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Documentary Shines a Light on Honor Killing

By Bruce Bawer

In the low-quality police video that shows her giving a statement about her husband’s brutal, chronic physical abusiveness, she looks more beautiful than any movie star. Born in 1985, Banaz Mahmod was a Kurdish Muslim whose parents, having been granted asylum by the U.K., took her from Saddam’s Iraq to a pleasant-looking neighborhood in London. The usual “cultural clash” resulted. In 2002, when Banaz’s older sister, Bekhal, started acting like an ordinary English girl, her brother lured her to a remote location and tried to strangle her to death. When she freed herself with a good kick and challenged him – saying, “Look what you’re doing, you’re trying to kill me!” – he “started to cry like a woman” and explained that their father had put him up to it. Bekhal, taking the hint, cleared out, cutting off all ties to her family and community.

Banaz wasn’t so lucky. At age seventeen, her parents married her off to an illiterate chap, Ali, who was “literally just off the plane from Iraq” and whom she’d only met once. From the beginning, he routinely beat and raped her. When she complained to her parents, they took his side. (Her father loved Ali, considering him “the David Beckham of son-in-laws.”) In 2005, after three years of abuse, Banaz finally left Ali and went to the police. In the extensive excerpts from the police video that are featured in the harrowingdocumentary about her short life and violent death, Bajaz: A Love Story,which won an Emmy earlier this month, Banaz described Ali’s mistreatment of her in detail, noting that one beating had dislocated her wrist and that after one too many kicks in the head she wasn’t able to “remember things so good.”

On the police videotape, we see her asking: “Now that I’ve given this statement, what can you do for me?” She was told that there’d be an inquiry. There never was. It took the police three months to write up her statement. She returned five times, to no avail. As officials admit in the documentary, the police committed a “landslide of mistakes,” missing “all the signs that she was in grave danger.” Banaz missed the signs, too – which, frankly, could hardly have been more obvious. Even after her father tried to strangle her – she managed to escape, scaling a fence, collapsing on the floor of a nearby café, and ending up at a hospital where doctors said they’d “never seen anyone so frightened in their life” – she was persuaded to return home, apparently still unable to fully process the fact that her father was determined to murder her, and assuming, in any case, that if he tried to do so, her mother would somehow manage to protect her.

After leaving her husband, Banaz found a boyfriend, Rahmat. They tried to keep their romance secret. But one day a fellow Kurd spotted them kissing on a street. A phone call was made; a family “council of war” ensued. And the family dishonor was dealt with in the usual fashion. Only a few months after her police interview, Rahmat reported Banaz missing. The police investigation was led by detective Caroline Goode, the documentary’s main talking head. Although over fifty people had been involved in Banaz’s murder, and although “dozens, if not hundreds,” of Kurds in London knew what had happened to her, “not a single member of the community helped us,” recalls Goode, who states flatly that there was a widespread conspiracy “to pervert the course of justice” by giving false testimony and providing false leads.

Despite the stonewalling, however, Goode had an important ally: Banaz’s sister Bekhal, who testified against her family and who appears in the documentary in a full veil – not for religious reasons, but for protection, because she now lives in hiding. Banaz had been strangled to death by three cousins, and at least one of them had also anally raped her – a fact about which he afterwards bragged in a phone call taped by the police….

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2 Responses

  1. IA,
    you’re a pathologic liar. your explanations are truly a reflection of the destructive embedment of islam. I wonder if you really know islam in the first place. have you killed your wife for watching TV? remember mohammed never watched one. or do you watch football? mohammed never did either. mohammed never lived in the USA or Britain, so why are you there?

  2. Honour Killing
    Honour killing and female infanticide come from Pagan-Hindu-Judeo-Christian traditions. Hindus idolise women as Goddesses on one hand, while downgrading them on the sly at the same time. There is nothing in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths that may encourage people to kill their daughters. Infact, Islam came to abolish the dark ages of Pagan- Hindu –Judeo- Christian traditions. Islam is a matter of choice and there is no compulsion at all. It is a misconception that forced marriage and honour killing are part of Muslim culture. Forced marriage, honour killing and genital mutilation are rare practices among migrant communities. Muslim migrants are worried about institutional racism, binge drinking, drug addiction, incivility, gun and knife crimes, high rate of abortions and teen age pregnancies. An average of 20 English girls under the age of 16 falls pregnant every day. Muslim parents do not want their children to be integrated into such barbarity. Muslim women feel torn between two cultures, thanks to the British education system with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. It makes their lives very confusing.

    The tragedy of forced marriage and honour killing could have been avoided if the poor girls were educated in a single sex state funded Muslim schools by female Muslim teachers. Educational attainment rises quite significantly if boys and girls are educated separately. The tragedies are an eye opener for all those Muslim parents who send their children to state schools where they are exposed to non-Muslim teachers who have no respect for Islamic faith and Muslim community and do not understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children. Muslim schools are crucial for Muslim children because western education makes a man/woman stupid. The hypocrisy of the Western society is clearly seen whereas an Australian Judge failed to jail nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year old aborigine girl in 2005, saying the victim probably agreed to have sex with them and a UNICEF Photo of the year shows, a bridegroom, 40, with his 11-year old bride in Afghanistan. In my opinion, a UNICEF photo of the year must show a nine year British girl having a baby and another photo showing a gang of teenage girls with anti-social behaviour and vomiting out side a pub, thanks to binge drinking. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslim schools are the solutions and not a problem. They help to strengthen community cohesion, not undermine it. Muslim schools stand as shining beacons of light, serving as one of the most crucial factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Eurocentricism, homosexuality, racism and secular values and traditions. They need to be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they need to be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Muslim schools are not only faith schools but also bilingual schools. Infact, bilingualism is an asset and not a problem as perceived by the British education system. There is a positive co-relation between language and culture. English language is associated with western culture.

    The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools but there are not enough schools to go by. The only alternative left is either British Government should introduce voucher system for parents to choose the school of their choice or designate all those state schools as Muslim community schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslims are in majority. Such schools may be handed over to Muslim educational Trusts or charities for their management. They are in a better position to educate Muslim children in accordance with their needs and demands. This demand is in accordance with the law of the land because there are state schools already managed by private companies. Muslim community is not asking for a favour. It is their legal right.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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