Verbatim | On Honor Crimes

“…one would face a longer jail sentence for bouncing a cheque than for killing a woman.”

Jordanian journalist/activist Rana Husseini speaking at a seminar in Doha



  • I loved so much reading this article and what Rana Hussein does for women and that she said: “In our culture, if anything bad happens, we ALWAYS blame America and Israel”.
    She’s TOTALLY right and what she told is great…By the way, I don’t understand why if she works so hard against the honour killings, she told that Norma Khoury book, about that is a false and it serves for “blaming islam”…I red it in Internet, I don’t remember where and I was so angry for what Rana Hussein told, also because Norma Khoury CLEARLY told that it DOESN’T depend from Islamic religion (also her Christian father blame and hit her to have called “killer” her killed-Muslim-friend father’s). I think that even if the book of Norma Khoury was a false, it focuses as well on a BIG problem.
    Then, it’s honestly right that Jordan is famous her also for its glamourous royal family and the most part of the fame in West of “moderation” of Jordan depends from them…but I personally know that Queen Rania expressed so much against the honour killing and also other member of the Royal Family and tries to abolish the two articles that protect the authors of this crime…The problem is WHEN they can finally do that!!!! Does IAF block it or what?
    Ps. I videotyped an Italian program where Queen Rania has been hosted when she was here: she in effect a great woman!

  • Alessandra: i am by default weary of any book or author that passes themselves off as non-fiction when indeed it is fiction. we have enough of that in the real world, let alone literature.

    the lower house of parliament usually rejects any piece of legislation related to honor crimes.

  • I just tell that it’s strange that a woman that works against honour killings, tells that… . Of course that book can be a false, but litterature can help to know a problem or a phenomenon (without homerty).

  • I think you’re both right. A book on fiction should be labeled as such. But the pity with the Norma Khoury situation is that her book was wholly discredited on the basis of it being found to be a work of fiction, when in fact, situations such as the one she describes in her book do happen in Jordan, they do need to be addressed, and it is high time the punishments fit the crimes. I’ve heard even diplomats in Jordan say, off the record of course, that it was a mistake for Rana, if she truly cares about the victims, to so thoroughly go after Norma for the falsehoods in her book because it distracts from the larger point, the one Alessandra is trying to make, which is that these things do happen in Jordan. Dahlia may not exist, but others like her do, and no one seems to be doing a darned thing about it other than talking. Meanwhile, people keep dying this way.

  • Yes, Aitai, it’s exactely what I meant! I’m very happy to know that also some diplomats in Jordan said the same.
    Rana Hussein in effect, if I remember well, told that there were historical or geographical mistakes about Jordan in Norma Khoury’s book (and I don’t really know coz I’m Italian and I live in Italy), but a similar story to the tragedy of Dhalia can happen in Jordan (of course not just there).
    Then, I didn’t know Rana before, but the fact she told Norma would write the story of Dhalia “to blame Islam”…is the same thing some extremist can say!!!! Too many people USE Islam to HIDE the problems of Arab and Muslim societies and increasing the islamophoby in West, so I think that a woman that really cares about woman right, should avoid to do the same thing, even if she’s religious (or most of all if she’s religious).
    I of course red the book (in Italian) and in effect Norma DOESN’T IN ANY WAY BLAME ISLAM and she told that honour killings aren’t a religious problem.
    I really like very much what Rana told, expecially about USA and Israel: it’s very brave and right!

  • Alessandra: rana is absolutely right. this isn’t an issue where you can just make up the story and say we need to give it some credibility simply because hey, it could happen. it’s an insult to activists such as rana that have dedicated their entire lives to eradicating protectionary laws.

    So no, aitai, i dont think it was wrong for her to go after the falsehoods in such a book, especially as an activist and as a journalist. right is right and wrong is wrong. her argument is, as is mine, that the bigger picture is the reality that’s on the ground. the reality rana is reporting.

    and like i said before this problem is bad enough in its realistic form that it doesn’t need to help of fiction, or rather people who say they care about Jordan but in reality are looking for the quick buck on a taboo/controversial subject.

    at least thats how i feel

    thanks 🙂

  • I respect your opinion, Nas but again, Rana shouldn’t say that Norma would “blame Islam”.
    By the way I didn’t tell before, I like this blog so much and thanks to host me. 🙂

  • You can swear! I’m very interesting with Jordan and I maybe am the greatest fan of Hashemites family out of Jordan 🙂 . You know they are generally beloved here and I think that know Queen Rania received the Honorary citizienship of Milan and the Ambrogino d’Oro for her work for the dialogue between Arabs and Muslims and West (and I live near Milan) 🙂

  • But Rana is censored, too, Nas. . .you have to admit. She’s not able to always accurately report what’s happening on the ground because she’s living in a country with state-controlled media. So truth is a relative thing.

    I’m not by any means advocating what Norma did. . .I’m just saying by aggressively going after her, there are plenty of people who think Rana has set back progress on the issue. It would’ve been possible to point out all Norma’s inconsistencies/falsehoods in the book, but use the fictionalized Dahlia to help girls and women who are in Dahlia’s position for real.

    And, for the record, Rana hasn’t dedicated her entire life to eradicating the problem. She’s been at it a decade or so, but it is her job to work the crime beat for the Jordan Times, so it’s not like it’s volunteer work for her. She has been given cash awards, she travels the world on other peoples’ dime to talk about the issue, she is writing a book on the subject, so I see a little bit of personal benefit to her. Maybe a lot, in fact. So one has to at least wonder about the motives, about why she was so intent on going after Norma Khoury. Did she want a little bit of press attention for herself? If not, why did she appear in the Australian documentary about Norma Khoury?

    For all the activism, what has really changed for the at-risk people?! Nothing substantive that I can see. Lots of talk, very little action. . .on many peoples’ parts. It’s a pity because while people posture and talk, people are dying.

  • Aitai: suffice to say i wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment. it appears to me from your comments that you’re less interested in what rana has to say and more interested in what she personally benefits from it, matched with the opposite view concerning norma’s book i.e. being more concerned with the book’s fiction than what norma’s has benefited.

    but i respect your viewpoint

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