Debra Saunders / November 5, 2009

There Is No Honor; There’s Only Killing

The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent out its usual roundup Tuesday of news stories alleging the mistreatment of Muslims in America. There was a story critical of the FBI harassment of Muslims in Queens, N.Y., in the wake of the arrest of a suspected terrorist. Another story concerned calls for an investigation into an FBI shooting that left Detroit Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah dead. There were also notices of CAIR banquets.

There was no story about Noor Faleh Almaleki. Her father, Faleh Hassan Almaleki, has been arrested for running down his 20-year-old daughter, as well as the mother of her live-in boyfriend, on Oct. 20 in an Arizona parking lot with his 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. On Monday, Noor Almaleki died, in what is considered the latest “honor killing” in America.

According to news reports, the father, who moved his family from Iraq in the mid-1990s, was angry because his daughter had become “too Westernized.” Before Noor Almaleki died, a local prosecutor described the crime as “an attempted honor killing.”

After the incident, Faleh Almaleki fled across the border to Mexico, then London. He was extradited and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on Saturday. The judge then assigned him an attorney. He has yet to enter a plea on the charges, which are likely to be upgraded to include murder or manslaughter.

Before the 20-year-old died, prosecutor Stephanie Low told a Maricopa County court that, “By his own admission, this was an intentional act and the reason was that his daughter had brought shame upon him and his family.”

So where is CAIR, which bills itself as “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization?” Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told me, “We tend to deal with things that are related to Islam and the Muslim community.”

Hooper added that CAIR does not “believe there’s any so-called honor in an honor killing. These things occur. They’re completely against Islamic beliefs. There’s no justification.” And: “Horrible things happen all over the world. Domestic abuse among families goes along religious lines,” based on false justifications.

In short, CAIR will make a stink when (male) imams are not allowed to board a Minneapolis plane, but don’t expect the organization to make an issue of honor killings.

The Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, however, released a statement that mourned the young woman’s death and called on the Muslim community to abandon its “denial that honor killings are an issue.”

The group’s founder, M. Zuhdi Jasser, who practices internal medicine, suggested that while groups like CAIR may want to paper over the cultural Islamic roots of honor killing, they do exist. And: “If you identify the pathology wrong – in an incorrect fashion – you will never treat the disease.”

Hooper told me that “the hate bloggers are trying to insert Islam” into Noor Almaleki’s death. But the true haters are those who want to disguise honor killings as pious and selfless, when they are in fact brutish and cowardly.

Or as Low noted when she argued for high bail, “The defendant tries to hide behind his moral convictions, and yet he also fled.”

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