Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pakistani Family In Belgium Gets Jail Time For "Honour Killing"

Honour killings are prevalent all over the world, including Western countries where immigrants (from regions where that practice is common) have settled.  A failure to integrate into their new surroundings, and an almost cult-like adherence to their religion, makes it difficult to let go of  certain religious customs and practices, like female genital mutilation and honor killings. But unlike their homelands, where murdering someone to save a families honour is rarely prosecuted, in the West, they can expect to spend some time in jail for doing that.

A Pakistani family in Belgium found out the hard way, that the those kinds of things are not tolerated in a civilized society.  In 2007, a father and mother, Tarik Mahmood Sheikh and Zahida Parveen Sariya, along with brother Mudusar and sister Sariya murdered Sadia Sheikh for refusing to marry a cousin in Pakistan. It took 4 years to get justice for Sadia, but the Belgian courts finally sentenced the whole family to some jail time. For their parts in the "honour killing" Tarik will spend 25 years in prison, Zahida will spend 20, Mudusar 15 and Sariya a mere five years.

Although the brother allegedly shot his law student sister to death, and confessed to the killing, the parents received a heftier sentence because they were the ones who apparently 'ordered the murder', and then helped carry it out.

Of course, it wasn't just that Sadia had refused the arranged marriage to her cousin, another common practice in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, I'm sure the fact that she was also cohabitating with a Belgian who wasn't a Muslim was a contributing factor, as well.

While Mudusar tried to persuade the jury that he was the only one to blame, and mama and papa concurred, claiming it was all Mudusar's fault- that he'd killed her 'in a fit of rage'- the jury obviously didn't buy it. It probably didn't help matters when Mudusar admitted that it was premeditated "for a long time".  What's even more sickening, though, is that they killed the poor girl while on a visit to reconcile with the family.

What kind of family murders its own flesh and blood because of a refusal of marriage? And what religion values so-called 'honour' above the life of another human being? Too bad they didn't get what the prosecutors wanted: life for the parents and brother, and 20 to 30 years for the sister. They deserved it.

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