Sunday, February 12, 2012

CULTURAL TRADITIONS - Honor Killings in America


Honor Killings in America

As more Islamists come to America, more of their cultural traditions are being manifested in the public forum.  Many of these traditions bring with them concepts that are as foreign to many citizens as is their traditional mode of female attire.  America has always been a “melting pot”, probably more so than just about any nation on Earth.  Apart from the Native American tribes, everyone else has roots to other nations. 

It is to be expected that with the immigrants from each part of the earth, many customs and traditions accompany them on their relocation.  This mixture has resulted in a wide variety of races, religions and backgrounds. 

For the past 300 years America has offered something that has attracted people from every corner of the Earth and it was not always a decision to immigrate for the sake of an easier life.  In the beginning, coming to America involved considerable risk; but offered considerable opportunity for reward.  Also, in the beginning, it was not always the purpose in obtaining greater freedom in reaching the New World.  The colonies were under the rule of England until 1776.

There were so many who desired to relocate to America that it became necessary to establish quotas in order to have an organized and controlled influx.  This country has welcomed the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the brilliant and the ignorant.  We held out open arms to the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Protestants, Catholics and even the atheists; as well as people from any other religious background.  With the arrival of multitudes from various races and religions, there naturally formed areas where those who were like-minded would gather.

In general, there seems to have been a common motive for most immigrants - the desire to have a better life and future for themselves and their families.  To those around the world, “the American dream” offered opportunity in a variety of areas.  Regardless of one’s origin, they were free to enjoy rights only dreamed about back home.  One right has existed as the main purpose for many coming to America, the right to freely exercise the practice and worship of their chosen religion. 

Once here, whether your religion blended into the community or attracted attention, you were free to practice it as long as your enjoyment of your right did not infringe on the right of others to enjoy their rights.  This has contributed to cultural and religious clusters, whether a neighborhood or a community.  Traditionally, as those who practice a religion gained dominance in particular areas, it became more convenient and easier to not infringe on the rights of non-believers.  This held true to a great extent until recently when Muslims have not only desired to freely enjoy their religious practice, but have gone beyond that to expecting to also operate under their prior legal system. 

America has worked as the “Great Experiment” partly because one thing was commonly accepted by the masses of immigrants.  When you get to America, you become an American.  You are free to enjoy your family traditions, bring aspects of your culture with you and practice your religion of choice; but, you were always expected to assimilate into the American culture in public and to operate under the laws of our nation.  It is the operation of the country, under this framework, which provides equal opportunity for anyone who works hard.  It is this opportunity which was the attraction. 

When one group not only brings with them their traditions, culture and religion; but also expects to be treated under laws different than everyone else, the system begins to break down.  America was founded as a nation of laws.  Within the practice of your religion, follow those laws and you will also enjoy the protection of those who enforce those laws.  Expect special rules and unequal enforcement of the laws and society will fracture. 

Not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs.  Probably not all Muslims expect to live and operate in America under Sharia law, but many do.  We have been instructed that Sharia is just a part of the Muslim religion and we cannot deny them their Sharia practices.  It could be said that Sharia practice is only the desire of extremist Muslims; but, nevertheless it is here and gaining ground in various parts of our country. 

There are communities where city councils are dominated by Muslims.  There are areas where the police have been instructed to respect Sharia law when dealing with Muslims.  There have been instances where non-Muslims have been detained by police because they were doing something in a Muslim dominated area which Muslims find offensive but would otherwise be normal in the rest of the country.  One state recently passed a law forbidding the judges in that state from considering Sharia law when rendering their legal opinions and judgments.  That law was struck down by a court as being unconstitutional.  As the extremist Muslims have achieved victory and continue to gain ground in their self-proclaimed “right” to operate under Sharia law and be exempt from the laws of America, some of their practices have become more public and newsworthy. 

Americans have been exposed to stories in the news that many of us never expected to take place within our borders.  One of the most extreme situations falls under the concept of “honor killings”.  To most of us, that is an oxymoron.  As most of the “honor killings” take place with members of a family murdering another member of the same family, we have difficulty finding how any civilized people or religion could consider that a matter of honor. 

The following are summaries of some recent “honor killings” which took place in America:

·       A father of two teenage girls shot both of them to death in the back seat of his taxi.  He believed that they were causing dishonor to him and his family because they had become too westernized.  They were dressing like typical teenage girls and at least one had found a boyfriend. 

·       The father of a grown daughter used his vehicle to run over his daughter and a female friend of his daughter in the parking lot of a store.  His daughter died of her injuries.  Her crime was also that of acting like an American.

·       A father, his son and his second wife have recently been accused of murdering the first wife along with his three daughters.  They appear to have been murdered by being drowned and then placed in a car and driving the car into a lake to make it appear that they had drowned in an auto accident.  The father believed the daughters were not respecting his strict religious beliefs and the first wife had failed to provide him with a son. 

·       A current story reports that a mother has been arrested for the beating of her daughter.  The news states that the police are still investigating and there may be further arrests of other family members.  When arrested, the mother was at the hospital to see her daughter.  It is reported that she admitted to participating in the beating and understood that it was against the law in America, but that it was not against Sharia law.  The beating was the result of the grown daughter finding a boyfriend and talking to him on the phone.  When the police informed the mother that she would be arrested, she was shocked and did not believe she had done anything wrong.  Additional police were called to help subdue her in order to place her under arrest.

·       There are others just as unbelievable as these.

In our society, not only do most of us not see any form of honor in the murder of your own child, but we cannot even comprehend how this could be an acceptable practice by those who claim to be Americans. 

Make no mistake when you hear someone promoting Sharia as an acceptable addition to Muslims living in our country.  These practices and beliefs are opposed to the American way of life and our legal system.  This extends beyond, by a considerable amount, a cultural difference or tradition.  Americans are fascinated by various cultures and traditions, but repulsed by aspects of Sharia and their so-called “honor killings”.