24 Jul '08 15:01>3 edits
Several years ago, the Jordanian parliament voted down attempts by Jordanian women and human rights activists to end honor killing, which takes the lives of 20 to 30 Jordanian women each year. Parliament upheld lenient sentences for men guilty of honor killing as necessary to protect traditional Islamic social mores against Westernization. Human rights activists there complain that there is little political will to fight honor killings because the barbaric practice is so culturally entrenched.
The legitimacy of male violence against rebellious women is by no means an extreme view among Arab Muslims. A columnist in the Yemen Times last week argued that violence against women is sometimes necessary to "preserve the morals and principles with which Islam has honored us."
In two separate meetings with members of this newspaper's editorial board, Mohamed Elmougy, a prominent North Texas Muslim community leader and Egyptian immigrant, defended violence, even deadly violence, against women and homosexuals. Though the term "honor killing" did not come up in either discussion, Mr. Elmougy explained that violence against sexual outlaws is acceptable to defend the family and the social order.
"The way we view it, we don't look at it as violent," he said. "We look at it as a deterrent."