Earlier this week, Pakistani woman Farzana Parveen was beaten to death by her own family, an act justified as honor killing. Was it a rash response to some possibly offensive event, such as the 2006 Danish cartoon controversy or the 2012 embassy attacks in response to a film portrayal of Muhammad? (Not that offensiveness justifies murder in response, but many people at least partially blame the victims in these cases.) Nope. Much worse:
“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” Mujahid, the police investigator, quoted the father as saying.
Even worse, this is not an isolated incident. It is estimated that about 1,000 women die each year from honor killings in Pakistan alone. Globally, between 5,000 and 20,000 women suffer this fate every year. How does this kind of thing still happen? It’s not like this is a difficult engineering problem like sustainable energy. It’s an outdated socio-cultural norm. We’re not in the Dark Ages anymore.
The good news is, violence is overall gradually declining, and there is little in the way to stop this trend. However, we should always be wary of efforts to demodernize (the link is to a story of Sharia law’s being added into the British legal system, reinforcing this kind of religious discrimination against women) and lose the progress in civil rights that humanity has fought for centuries to achieve.
Edit: Additional stats (5/30/2014). “Four-in-Ten Pakistanis say honor killing of women can be at least sometimes justified.” This isn’t a fringe. This is a sizeable chunk of the population.