'Honor' Killing Spurs Outcry in Syria ; A 16-Year-Old's Killing Spurred the Country's Grand Mufti to Call for Legal Reform and Protections

By Elass, Rasha | The Christian Science Monitor, February 14, 2007 | Go to article overview

'Honor' Killing Spurs Outcry in Syria ; A 16-Year-Old's Killing Spurred the Country's Grand Mufti to Call for Legal Reform and Protections


Elass, Rasha, The Christian Science Monitor


Sixteen-year-old Zahra Ezzo died at the hospital last month after a brutal attack. But it was her brother who confessed to killing her - and her family who appointed him to carry out the murder.

Some experts estimate that 200 to 300 honor killings like Zahra's occur every year in Syria. Most receive little or no attention. But Zahra's murder - in part because it happened in the capital and not a rural area - has compelled Syria's grand mufti, cleric Ahmad Hassoun, to publicly condemn the crime, calling for the first time for the immediate protection of girls at risk and for legal reform on the basis that such crimes are un-Islamic. President Bashar al- Assad has also promised to find a solution.

Among the public, too, debate is rising about the practice and the laws that protect men who carry out such killings.

A key question is whether the brother should go on trial for premeditated murder - the family had planned it for months - or as someone who had no choice because the clan's honor was at stake.

Syria's law is lenient on a man who kills or injures his female relative if he catches her in "illegitimate sexual acts with another," or in a "suspicious state with another." If Zahra's brother is tried under this law, he might get out of jail in three months.

"This is what we're trying to change," said Yumun Abu al-Hosn, a founding member of the Association for Women's Role Development, one of the few nongovernment organizations in Syria. The association runs the girls' shelter where Zahra took refuge in her final months.

"We may not be able to stop honor killings overnight, but at least if the crime is tried as premeditated murder, then Zahra and others like her will have some dignity in death."

Zahra's case is also compelling because of the events surrounding it.

According to Zahra before her death, say sources who spoke to her before she died, her father was having an extramarital affair. If the clan had discovered this, Zahra's father and his mistress might have both been killed. A friend of Zahra's father, a young man who took a liking to the then-15-year-old, threatened to tell all unless Zahra ran away with him.

She agreed. But when the clan discovered that Zahra had left, they decided to pursue both and kill them. But the police found them first. They put the man in jail, where he stands to serve a 15-year prison sentence for the kidnap and rape of a minor, and where he is safe from the clan's wrath. They put Zahra in the shelter.

But only for nine months. During that time, Zahra's family tried three times to regain custody of her, but the association refused, saying the family could not guarantee Zahra's safety. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Honor' Killing Spurs Outcry in Syria ; A 16-Year-Old's Killing Spurred the Country's Grand Mufti to Call for Legal Reform and Protections
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.