Honor Killing and Lost Opportunity of Grace

According to New Dehli news, Mr. Oghad Singh arrived at a police outpost holding a bloody human head in one hand and a sword in another. The head was that of Mr. Singh’s daughter, chopped off because of her “indecent behavior.”  Prior to arriving at the police station, Mr. Singh paraded the head through the village on his way to the police station.

I find honor killing repugnant. And I find honor killing based upon religious belief reprehensible. Personally, no words can accurately reflect my distaste.

Honor killings are not rooted in just one religion. Honor killings have been reported in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and that they had also taken place in western countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom and United States. Ms. Aasiya Zubair was murdered near Buffalo, NY.

More than half the victims were tortured and died in prolonged agony. In North America, over one-third of the victims were tortured; in Europe, two-thirds were tortured; in the Muslim world, half were tortured. Torturous deaths include: rape or gang-rape before being killed; being strangled or bludgeoned to death; being stabbed many times (10 to 40 times); being stoned or burned to death; being beheaded, or having one’s throat slashed.

Still, many may claim these are predominantly Muslim issues and not typical Christian values. And that alone is reason to temper our thoughts. Let’s take a look at some Christian Bible thoughts:

Read Leviticus 21:9If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she also defiles her father’s holiness, and she must be burned to death.

Deuteronomy 13:6-11You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

Exodus 35:1-2 … but the seventh day shall be sacred to you as the Sabbath of complete rest to the LORD. Anyone who does work on that day shall be put to death.

Deuteronomy 13:6“… if no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house.

Leviticus 20:9If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.

Exodus 21:20If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

Ancient Roman Law condoned killing women who had committed adultery. In Greece, laws gave husbands power over their wives, as women were believed to be socially below man. In many ancient cultures including Babylonian, Egypt, Native American and Persian cultures, women convicted of infidelity were given harsh sentences. Chinese husbands often cut off the hair of wives accused of illicit relationships and crush them to death by elephants.

In the U.S., a Tahirih Justice Center survey of more than 500 social service, religious, legal, educational and medical agencies last year, revealed 67 percent of the respondents believed there were cases of forced marriage occurring among the populations they serve, but only 16 percent felt their agency was equipped to deal with the situation.

Kim Gandy, former president of NOW asked a hard question:

“Is a Muslim man in Buffalo more likely to kill his wife than a Catholic man in Buffalo? A Jewish man in Buffalo? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that there is plenty of violence to go around—and that the long and sordid history of oppressing women in the name of religion surely includes Islam, but is not limited to Islam.”

Personally, I am not a front man for Ms. Gandy or NOW. But I believe in the cause against violence.

From a Buddhist perspective, the Golden Rule is do no harm. As the Buddha once stated, “If at some point in your life you adopt an idea or a perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind.”  And when you close that door, the opportunity of God’s Love can be lost forever. Thus, the real miracle of God’s Love lies within our heart and the willingness to accept and give grace. Live for Grace and Peace; for grace, peace and love is the true nature of God, Christ and the Buddha.

——- Postscript ——-

It is estimated that approximately 5000 women and children are killed yearly in the name of honor; though most of the human rights groups over the world believe this number is much higher.



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