You know that “hot stories” sidebar thing on the right side of the Facebook newsfeed? Well, I happened to click through on an article from Mail Online about a father accused of murdering his 15 year old daughter as an ‘honor killing’. I’d read about another instance where that happened in Canada.
If you’re not familiar with honor killing, here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia:
An honor killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a family or clan member by one or more fellow family members, where the murderers (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonor upon the family, clan, or community. This perceived dishonor is normally the result of (a) utilizing dress codes unacceptable to the family (b) wanting out of an arranged marriage or choosing to marry by own choice or (c) engaging in certain sexual acts. These killings result from the perception that defense of honor justifies killing a person whose behavior dishonors their clan or family.
It’s a common relatively occurrence in Arab culture, which is where the majority of Muslims come from. So, it has become one more item on a long list giving Islam a bad reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world. As if they needed anything else, what with extremists blowing themselves (and the people around them) up left and right.
I understand that there are differences in culture, but I also believe in the priceless value of human life. It should never be taken for something as ridiculous as a perceived loss of honor. How can a culture ever hope to mature if it continues to practice such outdated and obviously flawed ideologies? It’s not ok to kill your daughter just because she wore shorts to school instead of a Hijab.
Article aside, I was more disturbed by the comments being left in Facebook, which seemed to paint all Muslims as being evil terrorists bent on the destruction of the world. I’m not Muslim myself, but I’ve had the opportunity to know quite a few Muslims and I can say with some assurance that none of them want to blow me up. So, I pointed out in the comments that Christianity has been used as a reason to commit horrible acts, like the Crusades, Inquisition and even the Salem Witch Hunts.
The response was that those weren’t ‘real’ Christians and that Islam is violent, and that it’s evil in general. I had pointed out that if Christians lived according to some of the stuff that’s in the Old Testament we’d seem pretty odd and scary too. So, this person lambasted me, saying that Jesus did away with all that Old Testament nonsense. That being the case I pulled out a bunch of quotes that are less than pleasant about slaying people and burning them that’s in the New Testament. I also pointed out that you can’t blame the whole for the actions of a few, that there are extremists in both groups. Another person chimed in that Christ didn’t abolish the law of the Old Testament. He said that He came to fulfill it. Christians still observe the 10 Commandments so there must be validity to that statement. I also threw in some quotes from the Qur’an that I found that support the idea of Islam not advocated wanton murder.
In any case, this person wouldn’t have any of it. The person is hell bent on believing that Islam “advocates violence and oppression and murder” and that “JESUS never advocated violence, oppression and murder”.
So, I told her this:
“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.”
The message never really got through to her and I don’t believe it will. There are people who are so blinded by popular media, bad personal experience, or a combination of the two that they will refuse to see reason. From what I’ve seen, different news channels in the US slant things different ways. It’s a ratings game. They don’t tell the news. They cater to their audience. I’m kinda starting to prefer Al’Jazeera, because it seems more impartial and maybe I just feel comfortable with a 3rd party (usually Brits) reporting on matters. Of course, Al’Jazeera is funded by Qatar, so who knows? Maybe there’s no such thing as unbiased reporting anymore.
I’m sure there are violent aspects of the Qur’an, Shari’a, and other Islamic religious texts, but the same can be said of Christianity and Christian religious texts. Both religious groups have committed travesties over the course of history. Does that mean that people that belong to particular religious groups are inherently bad? I don’t think so.
I think we all just need to keep things in perspective. Just because someone’s Christian doesn’t mean they’re going to drink poisoned Kool Aid and commit mass suicide, and just because someone’s Muslim doesn’t mean they’re going to strap on a bomb and blow themselves up. Get a grip on reality.
Note: This is not a debate about the validity of either religion. Any comments left on this post bashing either religion, rather than discussing the idea proposed here, will be removed, and depending on what’s said, the commenter will be banned by IP address. NO hate speech. Thank you.