In a recent post I speculated that the availability of women’s shelters would perhaps go some way to providing a degree of protection for women at risk from honor killings.
Given the following account, it is questionable how effective such shelters would be, without a firmer legal and state stance on the issue:
A Saudi women’s group on Friday blamed the country’s religious police in the “honour” killing of two sisters shot dead by their own brother after they were arrested for mixing with unrelated men.
The Society for Defending Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia said the religious police had placed the sisters’ lives in danger when they arrested them and then placed them in a Riyadh women’s shelter.
The two women, identified as Reem, 21, and Nouf, 19, were murdered after they left the shelter on July 5.
The brother shot them in the presence of their father who, according to newspaper reports, quickly forgave the son for defending the family’s honour.
But the society blamed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, for sparking the brother’s anger over his family’s honour by arresting the girls in the first place.
“The hands of the religious police, as well as the brother’s hands, are stained with the blood of these innocent young women,” the group said in a statement.
“These women have not committed any crime to be killed in a such brutal way.” [Source]
Kinzi has been providing a strong account of the honor killings that have been sweeping the region this year and, despite murmurings of assent to address the issue, the acts are gathering pace, rather than diminishing.
Clearly the matter is not being taken half as seriously as it should; honor killings are evolving towards a slow but sure massacre in the name of tradition.
More to the point, honor killings are becoming state-sanctioned murders.
While it must be conceded that it is not a phenomenon exclusive to the Middle East, the region has the power to affect change – yet omits to do so.
How many more women have to die to startle governments out of their callous stupor and into action?
It is a needless blot and fuel for Islamophobic bigots; the sooner action is taken against it, the easier it will be to triumph over the ignorance towards the region.