1. Eloping Muslim Lives Matter


The brutal family electrocution of an eloping teenage couple in Karachi has triggered world furor over honor killing, a cancer that has long plagued Pakistan. Such a heinous crime cannot be justified by religion or culture.


Honor killing used to be practiced widely and legally in Medieval Europe and Imperial China, where women were debased from humans to assets in male custody. It is still attempted randomly and criminally in North India and America, by extremists in defense of caste and racial purity. However, most modern honor killings happen in the Middle East despite the teachings of Islam.


Contrary to popular misbelief, the Quran allows a couple to get lawfully married against family disapproval (2:232). Even Prophet Muhammad had a wife who married him despite her father’s hostility. For a couple unlawfully being together, liberal scholars would seek nothing more than calls for their repentance and conservative scholars would look forward to a trial in the ruler’s court rather than a murder by the couple’s families.


As an Asian Muslim, I find honor killing an incredibly ridiculous thing against my culture and nature. My friends freely choose their partners and resist parental objections when they find it necessary. It is impossible for our parents to feel the slightest impulse to honor the murderers of that Karachi couple, because they know murder is murder, and because they take a forcible marriage arrangement as a shame, not as an honor.


Unfortunately, many Muslim countries are far from taking honor killing seriously. Bearing a strong tradition of patriarchy and facing the social need for male honor, they are reluctant or unprepared to block the loopholes in their laws that treat honor killers with unfair leniency. Until all murderous fathers and brothers are punished as murderers, more lives will be claimed by repetition of honor killing.


Muslim victims like that young Karachi couple didn’t die of Islamophobia but succumbed to an archaic barbarity. Neither God nor humans would sympathize with societies where the Muslim Lives Matter voice is strong yet honor killing remains popular. Those societies should agree that eloping Muslim lives also matter.


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