Jordanian Immigrant Accused of Pair of Honor Killings

Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, a 60-year-old Jordanian American is currently facing the death penalty after being accused of a pair of honor killings. Irsan is a devout Muslim and his accused of killing his daughter’s husband, 28-year-old Coty Beavers, and her best friend, 30-year-old Gelareh Bagherzadeh, after his daughter, Nesreen Irsan converted to Christianity and married a Christian. Bagherzadeh was an Iranian medical student.

The trial now it’s in her third week and is being judged by state District Judge Jan Krocker. The prosecution consists of Jon Stephenson, Marie Primm, and Anna Emmons. Irsan is accused of tracking down Bagherzadeh as she arrived at her home in Jan 2012 shooting her. He is also accused of stalking Coty Beaver and shooting him 7 times in November of 2012. The defense team consists of Allen Tanner and Rudy Duarte (visit their website).  Their defense consists of proving that these two murders are unrelated. If convicted, Irsan faces the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

It’s key for the prosecution to prove that these crimes were connected in order for capital punishment to still be on the table, which is why the defense is trying to prove htat they are not connected. Yesterday, Detective Dousay recently testified 8 key reasons as to how these crimes were connected:

 

  • Both victims had extensive connections to Nesreen Irsan.
  • Both victims helped Nesreen Irsan “escape” from her father’s control.
  • An envelope found in Ali Irsan’s sport utility vehicle had the license plate numbers for cars connected to both victims.
  • Both victims lived for a time at the Beaver’s family home in Spring. (Bagherzadeh never moved in but spent an extensive amount of time there with boyfriend Cory Beavers.)
  • There was phone contact between Baghezadeh and Ali Irsan before her death. An outspoken young woman, she told Ali Irsan to leave Nesreen alone and told him one of his other daughters was sending nude selfies to Christian men.
  • Six months after Bagherzadeh was killed in January 2012, Nesreen and Coty Beavers married. They moved to an out of the way apartment complex in northwest Harris County. Before and after the move, there was criminal mischief—air being let out of tires and cars being vandalized—at both locations.
  • Before and after the move, cell phone GPS records seem to indicate Ali Irsan or other family members were stalking Nesreen and Coty at both locations.
  • Finally, Dousay said his investigation, including interviews with Ali Irsan’s neighbors and family members, turned up proof that Irsan had previously threatened death for people who he believed disgraced his honor.  “It was my belief that the defendant believed in honor killings,” Dousay said.

 

Top Movies That Take A Stand Against Honor Killings

The term honor killing refers to the murder of women or girls, by their kin, who are said to have wronged their family or community. This horrific act has been condemned across the world, but still continues to date. Various movies have been filmed to showcase the reality of honor killings and shine a light into this dark and repulsive act. It’s more repuslive than a severe hit and run accident.

Below you will find a list of movies that condemn honor killings in its entirety.

A Girl In The River

This is a short documentary which follows the life of an 18 year old girl who became a victim of the horror of honor killing, but survived to the tale. The film which won the prestigious Oscar award was made by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The documentary shows how the eighteen year old girl was traced and fatally attacked by her kin, including her father, for falling in love and eloping.

Aakrosh

The state of Uttar Pradesh is among the areas where honor killings still continue to date. This film follows the true events of a case in the state. The film exposes how law enforcement officials work to promote the occurrence of these events by turning a blind eye when they occur.

The movie demonstrates how local law enforcement officers cover up evidence, suppress witnesses and ensure that investigations by officers from external agencies go nowhere.

NH10

This movie showcases the difference between city life and village life in India. A couple from the city finds themselves in unfamiliar territory when they become accidental witnesses to an honor killing. This creates a real and unfamiliar shock.

Furthermore, the movie demonstrates how men, scared of women who know the power of their mind and use violence to bring them down and crush them.

Sairat

This is one of the most successful movies condemning honor killings; it recorded a record performance in the box office. The movie follows the story of a boy and girl from different communities who end up falling in love. The movie also shows how even in Maharashtra state, which is considered to be progressive, honor killings continue to date.

It’s worth mentioning that cases of honor killings have been on the rise especially in the absence of serious laws against the same. The films above are meant to raise public awareness on this issue, and with it increase the pressure on the authorities to take action.

Arrest Made In Response To Alleged Honor Killing of An Italian Woman

It has been reported that Pakistani police arrested the brother and father of Sana Cheema. Miss Cheema was a 25-year-old Pakistani woman, who died under mysterious circumstances when she was visiting relatives in Pakistan last month. The family first reported that her death was caused by a chronic ulcer and hypertension, however many familiar with Cheema’s suspected that she died due to an honor killing.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term honor killing, it refers to when family members kill or severely injure another family member. This familial violence is rooted in the belief that there is damage to the family’s honor based on the victim’s actions such as interacting with men outside of the religion or violating any of the conservation and traditional values.

Cheema was living in Brescia, a northern Italian city and was seeing a gentlemen caller that was not approved by her family. The family made a suggestion at a different male suitor to which Cheema rejected bring a dishonor on her family. After a rallying cry from rights groups and social media, Cheema’s body was exhumed and forensic reports indicated that she was indeed strangled.

The Pakistani official Irfan-ul-Haq Suleheria told Reuters that police took into custody Cheema’s father Ghulam Mustafa and her brother Adnan Cheema.

Honor killings have been prevalent in Pakistan for several years as there was a loophole in the law that allowed the family members be pardoned if they were forgiven. New legislation was passed in 2016 which fixed that egregious error and doled out tougher punishments for those convicted of honor killings. According to the local Pakistani police since hte legislation has been passed there have been fewer honor killings in the area.

Five Things You Should Know About Honor Killings

Five Things You Should Know About Honor Killings

Honor killings happen every day, all over the world. In some countries, the Islamic faith has a hold on the laws allowing parents to kill children for bringing shame upon the family. The shame does not have to be brought by committing a crime. It can be for something as simple as eloping with a male partner.  

In an effort to shed light on this epidemic, the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored a study in 2014. Some of the results will shock you. Below I have included a list of five things you should know about honor killings and why they need to be stopped.

What are honor killings?

Honor killings are a form of extreme punishment that is used to regain the family’s honor after a member commits a sexual crime. A sexual crime can be adultery, homosexuality, elopement, or other sexual acts. In the study, the U.S. Justice Department identified four types of honor violence: forced marriage, honor-based domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and honor killings.  

How common are honor killings and where do they occur?

There is no definite answer to this question. The most recently reported statistics are from the United Nations in 2000. The report estimated that there are 5,000 killings worldwide each year. Most of the killings came from regions with heavy Islamic influence in South Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. Honor killings are not limited to the Islamic faith; there have been cases of honor killings reported in families of various religious beliefs.

Do they happen in the United States?

According to the study conducted by the Department of Justice in 2014, 23 to 27 honor killings occur in the United States annually. Due to the inadequate information on homicides, this number is a rough estimate.

Who are the victims?

The average age of the honor killing victim is 23 years of age and women makeup 93% of those killed. The most common victims are teenage girls who’re average age is 17 years old and women who’re average age is 36 years old.

What are the trends?

The number of honor killings appears to be increasing as the years go on. Although, it is unclear if the increasing number of ills is due to and increased amount of exposure or because there are actually more and more honor killings every year. The internet is playing an increasing on both sides of the table. While it is bringing more exposure to the killings, it is also allowing families to track inappropriate behavior by relatives.

As the world becomes increasingly westernized it seems to be a reason for the killings. Nine out of 10 honor killings in North America were because victims have become “too Wesernized.” The report also stated that 43% of victims in Muslim countries were being killed for this reason.

Cincinnati Honor Killing

As citizens of a certain country for a number of years, many of us are subjected to certain values on a constant day-to-day basis. Some of these values eventually become second nature in our lives while others are a bit more difficult to perceive and adapt, especially if we are not exposed to them. Some values which we learn about, we will simply find disagreeable from the start.

Honor killings, a practice most commonly found in Middle Eastern regions and regions of South Asia (though don’t think it doesn’t or never did exist in Western civilization) generally involves the killing of women by their own family members to restore honor to the family name. This is often the case due to certain taboos that the aforementioned women have committed that might stray out of their religious or cultural accommodations. More often the case, these transgressions that are punishable by death under certain tribal points of view tend to involve lifestyles that many of us find to be commonplace and, while perhaps not entirely tasteful to our particular brand of values, hardly justifies corporal punishment or being put to death: finding romantic partners outside of family arrangements (and that may or may not align with the same religion), having children out of wedlock or even simply being outspoken against male figures (or society in general through the use of social media as was the case with Qandeel Baloch)

Sometimes these values clash. Sometimes honor killings go unpunished or with minimal or lenient sentencing for those who have committed the crimes. Enter one Olga Jad Kamar, a Jordanian immigrant who had married and had children in an attempt to remain in the United States even after her visiting student visa was void when she left school. While this would result in little more than her deportation back to Jordan, Kamar had divorced and had a child out of wedlock in that time period. Since then, her cousin has essentially promised her that he had to restore honor to the family by killing her. He writes in a letter to Kamar, “You understand what the punishment is for a girl like you who brings shame upon your family.”

Despite a rejection of her appeal to immigration authorities in 2016, three judges in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously to block her removal from the United States on the premise of her endangerment should she return to Jordan. And while statistics are conflicting with one another, many believe that assaults upon women in Jordan are higher despite harsher punishments being sentenced. Activists for women’s rights and Kamar herself also assert that even for what is called protective custody, women are effectively incarcerated and tortured.

It is an obvious clash of values, and while the concept of honor killing is not strictly limited to any certain religions, the idea of a very stark contrast in views from one part of the world to another is still quite alarming. Because honor killings are generally restricted to family involvement or what some call tribal arbitration, the ability to bring guilty parties to justice can be overwhelmingly difficult as well, subjecting thousands of women around the world every year to its dangers without any recourse. As noted by Detective Chris Boughey in a case involving the death of Noor Almaleki in 2009, “…I learned very quickly that we would receive no assistance from the family…In fact, we received out-and-out defiance and resistance.”

The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo Inspired By Honor Killings?

Lemon Law PA Swedish crime novel writer Stieg Larsson has left a lot of fans of his Millennium series anxiously awaiting each new installment–which is an extremely impressive achievement, considering he died of a heart attack in 2004 and all of his books were published afterward. When Larsson passed away, he’d only written three books of a planned series that was to eventually conclude with ten. Because of his death, the book publisher decided to continue the series with the help of another author: crime journalist David Lagercrantz.

Flash forward to book five, and here we are today. It’s not easy to take on neo-Nazi prison gangs, but that’s what protagonist hacker Lisbeth Salander is doing. On the way, the subject of honor killings is introduced as a plotline for her to navigate herself around. The entire purpose of the novel, though, was to explore why Lisbeth got her dragon tattoo in the first place, and that isn’t an easy thing to do for an author taking on the role of his deceased predecessor. He had to delve deeper into her past–and that involved the all-too-familiar topic of violence against women.

Larsson once did an interview on his aspirations for the series, and in that interview, he admitted that his character was based on what an adult Pippi Longstocking would be like. His own niece also heavily influenced the series, because she would wear black clothes, dark makeup, and wanted a dragon tattoo. According to Larsson, he actually communicated with his niece about how she might react if she were presented with a given situation.

Larsson himself was no stranger to violence, and he was especially affected by the endemic problem of violence against women. His colleague Kurdo Baksi stated his belief that Larsson sourced a lot of material from his novels from real-life honor killings. In 2001, a model named Melissa Nordell was murdered by her boyfriend. In 2002, A Swedish-Kurdish woman named Fadime Şahindal was murdered by her father. Larsson was sickened by his violence, and he wished to help the only way he knew how: through his own writing.

Larsson isn’t just someone who read about the disgusting notion of honor killings and decided to write a book. He was deeply intertwined with the finer details of that gruesome world, as he was also a Swedish journalist who specialized in photography. He was a part of far-left political activism, and a member of a Communist Workers’ League. Later, he became especially interested in fighting against the wave of the extreme right participants in the country’s politics, and the prevalent idea of “white power” that was increasingly popular among the country’s youth.

Considering his past experiences and his varied interests, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that the Millennium series and its characters–the girl with a dragon tattoo, for instance–were inspired by the real-life honor killings that Stieg Larsson was so knowledgeable about.

Big Bang Theory Producer Is A F*cking Idiot

In an age where women are standing up for themselves as best they can in a world still dominated by the male ego, it’s worth reminding ourselves that not all men are sexual predators. Some are just fucking stupid. A Big Bang Theory producer just gave foot-in-mouth syndrome a whole new meaning by saying that, hey, you know, maybe honor killings aren’t so bad. In September, Prady was involved in a tweet war that went somewhat off the rails really, really fast.

It was on a subject most of us have argued for or against at some point in our lives: abortion. Prady made the mistake of using religion as a means of justifying abortion. When the pro-lifer Obianuju Ekeocha tried to make her case, the argumentative Prady told her that abortion should be tied to personal faith and nothing else.

Ekeocha asked if it was acceptable practice for Muslim parents to enact honor killings, which are usually acts predicated on the notion of vengeance and are most often perpetrated by male members of the family against females that have been said to have brought dishonor to the entire family. Ekeocha went on to say she could only respect Prady’s opinion on the subject if he said yes in answer to her question of acceptable practice, since it would mean a “consistency of thought & logic.”

Here’s where it gets even worse.
Prady then replied with the most awkward, potentially divisive statement he could possibly make: “I don’t have enough education on the topic to respond. But it wouldn’t matter to you — you’ve declared yours the one true religion.”

After some people pointed out the abrasive stupidity and shocking indifference inherent in his commentary of the subject of honor killings, Prady claimed that he had no idea what an honor killing was in the first place. Instead, he suggested that he thought they were still on the subject of abortion. He then caught slack because of the still bone-headed response to someone asking about the relevance of someone murdering a pregnant woman because of religion.

So how does this story end, you ask? Well, it ended like all stories involving men and women do: The man keeps talking out of his ass while the woman is left completely dumbfounded and without recourse. Prady blocked her.

To his credit, maybe he really didn’t know what an honor killing is. After all, it’s not like they’ve been consistently a part of the news for the last decade. The producer of one of the most popular sitcoms of our day might in fact live under a rock with only the rarest occasions of human contact. It’s possible. Either way, he really is a fucking idiot.

What’s Modest Fashion?

Regardless of your religious preference, there are simply times when modest fashion should prevail. What is “modest”? You may ask, “modest” is a reference to wearing less revealing or skin revealing clothing.

Everyone will have their own personal interpretation of the term “modest”. The term is different for different people. For some, it’s dresses that hit below the knees while for others it’s dresses that are no higher than six inches above the knees.

Some will state that sleeveless attire is inappropriate or immodest. The reason given is one of protection: someone can peer underneath of the shirt at the armpit and see the woman’s breast.

In spite of the myriad of interpretations, all will agree that modest means appropriately covering one’s body so that no one can see the breasts or too much leg. In the mid to late 1800s, even the ankle showing or the upper wrist area showing was considered to be immodest. Clearly, the term modest has evolved alongside the era.

Unfortunately, over the years, many have interpreted the term “modest” with boring attire. This isn’t necessarily true. There are many fashionable clothing items that are still in fashion yet very modest.

What is modest for one person may not be modest at all for another. This is more typical in some religious cultures. A Muslim woman, for example, must keep her head covered when out in public. This is considered modest. Another religion will allow a woman to wear a wig to cover her head whilst out in public.

In spite of popular opinion, modesty isn’t oppressive. It’s a choice that a woman makes when she’s dressing to not show off too much of her body. This level of modesty is different for every woman in every culture. Modesty doesn’t mean a woman has to wear a shapeless tent of a dress and cover her face.

Modesty is an individual definition of each and every woman. A woman who is less endowed won’t have to worry as much as a woman who is more endowed with how high her neckline is. However, she may choose to be cautious so that she’s not offending others.

At one point in time, if the collarbone were showing, the dress or shirt was considered to be immodest. Of course, the sleeves should be nearly elbow length and the shirt should also cover the midriff section in order to be considered modest.

Not everyone views modesty on the same level. Again, what is modest for one woman may not be modest at all for another. It’s all in the definition. Keep in mind that low cut tops or tops that expose the midriff are both considered to be immodest in most circles.

Skirts that aren’t fingertipped length when the arms are at the sides are also considered by many circles (most schools) to be immodest. Exposing one’s body by allowing others to see the parts that a swimsuit would cover, is considered immodest in most circles. Modest fashion is an individual opinion.

Still confused about modest fashion? Watch the video below if you would like to learn more:

UN Investigating Samoan Violence Against Women

It’s not always easy to record and document violence against women in the most developed countries in the world, but that can be even harder in countries that have less of a medium available in which their citizens can make a reasonable attempt to cry out for help. If you’re a woman living your life in a quiet Samoan society, what can you do to make yourself heard? The answer is this: more than ever before, but still not enough. Luckily, the U.N. has launched an expansive investigation into allegations of a growing number of cases involving violence against women.

In early August, U.N. investigators began the search for the truth. They started in the Samoan capital, Apia, and branched out further into villages on the islands of Upolu and Savai’i. There are only 200,000 people living in Samoa, so when allegations of rising violence come to light, it’s difficult not to take them seriously. Then again, it’s extremely possible that the perpetuation of such violence isn’t necessarily on the rise; instead, perhaps it’s more likely that newly emboldened women who live there are finally taking a step in the right direction by coming forward to report the crimes.

There were only 200 cases of domestic violence reported in 2012, and in only three short years that figure has skyrocketed to over 700. A 2007 study exposed other startling figures. Over 45 percent of women were abused by their significant others, while around 60 percent were abused by others. That a majority of women experience abuse but only a frighteningly small percentage go on to report it suggests that silence is a deeply ingrained aspect of the local culture and society.

In order to combat the humanitarian crisis, then, something needs to be done in order to confront the guilt and shame felt by those abused while providing a reasonable alternative. Although shelters for women abound in the U.S., those same options aren’t always available to women in other regions overseas. That means if women come forward now, they could be putting themselves at further risk. No one wants that, but we need to hear from them in order to facilitate the right kind of change. Their stories need to be told and told quickly.

The U.N. investigators sent to Samoa will be interacting with various other agencies in the country in order to continue searching for facts related to domestic violence and the murder of young women. They plan to speak with government officials about what more can be done, while also looking to state representatives and academic leaders for more help. The first step is policy reform according to Blischak Law Phoenix criminal defense

Rape Insurance For Unintended Pregnancies

Women have never had an easy time keeping safe when roomfuls of men routinely decide how they can treat their own bodies after experiencing even the most terrifying worst-case scenarios imaginable. In the case of Texas House Bill 214, taxpayers no longer have to subsidize abortions because health insurance companies are barred from offering coverage to women who might want–or need–an abortion. Naturally, a serious conversation on the nature of abortion must take place as a result (even though the very same conversation has taken place perhaps a gazillion times in the last decade alone).

Sure, you can be for or against abortion. There are some who are pro-life because they believe life starts at conception for a number of reasons, many including religion. There are some who are pro-choice because they feel a woman has the final say in deciding what to do with her own body and what grows inside it. And then there are still others who are privately pro-life, but legally pro-choice–people who understand that their own personal opinions shouldn’t necessarily make the difference between legal and illegal or what can and can’t be covered by a health insurance provider.

Then again, that’s not necessarily what this conversation has to be about. The lawmakers who drafted this bill notably didn’t account for the various reasons that a woman might choose to have an abortion. What happens when the baby growing inside of you has biological abnormalities that might result in its death directly after birth or a life in pain? Tough luck to mother and baby both, according to Republican lawmakers. Your baby, your responsibility. You’ll have to chalk up the cash yourself if you want an abortion, even if that expenditure might break the bank. Your. Problem.

Heck, even if your baby is growing without a brain, you’ll still have to have to wait until it’s born naturally. Your insurance and the taxpayers aren’t going to help. And the lawmakers? Surely not. Unless the mom is physically in danger, there’s no one she can look to for help.

And what happens if you were impregnated during a brutal rape? Well, that’s no different. You’re the one who’s pregnant, and everything happens for a reason, right? According to the men deciding your fate, that’s just the way it is. You still need to find the cash yourself. It’s not your neighbor’s problem to help lift the burden of a crappy society.

This all means one thing: if you’re a woman and want to protect against the possibility that you might need an abortion after you’ve been raped (and since you’re female that’s already a ridiculously common scenario), then you need to pay up for “rape” insurance, or more accurately, abortion insurance. Naturally, the statistical likelihood that you could be raped increases as your yearly income decreases. In other words, the poorer you are the more likely you will be put in this situation.

Even though all these arguments were made to the lawmakers responsible for Bill 214, they were ignored. Even though it could have been made at least somewhat sensible by writing rape and fetal abnormality exceptions into the bill, these sensibilities were ignored. As per usual, the voice of the male majority squashed those who already have less of a voice in our government.