The question of gender equality has always been one of the most acute in the present day world. In the western world a number of countries are promoting equal rights between men and women. The United Kingdom and the United States have always been known as the countries that gave birth to the suffragette movement, feminist movements and the struggle for female equality has always been one of the most discussed themes in the UK and the USA.
It is not surprising that such a significant event as the suffragette movement and other equality organizations provided a he impact on the development of social, political and legal spheres of the United Kingdom: For years the United Kingdom had championed gender equality in public policy, in democratic institutions and through extensive anti-discrimination laws, but erasing disparity between the sexes was an unfinished project that the country’s officials were striving to complete through legislative reform and stronger women’s empowerment policies and programming, a parliamentary Under-Secretary and Minister for the East of England told the Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee today (Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 2008) . But the threatening signals have appeared already in the Western Countries.
The Immigrants find possible for honor killings even it is prohibited by the laws of the country they are living in and it significantly bothers the governmental and international human rights organizations, which assist struggle of women equality. It is not surprising such a significant event as the struggle for equal rights for women (and it should be noted that it is lasting for more than hundred years already) has significantly impacted the social life in the western world and such breaking news have become a real shock for those who participate in gender struggle. There are a number of investigators who provided numerous researches dealing with the question of equality in the Muslim countries as well as in the Western Ones. The burning question which is examined within this essay is honor killings.
The problem area is why the civilized countries such as the United States are involved in the Affairs with the countries, which have such Barbarian laws and even observe this among the immigrants, who dwell in the US. Honor Killings in the Western and Islamic Countries: the Reasons, Prevention and Perspectives On February 12, 2009, Muzzammil Hassan informed police that he had beheaded his wife. Hassan had immigrated to the United States 30 years ago and, after a successful banking career, had founded Bridges TV, a Muslim-interest network which aims, according to its website, “to foster a greater understanding among many cultures and diverse populations. “
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III told The Buffalo News that “this is the worst form of domestic violence possible,” and Khalid Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, told the New York Post that Islam forbids such domestic violence. While Muslim advocacy organizations argue that honor killings are a misnomer stigmatizing Muslims for what is simply domestic violence, a problem that has nothing to do with religion, Phyllis Chesler, who just completed a study of more than 50 instances of North American honor killings, says the evidence suggests otherwise (Phyllis Chesler, 2009). It goes without saying that honor killing was a real shock for the both societies Christian and Muslim. The person, who could hardly be expected to violate anyone’s human rights, suddenly killed his wife.
It is essential that it significantly undermining of confidence of the Muslim society in the eyes of the neighbors as it is not just domestic violence as it was reported by the Erie County District Attorney, but it is severe crime, which ought to be punished. It is natural that the society would be eager to learn what the reasons for such actions as honor killing are and how this could be explained, by the researches. The cultural background of the honor killings is obvious and it roots go deeply into the Muslim perception and understanding of female nature, their rights and patriarchate, which is observed in the Muslim Countries. It is a well known fact that the Muslim countries have very significant problems with the gender equality and women are not allowed even to wear the clothes they would like to, the punishment for this could be the one and only “death.
Families that kill for honor will threaten girls and women if they refuse to cover their hair, their faces, or their bodies or act as their family’s domestic servant; wear makeup or Western clothing; choose friends from another religion; date; seek to obtain an advanced education; refuse an arranged marriage; seek a divorce from a violent husband; marry against their parents’ wishes; or behave in ways that are considered too independent, which might mean anything from driving a car to spending time or living away from home or family (Phyllis Chesler, 2009). The religious and ethnic prejudice does not let young people to reveal and express them. There were noticed a number of cases, when children, mostly young girls, were killed by their parents (even mothers assisted the fathers) in killing young girls, who did not want to follow the religious dogmas of Islamic culture. Unfortunately some adults do not want to understand that contemporary life goes far beyond the religion dictates and it is essential that children want to be alike their classmates, do not wear hijab, use make up and other.
The same time the parents should be also understood as they want to keep traditions as cultural as well as religious to preserve their ethnic and cultural identity. These honor killing have already become a part of their life for thousand years and they consider that westernizing is a kind of disgrace, which could be cured only by a kill. It is like some kind of ritual. The same time it does not excuse their intention to violate the human rights and kill those who do not want some have viewed honor killings as a logical extension of traditional Islamic gender practices, the natural consequence of system that enforces sex-segregation through veiling and female seclusion and harshly punishes violations of these boundaries. Others have argued that honor killings are the antithesis of Islamic morality.
This latter view is essentially correct from the perspective of Qur’an, prophetic traditions (hadith), and Islamic legal thought, as a careful analysis of the relevant texts shows (Kecia Ali, 2003) It is not very hard to define whether the Islamists have a right to kill, the answer is undoubtedly no human rights are still the same for every individual: the nationality, the race, the religious beliefs. In the Muslim countries the situation is worse than in the western ones as the honor killings is majority authoritarian countries is allowed legally. Women in the Muslim Countries are living under the threat of constant death if they would bring shame on the family: Women in Pakistan live in fear. They face death by shooting, burning or killing with axes if they are deemed to have brought shame on the family. They are killed for supposed illicit’ relationships, for marrying men of their choice, for divorcing abusive husbands.
They are even murdered by their kin if they are raped as they are thereby deemed to have brought shame on their family. The truth of the suspicion does not matter “merely the allegation is enough to bring dishonor on the family and therefore justifies the slaying (Amnesty International, 1999) and Pakistan is not the single country, where women live under the total oppression of men. The religious dogmas grew significantly and alongside with religious dogmas there have appeared a number of social dogmas, which does not allow women to get equal education with men, to drive cars and visit public places alone. It is a well known fact that women in Saudi Arabia do not actually participate in business and legislation prohibits a number of activities for women.
We should not also forget about the fact that Saudi Arabia is a Monarchy, and Islamist country, where religion provides a significant impact on cultural and social life of people, women as well: Saudi Arabia follows a strict form of Islamic law that does not allow women self-guardianship, mandating a male guardian for women of all ages. A woman cannot travel, appear in court, marry or work without permission from a male guardian, sometimes her own son (Faiza Saleh Ambah, 2008). The female activists consider that life in the countries like Saudi Arabia could be defined as the sexual slavery. It is not surprising that men are using their power to force women doing something and oppress them in different ways.
Describing relations between men and women in Islamic countries there should be noted that the women are not protected legally and could be killed according to the current legal implications of Saudi Arabia: Honor killings are justified under Islam in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia. For example, tenth-grade textbooks teach Saudi children that it is permissible to kill adulterers. In April 2008, a girl was killed by her father for talking to a boy on Facebook, an online social networking website. A leading Saudi cleric, Sheikh Ali al-Maliki, was outraged that girls had access to such websites where they could post pictures of themselves and otherwise “behave badly,” but showed no concern over the girl actually killed (Supna Zaidi, 2008).
We see that there is no even a slight hint of equality observed within the Islamic world, the foreign activists struggle for the gender equality and it is considered that they succeeded in some areas, especially in the educational on. But the same time the legal implications that let honor killings still exist. Honor killing occurred in Islamic and non-Islamic countries and the poor statistic illustrate the number of victims of religious dogmas. According to the data provided by the United Nations Organizations every year there are up to 5,000 people killed due the honor killings reasons. Should the United States become involved in the affairs of other countries, particularly pertaining to human rights, when they include that country’s traditions, philosophies of religious practices?