Honor Killings Spur My Icky Alliance with the Right; When Will Liberal Media Admit That Religion Is Killing American Girls?

Article excerpt


While the Tucson, Ariz., shootings captured headlines and attention all across America from the moment they took place, another Arizona killing that should be in the news is not. Its absence is notable not only because of the nature of the crime but because the lack of coverage it has received demonstrates a part of the political rift and rage around the country as much as Tucson shooting suspect Jared Laughton did.

Last month, a trial opened for Faleh Almaleki, an Iraqi immigrant accused of murdering his daughter, 20-year-old Noor, on Oct. 20, 2009. Mr. Almaleki, by his own family's accounts, was upset by his daughter's Westernization, furious that she had chosen to marry the man she loved and not the one her parents had selected, outraged that she dressed in blue jeans, wore makeup and lived not only in America, but as an American. Prosecutors say that is why he ran over her with his Jeep in a Peoria, Ariz., parking lot and then sped away, leaving his daughter fatally injured and the woman who was with her - the mother of her fiance - severely injured. Noor had dishonored the family. Her murder was what is commonly known as an honor killing. But the 50-year-old defendant claims, in an argument that beggars belief, that it was all an accident.

And yet, like other honor killings committed in America in recent years, this horrifying story has received virtually no news coverage. What little has appeared has been almost entirely in the so-called right-wing press or on websites that tend to appeal to a radical fringe. In the meantime, as conservative journalist Jamie Glazov, recently noted, the liberal left - with all of its calls for equal rights for women, with all of its feminist supporters - maintains an almost conspiratorial silence. Instead of investigating, reporters and editors in the liberal media turn their heads. They insist these events are incidents of domestic abuse, not honor killings or that there is no difference between the two. Above all, they resist ascribing religious underpinnings to these deaths even as women who manage to escape them - and often, the men and women who commit them - assert quite clearly, the cause is my religion.

I am of the liberal left. And this is the dilemma I and many other journalists and activists concerned about these issues face regularly. We are the people who read the New York Times and the New York Review of Books. We voted for Barack Obama. Sarah Palin scares us. We are the ones who fought for equal rights for women and minorities. Yet now we stand alone - abandoned by those who presumably share our values - finding an odd alliance with the enemy on the right. I cringe when I read the words of columnists who sneeringly ask, Will the leftists defend the memory of women like Noor? not only because by leftist, they mean me, but because I know the answer: No.

To her credit, Marie Claire editor Abigail Pesta earlier this year devoted several pages of her magazine to telling Noor Almaleki's story. …