[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September 2003, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
UK Muslims condemn honour killings
Commander Andy Baker holds a photograph of Heshu
Cmdr Baker: "We can prevent these murders"
British Muslims do not condone so-called honour killings, community leaders have said.

On Monday a Kurdish Muslim father, Abdalla Yones, was convicted of murdering his 16-year-old daughter Heshu after she formed a relationship with a Christian boyfriend.

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told BBC News Online that the case was not symptomatic of a widespread problem in the Muslim community.

Many Muslims would understand Yones being upset by his daughter's apparent rejection of his faith, said Mr Bunglawala, but they would never condone his actions.

"It may have been disheartening to see his daughter growing up not with his value system but someone else's.

"But many Muslims are uncomfortable about how Islam has been dragged into this, because Islam categorically does not allow people to kill their own daughter," Mr Bunglawala said.

Islam categorically does not allow people to kill their own daughter
Inayat Bunglawala,
Muslim Council of Britain

The MCB spokesman admitted there was a "tension" between the values of Islam and life in the UK with regard to sexual behaviour and relationships.

"Many Muslims worry about whether their children will grow up to be good Muslims so that tension is always there.

"But most children realise and accept the value system they've been brought up in."

Abdalla Yones was a political refugee who came to the UK from Iraq 10 years ago, and Mr Bunglawala felt that was a factor in the case.

Most Muslims who were born in Britain or had lived in the country for long periods were more at ease with combining and accepting the different sets of cultures and value systems, he said.

'No-one's right'

Kurdistan Refugees Women's Organisation co-ordinator Sawsan Salim said most Kurds also condemned "honour killings".

"No excuse should be given for such a brutal tragedy.

"No-one has the right to kill women under any name, whether it is God or culture."

There was a case a few months ago, where a mother and her son took her daughter, his sister - and she was expecting - and murdered her in cold blood here in Great Britain
Ram Gidoomal, of the South Asian Development Partnership charity

There were 12 "honour killings" in Britain last year - six in London, according to Scotland Yard.

But Ram Gidoomal, of the South Asian Development Partnership charity, told BBC News: "There are many more that go unreported."

Victims were sometimes taken abroad before being murdered, he added.

It was estimated there were more than 13 honour killings worldwide every day in 2000.

Entire families can be involved.

And women have even been murdered for the "dishonour" of being raped.

The question for us is if Heshu had gone into a police station saying she felt at risk would she have been treated with the urgency her concerns warranted?
Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt

Mr Gidoomal told BBC News: "There was a case a few months ago, where a mother and her son took her daughter, his sister - and she was expecting - and murdered her in cold blood here in Great Britain."

He urged "mosques, Hindu temples, Gurdwaras [temples], and indeed Asian Christian churches" to teach their congregations that "this sort of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable".

"The taking of life is a serious matter, and goes against any religious teaching."

Schools and social services also needed to confront the problem "as a matter of urgency", Mr Gidoomal added.

Task force

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt told BBC News: "We can prevent some of these murders.

"The question for us is if Heshu had gone into a police station saying she felt at risk would she have been treated with the urgency her concerns warranted?

Abdalla Yones
Heshu's father Abdalla cut his own throat after killing his daughter

"We need to highlight this problem so more officers and reception staff at police stations understand the urgency."

Scotland Yard has formed a task force to increase its understanding of "honour killings".

Serious Crime Directorate head Commander Andy Baker said the Met's "ignorance and lack of understanding of the motive" made it hard to investigate the murders.

"We can prevent these murders."

People who had tried to protect Yones would be investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, Cmdr Baker added.

And Yones' conviction should be "a message, loud and clear to those who condone or stay silent over the treatment of women in their midst".

"We will not tolerate it."

What is your opinion of so-called honour killings?


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

Why leave your country and come to the West if you are not prepared to compromise and learn the values here?
Deborah, London, England
Heshu's death will make a precedent and serve as a warning to any other radical stuck-in-the-mud father/family, who may or has carried out a horrifying crime such as this one. Why leave your country and come to the West if you are not prepared to compromise and learn the values here? As an African woman I tell my mother time and time again that if she wanted me to only have Nigerian boyfriends then maybe she should have raised me in Nigeria. Words cannot describe the anger and hate I feel to those communities that condone such terrifying acts. Well done to Judge Dennison for handing down the maximum sentence.
Deborah, London, England

If a father can murder his own daughter in a frenzied attack because she took a Christian lover and turned her back on her religion and culture, how can the rest of the world be expected to get along?
Paul, London, UK

I cannot see how this sort of behaviour can be justified. Britain is meant to be a multi-racial country that should therefore accept all religions; it is part of what makes Britain a civilised and modern country. My condolences to all of the Yones family.
Michael Orr, Hong Kong

Muslim clergymen have to come out in force and condemn such action publicly
Tony, UK
It is a serious crime that is committed in the name of god and honour. The Muslim clergymen have to come out in force and condemn such action publicly. It has to be made clear that it is against God in the strongest term. There is nothing preventing Muslim leaders from issuing a worldwide fatwa against people who commit such an act.
Tony, UK

As a Sikh and an Asian I have been assured many times that "honour killings" are neither encouraged nor allowed in religion or culture. Hence any honour killing is not based on cultural/religious background but rather is a testament to the warped mindset of the people involved. That being the case these people should be treated like the criminals they are instead of being given any leniency.
RSS, Kenya

This crime is the ultimate racist crime. A right wing thug who murdered his daughter for dating a Muslim would rightly be branded a racist bigot. If the father held such a fear of his daughter adopting Western values why did he seek asylum in a non-Muslim country? I do not mean to sound racist myself, but if the values that your children adopt are so important to you why fully expose them to a totally different culture.
Steve, UK

The work of some Muslims has made Islam seem a barbaric religion
Mustafa Al-Nassir, Saudi Arabia
What this guy (Younes) did is a vicious act that has nothing to do with Islamic teaching. It is a tribal thinking that drives some people to do such thing. If you ask this guy who killed his daughter "would you do the same to your son if he had committed the same sin?" I am sure he would not do that but will say "yes, I would do the same". Islam is not a barbaric religion but the work of some Muslims has made Islam seem a barbaric religion to people who don't know the real Islam.
Mustafa Al-Nassir, Saudi Arabia

This is appalling especially when it is not an isolated practice. There has been too much effort to preserve "culture" rather than in encouraging immigrants to integrate into our society and think of themselves as British. If you move here to benefit from our society you have to accept the negative aspects as well.
Howard J, England

Muslims come to Britain and want to settle into the community taking part in our generous benefits, health service and so on. But when it comes to integration into our communities they draw the line at being a part of that. Their ways belong to the last century, their women are murdered and some have to cover their faces and legs to stop other men from looking at them. Slavery was abolished in this country 100 years ago and yet the men treat their women as slaves and all in the name of religion.
Pauline, England

Honour killings are a great tragedy whatever culture they occur in, and obviously the majority of Muslims oppose the practice. However, all four traditional schools of Islamic law agree that death is the correct punishment for any apostate (ie any Muslim who leaves the faith) so there is a need for Muslims to reinterpret the Koran and Hadith (Islamic traditions) before they can reasonably claim the practice is 'un-Islamic' as the Muslim Council of Britain has done.
John, UK

Islam totally condemns the taking of another life. This is a crime against women which strikes across all cultural barriers, races and creeds. Three out of four domestic violence cases against women are committed by a relative or partner and it is an increasing issue worldwide. No religion accepts this kind of brutality.
Liakim, UK

There is no such thing as honour killing in Islam let alone killing your own daughter. This person should be put behind bars for rest of his life. Anyone who condones his action should also be put behind bars. I thought we lived in the 21st century and not in the dark ages.
Muhammed Sarwar Ahmed, Liverpool, UK




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The BBC's Anita McVeigh
"He stabbed her and left her to bleed to death"



SEE ALSO
'Honour killings' law blocked
08 Sep 03 |  Middle East
Rise in Pakistan 'honour killings'
11 Dec 02 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific