Honor killings are something that we hear a lot about in the news, but that are usually talked about in the context of Islamic countries. What a lot of people don’t realize is that they can, and do, happen closer to home. There have been several instances of honor killings in the United States, but they are not typically recorded as ‘honor killings’, but rather included with other murders. The police departments don’t have a record of honor killings, so when such tragic crimes happen, they are recorded as homicides.
Police departments are taught to look at killings as capital murders, rather than examining the motivations behind the crimes. This means that while the killers may still eventually be caught and end up behind bars, the root cause of the crimes is still not treated, and there is nothing being done to stop future crimes happening.
The people who commit honor killings are proud of what they do. They believe that they are doing the right thing. The Department of Justice estimates that there are between 23 and 27 honor killings performed each year in the United States. That’s around two a month, but there are no officially collected statistics to back that up. The culture in the USA is such that people are fearful of talking about crimes that Muslims commit towards other Muslims, and it is not something that people are confident addressing. There is a leaning towards being tolerant and politically correct, and many people, including law enforcement, are reluctant to step in when it comes to Muslim against Muslim crime, because of a fear of being seen as racist or not tolerant.
In the US, women and girls are at risk of being killed by their male relatives, in some cases with their own mothers aiding the crime, because of fear that the girls may bring shame upon their families. The crimes that the girls commit could be something like dating a non-Muslim, or not dressing modestly, or perhaps they would have dared to reject an arranged marriage.
Honor killings happen all over the world, and girls who become ‘too Westernized’ are at serious risk of them happening. If the government does not take measures to identify the scale of the issue, then it could well continue to spread across the USA. In 2016, according to lawyers, there were honor killings in Arizona, in Texas, and in many other parts of the United States. Muslim men molest, beat, shoot, stab or even run over their own children because they believe that they need to be punished for the crimes that they have committed and that they are doing the right thing to restore honor to their family name. These crimes happen all over the world, but the conversation focuses on the crimes in Pakistan or in Egypt, instead of the ones that are closer to home. It’s time that we look at the way that things are in our own country, instead of worrying about our neighbors.