I must break off my blogs on the Leacock Summer Festival to comment on the dreadful case of the three teenagers and their caregiver who died when their car plunged (was pushed?) into the Rideau Canal, near Kingston, Ont.
One must make no assumptions in a criminal case. But the fact their parents and an elder brother have been charged with first degree murder, has raised the question of whether this is an “honor” killing.
It is interesting the extent to which apologists will go in rationalizing cultural practices like this. I heard a woman who is a sociologist at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) speak about this on The Current on CBC Radio this morning.
She seemed offended by the outrage being felt over this incident. Her line was that the issue is violence against women, not cultural practices, and that Canadians shouldn’t think they’re any better than people from other cultures because women are often violated in this country.
There are, unhappily, cases of women being murdered in Canada, as well as their children, by the woman’s mate. But there’s no pattern of the type of murder of children by their parents like the estimated 5,000 “honor” killings per year that happen around the world in Muslim families.
It is an ironic coincidence that just this week, the United Nations issued its Arab Human Development Report, 2009. An account of the report is here.
Arab nations are part of the Muslim world. The report asks: Why have obstacles to human development in the region proved so stubborn.”
The report identifies several. Here’s one:
Many Arab women are still bound b y patriarchal patterns of kinship, legalized discrimination, social subordination and ingrained male dominance. Because women find themselves in a lowly position in relation to decision-making within the family, their situation continuously exposes them to forms of family and institutionalized violence. It is difficult to gauge the prevalence of violence against women in Arab societies. The subject is taboo in a male-oriented culture of denial.
What applies to the Arab countries in this respect also applies to other nations where Islam is the predominant (or only) religion.
All three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianly and Islam, spring from cultures of male supremacy. Secular movements within the first two have brought about the development of human rights and personal freedoms. Not so much within Islam.
I think this is yet another example of how religion poisons everything. The full report is at this link.