being suffocated as her daughter was. She had been threatened so many times and that's why she was so scared. Her indignation over Rand's death is what led her to her own coffin. Their history ends here. But Leila was a hero. A woman who was strong enough to say no to Iraqi men's bad attitudes. Sadly most Iraqi women do not have the same strength and they will stay in their homes.

Mariam has moved out of her home. But within hours of speaking to The Observer a close friend went to her new address to deliver a message that had been left for her at her front door. It read: 'Death to betrayers of Islam who don't deserve God's forgiveness. Speaking less you will live more.' She believes it was sent by Leila's killers.

'They want this story to be buried with Leila,' she said. 'But I cannot close my eyes to all this.

And the story about the daughter..Photobucket
'My daughter deserved to die for falling in love'

"If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her.

An update on this honor-killing story.
By Afif Sarhan and Caroline Davies in The Observer, May 11 (thanks to Cindy):

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. 'If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,' he said with no trace of remorse.

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city's Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.

Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. 'They are men and know what honour is,' he said.

Rand, who was studying English at Basra University, was deemed to have brought shame on her family after becoming infatuated with a British soldier, 22, known only as Paul.

She died a virgin, according to her closest friend Zeinab. Indeed, her 'relationship' with Paul, which began when she worked as a volunteer helping displaced families and he was distributing water, appears to have consisted of snatched conversations over less than four months. But the young, impressionable Rand fell in love with him, confiding her feelings and daydreams to Zeinab, 19.

It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand's two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

'Death was the least she deserved,' said Abdel-Qader. 'I don't regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,' he said....

The learned Western analysts will continue to maintain, of course, that this is a cultural practice that has nothing to do with Islam.
So how is it that Abdel-Qader got this idea?



Unknown said...

Actually, dishonor killings are believed to have their origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic Arab tribal codes. They pre-date Islam by centuries and are, in fact, un-Islamic.

One of the reasons so many people mistakenly attribute these crimes to Islam is because of their believed tribal origins in Arabia. The majority of the world's dishonor killings per annum do occur in the Arab/Muslim world and in Arab/Muslim immigrant communities elsewhere. But a significant number also occur among other populations (e.g., Druze, Hindu, Sikh).

Another reason is because a material percentage of Arab Muslims actually believe Islam tells them they must avenge affronts to family honor through murder. In my attitude and opinion survey on dishonor killings in Jordan, the figure was slightly more than one in five people. Islam says no such thing, but the fact that so many people believe it does (and, worse, act on it) is a big problem.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Unknown said...

Why have no Imam's driven this fact home, then? Why haven't more Mosque leaders hosted seminars and committees to get it through their people's heads that the idea that such killings are honorable and Islamic is a big fat lie? And why--if it is not Islamic--does it NOT occur in any other groups who live in the same areas...any other Christian, Hindu, or Jewish groups who share every other aspect of Muslim lives EXCEPT religion?

The following excerpt from an article by an anti-Islamist who uses the pseudonym of Ali Sina supports my analysis.

“Honor killing is neither in the Quran nor is it specified in any hadith. It is however the natural outcome of the Islamic ethos of misogyny.

Women in Islam are regarded as sources of shame. Muhammad said they are awrah which can be translated as object of shame.

"Ali reported the Prophet saying: 'Women have ten ('awrah). When she gets married, the husband covers one, and when she dies the grave covers the ten." [1]

What is awrah? The Encyclopedia of Islam defines 'awrah as pudendum, that is the external genitals, especially of the female. Pudendum derives from the Latin pudor which means sense of shame and modesty. So awrah signify an object of shame that needs to be covered. [2]

According to the following Hadith, women not only have ten 'awrah, but the woman herself is perceived as 'awrah:

"The woman is 'awrah. When she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her." [3]

If a woman loses her awrah by e.g. through rape, she becomes the object of shame for her family and the only way to remove that shame and restore the honor is to remove that defiled woman.

So you can say honor killing is cultural, but it is a culture that is deeply rooted in Islamic mindset and derives from it. It is practiced in all Islamic countries. The more religious is a country, the more is widespread the honor killing.

Women are asked to; “stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display” Quran 33.33

A woman who transgresses these orders becomes the source of shame to her family. She will not be marriageable, she and her family become the object of gossip of everyone. The entire family can lose prestige. No one would give a daughter to the brothers of that girl in marriage and no one would marry her sisters. The family and even the extended family are maligned and become outcasts. This can only stop if the family cleanses that stain with blood. The woman thus defiled must be sacrificed even if she is a victim of rape.

But you don’t have to be raped to become an exposed awrah and bring shame to your family. If you disobey your father who has consented that you marry a certain person you dishonor him. If you escape from your home for any reason including abuse, you have brought shame to your family and you could be haunted by your own brothers or even your mother and killed. If you reject a suitor, his pride can be injured and he may feel the urge to throw acid at your face to avenge and restore his honor.

If you are a female you have to remember that you have brought shame and disgrace to your father and everyone else in your family the day you were born and you must cover this shame, You are awrah, a pudendum, something to be ashamed of, something to hide. When you go to your husband’s house, your parents can breathe a sigh of relief. But from there on you become the awrah of your husband. Only the grave will cover all the shame that you have brought to this world. But as long as you are alive, it is your religious duty to be modest and cover this shame and not disgrace your qayyuums (male guardians). Your male kin, (father, brothers, husband, sons and even uncles) are your qayyuums and you are their awrah. If you make a dazzling display of yourself, the honor of all these "honorable" male relatives is injured and all of them have a right to burry you to restore their honor.

Muslim men have very low self esteem but they compensate the smallness of their selfhood by inflating their ego. If you are a women related to them, they feel as if they own you. Whatever you do affects their gigantic ego. They are possessive and feel dishonored if you make a "dazzling display" of yourself. And of course if you are deflowered, this is an affront to their humongous pride. The damage is irreparable and the only way to restore that pride is to get rid of you.

Honor killing is theoretically against the law in all Islamic countries, but generally the sentences are light. Often they are a year of jail or only a few months. The judges are very "understanding" and sympathize with the killers who are also grieving for the loss of their loved one. Most likely the Judges would do the same in similar situations. Everyone agrees that this is a very unfortunate situation that has no other solution but taking the life of the poor girl. Often the brothers and the parents hug the lifeless cadaver of their victim and cry bitterly after stabbing her to death or strangulating (sic) her. They don't listen to her pleading and begging to spare her life, but sure they cry profusely for her after they kill her.”



by Al Skudsi bin Hookah, roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera.
Jan 20, 2003

I am very unhappy. Our way of life is under attack. And we are not fighting back. Deep down, we know that when a woman has disgraced her family, nothing will restore honor except by killing her. This is understood in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, the Gaza strip and the West Bank. So why are we Arabs telling the Western press that honor killing is cultural, that it is not really part of Islam? Our way of life is based on maintaining our honor. And make no mistake about it: a woman does tarnish her family's honor by engaging in pre-marital sex, or by getting herself raped, when she seeks divorce and when she marries against her family's wishes.

Why are we pussyfooting? Are we ashamed of what we do? Why are some of us trying to play it down? Like the people who say it's the same as battering women in America. Come on, now. Sometimes, when we correct a wife's behavior by a well-deserved beating, we can maybe go a little too far. But that's different. Or there's this guy, Mohammed Haz Yahya at the Hebrew University (wouldn't you know it), who makes believe killing to protect our honor is like the western world's crime of passion. Come on now.

It's not just religious leaders who know it's the right thing to do. Many of the most progressive political leaders are the ones who defend the practice. To maintain the integrity of our society and our traditions, we must maintain our honor by any and every means. And keeping our women pure is a big part of our honor. So there's no point saying honor killing isn't really part of our religion. Our religion isn't just what's in the Koran. Honor killings fit into the cultural context of today's Islamic teachings. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor.

I am also annoyed that news reports focus on gory details instead of showing compassionate understanding of what motivated the men who act vigorously to maintain honor. They are the real victims. Their honor was violated, so killing the offending woman is self-defense. Instead, like in this story, reporters graphically describe the damage done by the ax -- of course an ax is going to do damage. Listen to this:

" Two months ago, when she tried to run away yet again, Kina grabbed a kitchen knife and an ax and stabbed and beat the girl [his daughter] until she lay dead in the blood-smeared bathroom of the family's Istanbul apartment. He then commanded one of his daughters-in-law to clean up the mess. When his two sons came home from work 14 hours later, he ordered them to dispose of the 5-foot-3 corpse, which had been wrapped in a carpet and a blanket. The girl's head had been so mutilated, police said, it was held together by a knotted cloth."

And this:

"Kifaya Husayn, a 16-year-old Jordanian girl, was lashed to a chair by her 32-year-old brother. He gave her a drink of water and told her to recite an Islamic prayer. Then he slashed her throat. Immediately afterward, he ran out into the street, waving the bloody knife and crying, 'I have killed my sister to cleanse my honor.' Kifaya's crime? She was raped by another brother, a 21-year-old man. Her judge and jury? Her own uncles, who convinced her eldest brother that Kifaya was too much of a disgrace to the family's honor to be allowed to live. The murderer was sentenced to fifteen years, but the sentence was subsequently reduced to seven and a half years, an extremely severe penalty by Jordanian standards."

This one is better. At least the reporter focused on why the brother had to kill his sister.

A 25-year-old Palestinian who hanged his sister with a rope: "I did not kill her, but rather helped her to commit suicide and to carry out the death penalty she sentenced herself to. I did it to wash with her blood the family honor that was violated because of her and in response to the will of society that would not have had any mercy on me if I didn't . . . Society taught us from childhood that blood is the only solution to wash the honor."

And here, at least, we can see it isn't just some ignorant slobs who live in the boonies.

" `I would do what I have to do,' said Bassam al-Hadid, a Jordanian with an American doctorate who spent 12 years as a hospital administrator in the United States, when asked whether he would kill a daughter who had sex outside marriage."

I have to say that I'm heartened to see that in families that respect themselves, women are as dedicated as men.

"Samia Sarwar, 29, mother of two boys aged 4 and 8, was shot dead today in lawyer Hina Jillani's office by a bearded man accompanying her mother and uncle. `He's my helper, I can't walk,' said the mother, when Hina told the two men to get out. As the mother went to sit down in front of Hina's desk, and Saima stood up from her chair, the bearded man whipped out a pistol from his waistcoat and shot Saima in the head, killing her instantly."

A European I know said he doesn't understand why a girl who is raped has to die to protect her family's honor. "After all," he said, "it isn't her fault". Is it so hard to understand that when an unmarried woman is no longer sexually pure, the family is humiliated? Her lack of chastity brings shame to everyone in her family. How else can her family's honor be cleansed except by her blood? What's to understand?

Actually, it's important that you understand that her impure state can destabilize morality in our whole society. If you don't understand that, you won't understand that our honor demands that we must tolerate no impertinance.

Everyone must know their place. Men must be in control of their families. Women and children must obey. Women must devote themselves to the care of their husband and children. Or things will spiral out of control.

We could end up with a big bunch of Kola Boofs. And you know what a headache she is. She was born respectable but she was brought up in America. Maybe that has something to do with it. She poses barebreasted on the cover of that disgusting book she wrote and she no longer considers herself a Muslim.

It's too bad her publisher had to be threatened before he stopped publishing her latest book. But he should have known better than to try to publish a book that is so disrespectful to the Arab Islamic communities in Europe and in Africa.

Boof has made terrible accusations. Listen to this one:

"As a black African woman, I cannot and will not be silent as black men in Arab nations are chained up like dogs to the back doors of Muslim households and fed, literally, from doggie bowls. I will not be silent as African women are raped, mutilated and mentally demeaned by sadistic human beings calling themselves children of Allah. I will not be silent as the number of little black boys who are sodomized by their Arab masters continues to soar, while even worse atrocities attend the lives of little black girls."

So maybe her disobedience started small. But, now, like the Shariah court in London's Islamic community said: she is guilty of "deliberately and maliciously bearing false witness against religious sentiment and of willing treason against her Arab Muslim father's people and against her nation, the Sudan."

And that's why Sudan has a fatwa out on her.

So, darlin', until this abomination is fully and completely rejected by the same people who began and continue it--followers of Islam--it remains a problem of the followers of Islam, and their obligation to stop justifying it. THEIR OBLIGATION.