A Little Tough On Honor

A court in Jordan has sentenced a 23-year-old man to 10 years in jail for killing his sister. The man was initially sentenced to death, but this was commuted to give him the chance to repent.

The court heard that he stabbed his sister 14 times and shot her repeatedly after her former husband accused her of having affairs. Jordanians convicted of so called “honour killings” have previously been jailed for as little as six months.

Correspondents say the 10-year sentence underlines the authorities’ determination to stamp out the crime. Amnesty International says that last year 17 women were officially recorded as having been killed in “honour crimes” in Jordan. [source]

They should’ve given him the death sentence. That would’ve gone a long way to underlining the authorities’ determination to stamp out the crime; a long way.


  • I’d settle for life in prison for every perpetrator of these crimes. Ten years is greater than average, but still a piddly sentence for murder by international standards.

  • I am against death sentence, a lifetime jail would have been good as layla says, anyway im sure that 10 years with some prisoners (who have not seen their wives since long 😛 ) is much tougher than a death sentence.

  • Kristen, that doesn’t matter

    Nas, I am not sure how fair this sentence is. The man is just as a much of a social victim as of his sister. Death sentence wouldn’t forbade him of committing such crime, because people with such mentality would just die believing that they are dying for their honor. This is a social crime, we should all get punished for the culture we built.

    Maybe we should start advertising that it is okay to live without honor. It would solve many problems of us. Let’s have a campaign in our streets like the one for traffic accidents ‘It is OKAY to live without honor, it is not the end of the world’

    ‘Honor is not an excuse of killing’

    ‘Life is more worthy than honor’

    Let’s just drop the honor flag

  • “death sentence wouldn’t forbade him of committing such crime”

    its not meant to deter him from a crime he’s already committed. it’s meant to deter others.

  • How could I disagree. It IS a start, but an awfully small one. I’m not wholly in favor of the death penalty, but wonder if it would, in fact, send the message that’s needed to curb this kind of behavior. Thanks for your thought provoking posts…

  • no, men kill others for their honor. if it was themselves, the japanese way, we’d be living in a healthier society.

  • here’s an idea to stop honour killings…how about marry for love.
    if men and women married someone they actually loved, then not only would infidelity drop, even if it did happen, the chance they would kill their other half would drop as well.

  • It doesn’t matter who would die, and it isn’t just the honor of the murderer. The goal is to clean the honor of the family. Families do pick a victim who have to be a man enough to do the kill, even if he ended up dead himself, he would be honored for saving the family honor, and he would be disgraced to the rest of his life if he didnt abide. This is the mentality, a stronger verdict won’t much. Awareness would do.

  • Muna, Well I don’t know, if you look at the US where people most of the time get married for Love(Depends on how you define love), 50% of marriages end in divorce and 33% of married women are either engaged or were engaged in an affair.

    Read here

  • Observer,
    Awarness is key, but you yourslef said that it is about the mentality; if death sentence is not enough deterrent would awareness be? And what kind of awareness are you talking about? The one that takes generations? The law has to be changed and the death sentence is a just one, coz treating every killer as an insane or sick person is not a soloution.

    In any change initiative a strong message has to be sent and that message has to come from the top.

  • Salaam ‘Alaikum

    These men (and the women who encourage them) are certainly products of the society, but I wouldn’t call them victims. Not at all. They are perpetrators. Every single one of us is given the power to rise above, and with the exception of those who are mentally disabled, we are given the *ability* to choose between right and wrong. Now, I know not everyone is a Muslim, or particularly religious, but from my perspective, God has given them the tools and guidance and given them the choice. That makes them something that is the opposite of a victim.

    Regarding infidelity, we know that most of the women, girls, and men who are killed were probably not unfaithful or promiscuous (as if that is a reason). Many women are killed for the sake of their inheritance, then the man claims honor to get a social and legal sanction for it. This has been going on for decades. There were cases in the past of men being killed because they were out on the corner with their friends all night, or wearing hair gel and generally acting like dopey young men. On top of that, you have girls and women who are murdered by relatives because they fear that this girl or woman will reveal a shameful secret of family sexual or physical abuse. Such a case happened in Salt last year — and that’s just one that made the papers due to the horrific extent of the killing itself. I also remember two such cases involving boys several years ago.

    Finally, you have people who are killled — notably women — on the say so of their neighbors’ and vicious relatives’ gossiping tongues. We *know* there are girls who have done nothing more than been the subject of rumors that they talked to a man or were seen wtih a man. A man in Jerash killed his wife and six of his children a few years ago because the neighbors were spreading gossip that, ultimately I believe, ended up being tragically false.

    So it is isn’t enough to say, “Well, this is the problem with the way we marry, it leads to infidelity,” because it is just as likely — if not more likely — that she was killed for her land, or becuase a jealous neighbor spread rumors about her, or because she threatened to tell someone about abuse she suffered.

    Mohanned, you say that we should advertise that it is “okay to live without honor.” I say the opposite. I vote for *true* honor, real valor, precious little of which is evident in people who have these disgusting, backards notions about the value of life. If they are Christians, let their community present them with Biblical and church writings about true honor and valor and the value of life. If they are Muslims, let our community point to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Ditto if they are Druize, or Yazidi (as in the case of that awful killing in Iraq last year) and so forth. Let us say to the families and neighbors, “If you are truthful, bring forth your proof.” No, these people are in submission to the tongues of their neighbors and relatives, and it is these things that they fear and appeal to. There is nothing wrong with seeking the approval of your family or society, but when doing so leads you to *take a human life,* then it is ‘ayb and it is mindless, and people should be held responsible for this and prompted to do better and be better.

    These things won’t stop until *we*, the rest of the society, make this “killing for my honor” mindset and idea an ‘ayb itself.

  • Umm Zaid, loved that. I’m at work ‘presenting’.

    Kind of a tidy deal here, the brother gets her inheritance even if he gets jail time, and the husband doesn’t have any alimony to pay.


  • In 1997, the World Bank looked at every single known instance of “honor” killing in Jordan. Through post-mortem examinations of the bodies, it was found that a full 95% of the victims were virgins at the time of their deaths. Not that that should matter.

  • Mohanned “The law has to be changed and the death sentence is a just one”
    it is not very related here, but i think that: Only he who gave life to us is the one to take it away from us. Never in Quran as far as i know was death a sentence for anything but in war and that is normal there.
    I am discussing this here because We religious people have made killing so easy and sometimes justified by religion, that is when people depend on Hadeeths (which I doubt Mohammad ever heard about), for example “stoning to death” was never mentioned in Quran, and muslims have used it by refering it to Mohammad, which is somehow not logic when Quran gives a bearable punishment for out-of-wed-lock sex.
    Using and believing that such punishments exist (Stoning to death) makes the value of life less in the minds of those who practice these animal actions and punishments, and make them think that killing the girl who made sex is justifyable even when it is never mentioned in Quran. (That is when muslims are engaged with it). I sadely think that the bad understanding of religion have severly affected honor killing even when it mentions nothing about it. Islam needs to be reformed (and updated). our belief in the absolutes have killed the brain in us, maybe the only absolute we have to have is that God exist, and everything else should be thought of again (in the lines of Quran). and then no one will kill a girl for just talking to a man or just giving him her body because she was bit stupid, and no one will use death sentence.

  • I am no relegious scholar but I know that premeditated murder is punished by death. And what is up with stonning to death? Did I mention that? Or is it even mentioned or is it any close to the case being discussed? Please don’t put words in my mouth, and don’t draw conclusions. I am not here to discuss the reform of “islamic” behaviors. Simply put: He killed his sister, he deserves death,thats my point of view, and me stating my point of view doesn’t give you the right to judge that my brain is dead!

  • MD, i’m doing a project on honor crimes so I did some extensive reading on islam and it’s punishment of adultery. It’s true that no verses in the Quran mention stoning, but several stories involving the prophet support the stoning of both the man and the woman involved in the act after they’ve been proven guilty. This punishment is generally agreed upon by scholars for married adulteres, whereas the punishment for the non married is 100 lashes.

  • Farah, I know about these stories, I just dont think they are true, I know it is non-sense to start discussing if they are true or not, maybe i lost all the trust in those who delivered us the hadeeth, I can simply not believe that Mohammad could stand infront of a man or a woman and saw them dying by stoning in front of his eyes, dying very very slowly, this contradicts with the mercy image i have about him in my mind. this punishment is simply too cruel, and if it was to be mentioned then it shud have been stated in Quran, why would Allah send half of the punishment in a verse when he have already mention the subject, and leave the other half to Mohammed? why when he talked about it would he leave the very cruel punishment to be stated by Mohammed? maybe i am wrong, who knows.

    Allah did say in Quran that he forgives all but worshipping a God other than him (ofcourse between those who got his message), even then he did not ask us to kill those who worship another than him after getting his message, its left for him to decide. this gives me an idea that the heaviest mistake is not adultry, why shud we kill for it then and give it the heaviest punishment ?

  • Mohannad, I think an advertising campaign like the one we are having in our streets now for traffic maybe would help.

    Um Zaid, honor is a relative concept. It obviously means differently to different people. There is no true honor. People would still have their own version even if we try to impose our own on them. Maybe it is time to stop making a big deal out of honor. We should declare that life itself tops it. Human love and family relationship is more important. Honor is overrated in our society, we should shrink it.

Your Two Piasters: