What Do Honor Crimes And The Economy Have In Common?

I have always been amazed at Emad Hajjaj’s ability to merge two issues-of-the-day together that are typically unreleated, and still gaurentee some comedic gold. Such can be said of his latest caricature depicting a frazzled Abu Mahjoob with gun in hand and Abu Mohammad pushing him on.

Rough translation:

Abu Mahjoob: “I jumped in and found him embracing her! He saw me and was surprised…and then he took her and ran! Man, my blood is boiling! What should I do?”

Abu Mohammad: “Go get him and shoot him without a moment’s hesitation! Stealing a gas cylinder in this economic climate is considered an honor crime! And take care of that cylinder. Haram…she’s innocent!!”

Lingering on the same thread of thought for a minute, it would be interesting – in a freakonomics sort of way – to see whether the economy does have an impact on honor crimes. One might deduce that tougher economic times tend to induce the elements that make up an honor crime, specifically things like unemployment and idleness, social frustration, concerns regarding moral degradation, a retreat to conservative norms that emphasize notions of honor, etc, etc.

Another note: while having increased dramatically in price over the past few years, gas cylinders are still subsidized by the government, to the tune of roughly JD70 million a year.


  • مهو الحكومه قرقعت سمانا بأسطوانة الغاز ودعمها..زي ما تقول بسحبوا دمك وبقولولك مهو احنا داعمين الغاز.. 

  • I think Hajaj is referring to the fact that the high cost of marriage is what increased the number of these “unlawful” relationships, which in turn increased the number of this type of murders! When he described the gas cylinder as innocent, I think he has been referring to the fact that girls are victims of this high costs of marriage just like men are! They have feelings after all!

  • Good research question. Only problem is which other economic period are going to compare your data against?

  • Haitham if you dig deeper than the surface you’ll realize that most of the cases of so-called honor killing don’t really involve any sort of sexual promiscuity. and really there is no causation and little correlation between honor killing and economical status while there is a high correlation between honor killing and familial background.

  • bambam,

    This is what I believe in as well, but I am just trying to use the art analysis lessons I used to take back in school to draw on similarities between the two subjects from the way the picture is drawn (I hated that teacher anyways)!

    There was another teacher who I hated as well (social studies) who told us that honor crimes have to do with property bequeathing, specially lands! Another reason is prostitution as a family business, the girl might decide to straighten up, so they kill her!A 3rd reason is incest! A fourth might be intimidating girls, to submit for the well of the elders in her family! All of that I think have to do with familial background rather than money!

  • Bambam,

    I disagree with what you are saying. I think here is a correlation between economical status and honor killings. How many crimes have been made in the name of honour but have actually been for the inheritance? A friend of mine had been threatended by her uncles upon her father´s death to give up her part of the inheritance to her brother or die… simple.

    Honor has in many many cases been tied to the economical status. But what is the percentage i don´t know. For example do richgirls die for honor as much as poor girls for the same acts? how many girls died for honour from poor backgrounds vs rich backgrounds? how many does crime rate increase in more difficult economical times?

  • 1-Both are supported by ignorance and silence.

    2- Both are terrible and are to get worse if not confronted.

    3- Both get their share of media coverage.

    4- Both scream out Poverty.

    Poverty+Ignorance+ rapid social and economic changes unspoken for+Social injustice or inequality= is a recipe for crimes yet to come.

Your Two Piasters: