Honor Killing and Even More Proof You REALLY Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s “Scholarship”

Coran and Spencer

Michael Coren and Robert Spencer

by Ilisha

It was a trial that captured headlines across Canada—the so-called “honor killing” of three teenage sisters and their father’s first wife in a quadruple murder staged to look like an accident.

On January 27, the girls’ brother, Hamed, 21, and their parents, Mohammad Shafia, 58, and Tooba Yahya, 42, were each found guilty on four counts of first-degree murder. All received the maximum sentence of life in prison.

On police wiretaps captured in the days following the murders, a remorseless Mohammad Shafia referred to his slain daughters as treacherous whores who had “betrayed Islam.”  The family is originally from Afghanistan, and sweeping statements about their cultural and religious background have put Canada’s Muslims on the defensive.

Imams across Canada and the US responded by issuing a fatwa declaring honor killing, domestic violence, and misogyny as “un-Islamic.” Nevertheless, the murders have prompted a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment, and the usual assortment of crackpots have seized this tantalizing opportunity to vilify Islam.

Pseudo-scholar Robert Spencer recently discussed the case on Sun TV with English-Canadian talk show host and fascist sympathizer, Michael Coren. The 13-minute segment appears at the end of this article.

Spencer’s Five Big Lies about honor killings are refuted in this article, in order of appearance.

1. A Bogus Statistic

Spencer began with the baseless assertion that, “91% of honor killings worldwide take place among Muslims.” What is the source of Spencer’s statistic?

He makes the same claim on his website, Jihad Watch, and links to an article on the Middle East Forum as the source. This is an anti-Muslim propaganda site founded by Daniel Pipes, and the article referenced is authored by Phyllis Chesler, who is yet another rabid Islamophobe. Chesler cites an ill-defined “study” as the ultimate source of this statistic:

This study analyzes 172 incidents and 230 honor-killing victims. The information was obtained from the English-language media around the world with one exception. There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe. There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world. Most of the perpetrators were Muslims, as were their victims, and most of the victims were women.

The “methodology” she describes is filled with weasel words, and it’s unclear who actually conducted the study or for what purpose. Culling 172 incidents from self-selected articles in the English-language media does not constitute a valid sample.

In the very same article, Chesler concedes, “Definitive or reliable worldwide estimates of honor killing incidence do not exist.” Then how has she managed to glean a precise statistic of 91%?

We have already covered this alleged “epidemic” of honor killings extensively in a previous article, Honor Killings: The Epidemic that Isn’t, where Chesler’s “logic” was exposed as absurd:

Taking her study at face value, do you think 33 honor killings constitutes an epidemic?  Stinging insects kill more than 40 people each year in the US, which is more than the number of honor killings Chesler reported over the course of her study for all of North America.  Chesler says, “to combat the epidemic [emphasis mine] of honor killings requires understanding what makes these murders unique.”

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, have all said that honor killings cut across cultural and religious lines. No credible organization cites a statistic that supports Robert Spencer’s assertion, which Phyllis Chesler seems to have pulled out of her hat.

2. Misinterpretation and Misuse of The Reliance of the Traveller

Coren asked Spencer if it’s true that there is Qur’anic and Sharia support for honor killings, and Spencer said, “Absolutely, Michael,” and, ”Islamic Law stipulates there’s no penalty for a parent who kills a child.” As we have already established in a previous article, this is a blatant lie:

In a pathetic attempt to prove Islam sanctions honor killings, the loons have dredged up  ”Reliance of the Traveller,” a classical manual for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence written over 600 years ago. A convoluted interpretation of select passages has gone viral, and is now routinely cited on the pages of hate sites and in comments on numerous articles related to honor killing.

Geller quotes a section of The Traveller on her website that says certain crimes, including the killing of one’s offspring, are not subject to retaliation, implying Muslim parents have a free pass to murder their children under Islamic Law, which is a bold faced LIE. Retaliation is a form of reciprocal justice, lex talionis, commonly known as “an eye for an eye.”

A crime that is not subject to retaliation can still be punished by other means. Restrictions on reciprocal justice in the Qur’an were meant to reduce blood feuds and the cycle of vengeance. The concept of retaliation is also found in Jewish and Christian scriptures, and like honor killing, traces back to the ancient Code of Hammurabi.

Even if The Traveller sanctioned honor killing (which it doesn’t), it would be the interpretation of one Islamic cleric who lived centuries ago, and not a formal part of Islamic Law. Sharia is drawn primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and neither sanctions honor killing.

Honor killing is a form of murder where the victim is denied a fair trial, which is contrary to Islamic law. Islam forbids acts of murder and vigilantism, and likens the killing of one human being to the killing of the entire human race (Qur’an 5:32, 6:151, 17:33).

Is Sharia exceptionally harsh or extremely lenient, even in the case of a serious crime like murder? Apparently it’s whatever suits Spencer’s agenda at the moment. In any case, a “renowned scholar” should certainly understand the ancient concept of reciprocal justice.

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive?

3. The Case of Syria and Jordan

Spencer cites “relatively moderate” Muslim-majority Jordan and Syria in an effort to provide real-world examples of Sharia-sanctioned honor killing. His examples fall short in two major ways.

First, although a single honor killing is one too many, these murders are not epidemic. Jordan has around 15-20 honor killings each year, and Syria has about 200. Both of these Muslim-majority countries have low overall homicide rates, in contrast to many countries in the non-Muslim world, most notably in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Central and Southern Africa.

Second, Syria and Jordan have mixed legal systems largely based on French Law, derived from the Napoleonic Code. In Syria, Articles 192, 242, and 548 have historically been invoked to reduce sentences in honor killing cases, and all are derived from the Napoleonic Code, not Sharia.

Syria’s Grand Mufti, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, has unequivocally condemned honor killing. Hassoun specifically condemned Article 548, which has since been amended as part of Syria’s ongoing effort to abolish honor killings.

In Jordan, Articles 340 and 98 have historically been invoked to reduce sentences in honor killing cases, and they also derive from the Napoleonic Code, not Sharia.

While Spencer was correct when he said some religious and cultural conservatives in Jordan have resisted legal reform, Queen Rania and King Abudllah II have been outspoken advocates. In a report released last November, the United Nations praised Jordan for amending Article 340 so that it no longer exonerates the perpetrators of honor killings.

Spencer’s examples fall short because neither Jordan nor Syria has a high rate of homicides of any kind, and the legal loopholes in question are primarily a legacy of French colonialism, not Sharia. However, Coren asks no questions of substance, so it’s on to the next lie.

4. Khidr in Chapter 18 of the Qur’an

Spencer tries to “prove” honor killings are supported in the Qur’an, citing the well known story of Khidr in the 18th chapter as a justification.  From Jihad Watch:

Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 18, “The Cave,” verses 60-82

Verses 60-82 of Sura 18 contain one of the strangest, most arresting stories in the entire Qur’an: that of the journey of Moses and Khidr, one of the great road-trip stories of all time…

In Islamic tradition this man is identified as Al-Khadir or Al-Khidr, or, more commonly, Khidr, “the Green Man.” Some identify him as one of the prophets, others as a wali, a Muslim saint….

…Khidr murders a young man in an apparently random act, and Moses criticizes him again (v. 74)…

…Khidr killed the young man because he would grieve his pious parents with his “rebellion and ingratitude” (v. 80), and Allah will give them a better son (v. 81)….

…Another point emerges in Islamic tradition: don’t kill children, unless you know they’re going to grow up to be unbelievers. “The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khadir had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside.” The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West…

Notice the child was not related to Khidr, and there was no honor motive. This “apparently random act” doesn’t fit the profile of a so-called “honor killing.”

The story is meant to convey the message that believers should have faith in God’s wisdom. Events may seem harsh and inexplicable, but when the veil is lifted and the broader truth is exposed, the believer will see that what has happened is ultimately for the best.

Spencer provided no examples of any Muslim citing the story of Khidr as a justification for honor killing, nor did he mention any scholars who have adopted his interpretation. In fact, the story of Khidr has historically been associated with charity and good works in the Islamic world.  

As for the Hadith Spencer quoted (Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4457), Muslims are instructed not to kill children, “…unless you could know what Khadir had known.  Khidr was granted eternal life and bestowed with direct knowledge of God’s will, which no ordinary Muslim can claim. It is simply not possible to know whether a child will grow up to be a believer, so it makes no sense to use this as a justification for murder.

In fact, it is widely known that Islam has always condemned infanticide, a common practice in pre-Islamic Arabia. The Qur’an  forbids the killing of children, expressly in 6:151 and 60:12, and implicitly in 2:49, 7:127, 7:141, 14:6, 28:4, and 40:25. Why would a “renowned scholar” of Islam be unaware of the many verses in the Qur’an that directly contradict his claims?

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive? 

5. Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Spencer also claims that the Judeo-Christian tradition sends the “opposite message” with respect to killing children, specifically citing Genesis 22:1-13 as an example.  In this Old Testament story, the Prophet Abraham was poised to sacrifice his son Isaac to the Lord, but just as he placed a knife to the boy’s neck, God sent an angel to intercede, and Isaac was spared.

The same story exists in the Qur’an and carries the same moral message. The major difference is that Isaac is replaced by Abraham’s other son, Ishmael. A “renowned scholar” of Islam should surely be aware of the corresponding story in the Qur’an (The Rank Makers 37:100-109).

In fact, numerous verses in the Bible recount the killing of children, and stipulate harsh punishments, including the death penalty. The following is not a comprehensive list:

Exodus 21:17

17 Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Leviticus Chapters 20 and 21 also stipulate harsh punishments for dishonoring parents and committing adultery:

Leviticus 20:9-13

9 If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.

10 If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Leviticus 21:9

9 If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.

Deuteronommy (13:6-10) says if your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” … You must stone him or her to death. Death by stoning is also the punishment stipulated for a “stubborn and rebellious” son in 21:18-21.

In Judges (11:30-40), Jephthah killed his young daughter (and only child) by burning her alive to fulfill his vow to God, in exchange for a victory in battle.

In 2 Kings (2:23-25), when youngsters made fun of the Prophet Elisha’s bald head, he called down a curse “in the name of the Lord,”and two bears came out of the woods and tore 42 of the youths to pieces.

As a Catholic and self-proclaimed religious scholar, it seems reasonable to assume Spencer has read the Bible, so what explains this glaring double standard?

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive? 

The bottom line is that honor killings are not Islamic. Spencer’s lies, no matter how often they’re repeated, can’t change that fundamental truth.

 

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THE 99 Superheroes Vs. The Loons

THE 99 is an animated series featuring superheroes inspired by Islamic culture and society. The series was scheduled to launch in the US last week on the The Hub children’s television network, but producers have since announced the broadcast will be postponed indefinitely. Vicious anti-Muslim bigots everywhere are gleeful, boasting that their small but boisterous outcry may have prompted the delay.

The New York Post published a scathing article by outrage peddler Andrea Peyser criticizing the series and calling on anti-Muslim bigots to protest loudly so they can “cancel THE 99 before it starts.”  Peyser says the series will indoctrinate impressionable young children with Sharia-compliant Muslim superheroes “masquerading as the good guys.”

For Peyser the Hateful, Muslims are always super villains, so characters who represent the 99 virtues of God in the Qur’an will naturally use their powers to wage the ultimate jihad. She conjures up fearsome images of Jabbar the Powerful dishing out a mean stoning, and Darr the Afflicter venting his rage on hapless dhimmis.

The looniest blogger ever, Pamela Geller, told CNN that THE 99 is unacceptable because Islam must be portrayed as misogynistic, violent, and oppressive to non-Muslims, and that there must be an emphasis placed on Islam’s bloody, violent history.  She said anything else is just “dawah proselytizing.”

Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the Kuwaiti-born, U.S.-educated psychologist who created THE 99, said he never expected to face his fiercest opposition to the series in the US, a country that prides itself on diversity and tolerance.  The whole point of  THE 99 was to bridge the gap between Islam and the West by promoting universal values and encouraging tolerance, cooperation, and mutual understanding. Al-Mutawa said he wants to provide positive role models to all children:

“I told the writers of the animation that only when Jewish kids think that THE 99 characters are Jewish, and Christian kids think they’re Christian, and Muslim kids think they are Muslim, and Hindu kids think they’re Hindu, that I will consider my vision as having been fully executed.”

Geller is not appeased, and continues to describe the series as an onslaught of cultural jihad aimed at radicalizing American children. She says the true superheroes are “counter-jihadists” like  Ibn WarraqNonie Darwish, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom are in fact rabid anti-Muslim loons. She has also launched a crude online parody called THE 19, which features Spencerman and Gellerwoman as superheroes presumably fighting Muslim evildoers.

Last month, Geller and her fellow hate mongers must have been thrilled with the release of a comic series that suits their agenda perfectly.   Frank Miller is a legend in the comic world for writing and drawing  film noir-style comic book stories, including Batman:  The  Dark Night Returns.  Influential in Hollywood, he directed the film version of The Spirit and co-directed  Sin City. Miller also produced  the 2006 American fantasy action film 300, which some critics described as psychological warfare against Iran.

Miller released a post-9/11 propaganda comic series to correspond with the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, and said he hoped it would “really piss people off.”  He was braced for a fatwa and seemed to look forward to a backlash that never came.  Despite the underwhelming response from Muslims, Wired Magazine said:

“Holy Terror is a screed against Islam, completely uninterested in any nuance or empathy.”  Miller has produced, “one of the  most appalling, offensive and vindictive comics of all time. “

Outrage over the 9/11 attacks inspired Miller’s dark comic series steeped in insatiable rage and vengeance, but the same events also inspired Al-Mutawa, who said he wanted to take Islam back from the extremists who had hijacked it.  He conceived of the idea for his series during a London cab ride with his sister in 2003.

Al-Mutawa envisioned THE 99 as a world-class comic book on a par with American classics, so he assembled a team of veteran writers and artists with experience creating comic icons like Spider-man, Power Rangers, and X-Men. In 2006, he launched his new series to audiences in the Middle East.

THE 99 quickly became the most popular comic book in the region, selling over a million copies per year, and prompting Forbes Magazine to declare the series as one of the 20 trends sweeping the globe. An English language version launched in the US in 2007 without opposition.  Industry giant DC Comics gave the series  a promotional boost in 2010 by producing a six-part limited edition crossover that paired THE 99 with classic American superheroes including Batman, Superman, and the Justice League of America.

In 2009, Al-Mutawa decided to turn his successful comic book into an animated series.  His company, Teshkeel Media Group, partnered with a Dutch company to co-produce and distribute the new series.  The cartoon version of  THE 99 has also been a smashing success, and it is expected to reach viewers in over 50 countries by the end of next year.

THE 99 was initially banned in Saudi Arabia when critics expressed concern that Al-Mutawa was violating Islamic Law with characters that personified God. Al-Mutawa eventually won approval for the series after he convinced religious authorities that the characters are not manifestations of God, but merely extol the 99 virtues mentioned in the Qur’an.

Saudi Arabia has since signed on for merchandise deals and even plans to build its own Disney-style theme park based on the series.  The 99 Village opened in 2009 in Kuwait, and several more theme parks are planned throughout the region.  Today no Arab country bans THE 99, which is also broadcast in a growing number of Muslim countries outside the Arab world, including Turkey and Indonesia.

Not everyone is happy about the widespread acceptance THE 99 has received in the Muslim world.  Phyllis Chesler, another rabid anti-Muslim bigot and friend of Pamela Geller, has criticized Muslims for what she describes as “disturbing double standards.”  She says they are turning a blind eye to Al-Mutawa while he creates 99 images of  God, but they terrorize Westerners with fatwas and violence for lesser offenses.

Chesler is apparently a fan of far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, and she is outraged that the Moooslims want to stop him from “telling the truth about Islam.” Wilders is infamous for spreading vicious lies against Islam and Muslims, and he is still vigorously exercising his right to free speech.

She said Muslims (apparently all of them) have also terrorized American cartoonist Molly Norris for her Everybody Draw Muhammad Day hate fest, and Dutch cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for his infamous drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-studded turban.

It is difficult to see the connection between these provocative events and the introduction of THE 99, but Chesler seems to think they should all inspire a backlash of equal proportions if the Muslims are to apply consistent standards. This is tortured logic, but in any case, shouldn’t it be a good thing that THE 99 didn’t cause a violent backlash?

Chesler and her loony friends certainly didn’t write any articles praising Muslims for their subdued reaction to Frank Miller’s provocative, hateful comic series.  For them, Muslims always deserve only criticism, no matter what they do.

Batina the Hidden

Batina the Hidden

Chesler also expressed concern over what sinister “Muslim values” the series might foist on non-Muslim children.  She asks, “Will children learn about democracy, modernity, tolerance, Enlightenment, women’s and gay rights from these ‘Islamic’ figures?”

Spider-man doesn’t typically lecture children on democracy, modernity, and Enlightenment.  Those seem like heavy topics for a cartoon series written for children.

As for gay rights, how many gay and lesbian characters can you name from the Justice League or any other mainstream comic series?  If Chesler is really an advocate for gay rights, she needs to expand her focus to the entire industry.

THE 99 does promote gender equality, which Al-Mutawa has elaborated on during numerous interviews.   Islamphobes like Chesler and Geller will simply not let facts stand in the way of their propaganda efforts, and continue to spread the lie that the female characters in the series are oppressed and forced to wear Islamic clothing.

On her website Atlas Shrugs, Geller quotes herself telling CNN:

“Because [THE 99] is mainstreaming the institutionalized oppression of women under Sharia, as exemplified by the burqa-wearing superhero. One would think that the male superheroes would have superpowers strong enough to be able to control themselves without the women having to don cloth coffins.”

Batina the Hidden seems to be the loons’ favorite obsession.  The character is from Yemen, and her clothing accurately reflects what some women wear in that country. Al-Mutawa said the burqa is not Islamic, but it is a cultural tradition that is important to some people, adding:

“I believe that forcing someone to wear the burqa is despicable. But I believe that if somebody wants to choose to do it, that’s their right…And so, out of respect for people who choose to wear the burka, I have one character out of 99—one percent—that wears a burqa. “

Although nearly every one of their articles tries to generate hysteria about Batina, the Hidden, Islamophobes have yet to explain how merely seeing a cartoon character wearing a burqa will traumatize American children. Marvel already has two characters who are Muslim women. The character Dust is from Afghanistan, and she wears a black ensemble that covers her from head-to-toe, showing only her eyes.

Dust has been around since 2002, though it seems few of our hyper-vigilant hate bloggers have detected her “stealth jihad.” Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Aonso said,

“I don’t view a Muslim superhero as avant garde. Muslims comprise 23 percent of the world’s population, and we like our comics to reflect the world and its diversity.”

Despite all the controversy, Dr. Al-Mutawa remains optimistic.  He has faced many hurdles in the last eight years, and his frustrations have been chronicled in the PBS documentary Wham! Bam! Islam! “One way or the other,” he says, “‘The 99’ will get on air in the U.S.”

Honor Killings: The Epidemic that Isn’t

Honor Killings: The Epidemic that Isn’t

My previous article describes how anti-Muslim bigots use young Muslim murder victims as props in their campaign of hate.  Sensational headlines, haunting photographs, and lurid tales of cold blooded murder are indispensable tools in their campaign to vilify Islam.   This campaign is bolstered by a set of core themes that are reinforced through tireless repetition.

Islamophobes portray honor killings as a special kind of evil that is unique to Islam, and greatly exaggerate the prevalence of these crimes.  Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, and Frontpage Magazine rarely miss an opportunity use the phrase “Islamic honor killing,” which has joined “creeping sharia” and “stealth jihad” in an endless parade of misleading slogans and catchphrases.  All of these themes converge in paranoid conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over and imposing barbarism in the Western world.

Most of their arguments depend on casual acceptance and do not stand up to scrutiny.  With the help of some grade school math, relevant facts, and a healthy dose of global context, it is fairly easy to set the record straight.

The term “honor killing” was not coined by Islamophobes, even though it serves their agenda well.  Many human rights organizations track honor killings as a subcategory of homicides or femicides (killing of women).  For our purposes, that’s a good thing because it allows us to refute the idea of widespread honor killings using statistics from credible sources.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates there are 5,000 murders classified as honor killings each year worldwide, and they are not all perpetrated by Muslims.  To put that into perspective, consider that the World Health Organization says there are over half a million annual homicides in the world. Using basic math, we can conclude that honor killings make up less than 1% of all murders.

If 1% of the world’s Muslims perpetrated an honor crime each year, we could project at least 1 million incidents.   The number is far lower, and leaves 99.99% of the Muslim population innocent of this crime.  Why should all Muslims be indicted for the actions of a negligible minority?

Pamela Geller says, “over 90% of honor killings worldwide are Islamic,” and Robert Spencer quotes the exact figure at 91%.  Spencer links to an article on the Middle East Forum as the source of this statistic. This is an anti-Muslim propaganda site founded by Daniel Pipes, and the articlethere is authored by Phyllis Chesler, who is yet another rabid Islamophobe.

Chesler quotes the same estimate of 5,000 annual honor killings worldwide, but she says the true number is “much greater.” “Definitive or reliable worldwide estimates of honor killing incidence do not exist,” she concedes, yet she is somehow certain the the number is much greater.

She cites a study of the media throughout her article, which found, “there were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe.” Taking her study at face value, do you think 33 honor killings constitutes an epidemic?  Stinging insects kill more than 40 people each year in the US, which is more than the number of honor killings Chesler reported over the course of her study for all of North America.  Chesler says, “to combat the epidemic [emphasis mine] of honor killings requires understanding what makes these murders unique.”

In the US, an estimated 1200 women are killed by their spouse or partner each year.  Chesler herself states that, “In the non-immigrant West, serious domestic violence exists which includes incest, child abuse, marital rape, marital battering, marital stalking, and marital post-battering femicide.” Yet for some reason, she feels it is more important to focus on the unique nature of honor killings than to address the broader issue of violence in her own country.

To her credit, Chesler does not blame honor killings on Sharia Law, nor does she say these crimes are religiously sanctioned in Islam. Instead she resorts to blaming them on Islamic culture. The Director of Human Rights Watch says that honor killings cut across cultures and religions, and that dowry deaths and crimes of passion have a similar dynamic.

Dowry killings actually outnumber honor killings, and they are on the rise. Women with insufficient dowries are murdered or driven to suicide in what are often disguised as kitchen accidents. For this reason they are sometimes called “bride burnings.” In 2008, there were over 8,000 dowry deathsreported in India alone.

Murders for crossing caste boundaries are also similar to honor killings in that they are a cultural inheritance, victims are usually killed by their own family members, and the crimes are oftenendorsed or encouraged by village-based caste councils. The caste system is outlawed, but it remains entrenched in parts of India and Nepal, neither of which has a Muslim majority.

Honor killings also share features with other forms of femicide outside of the Middle East and South Asia.  Just a 10-15 minute drive from El Paso, Texas, USA, there is a border town in Mexico called Ciudad Juarez. Over the last two decades hundreds of women have been kidnaped, brutally raped, tortured, and murdered in Juarez, and the perpetrators remain free.  Femicides in Mexico have nearly doubled from 1,085 in 2007 to 1,926 in 2009.

There were nearly 700 murders of women in neighboring Guatemala in 2010, and 1,110 reported cases of femicide in Honduras between 2008 and 2010.  Of the cases in Honduras, only a 211 made it to court, and a mere 4.2% resulted in a conviction.

High rates of homicide and femicide also plague many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rape is used as a weapon of war in a systematic pattern of destruction that has claimed an estimated 2 million victims. The conflict in the Congo has resulted inmore deaths than the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Darfur (Sudan) combined.

The United Nations says, “The brutality and scale of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo almost defies imagination.” Over five million people have died in the last 10 years in what 60 Minutes described as a “War Against Women.

Imagine the photos Geller could harvest for “Islam’s Gruesome  Gallery,” featured on her website Atlas Shrugs, if only this were an Islamic country.  Since the overwhelming majority of the people in the Congo are Christians, these crimes don’t receive the spotlight on anti-Muslim hate sites.

How can anyone genuinely interested in the rights of women ignore the situation in the Congo? Even if Islamophobes could substantiate their claims that honor killings are exceptionally barbaric and unique to Islam, that would not be a justification focusing on them exclusively.

True human rights activists don’t discriminate among murder victims.  All major human rights organizations address honor killings in context, and they do not promote these crimes as a way to spread fear and hatred toward Islam.  Islam also takes a universal approach, likening the killing of one human being to the killing of the entire human race (Qur’an 5:32, 6:151, 17:33).

In her book proposal for Stop the Islamization of America, Geller described herself as, “One of America’s foremost activists for human rights and freedom.” If she were sincere, she would give up her vicious campaign against Islam and join us in the struggle to end violence against women from all cultural and religious backgrounds.