Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Honor Killing and the ‘American Way of Life’

We did not attend the “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” in Dearborn this past Sunday, but Pam Geller is providing updates at her Atlas Shrugs website. Jessica Mokdad was murdered in Warren in 2010, allegedly by her Islamic stepfather because of the shame of her becoming too “Westernized.” He is charged with first-degree murder in her death. As expected, the local media coverage of the event was slanted against the organizers of the conference.

Niraj Warikoo’s treatment of the event in the Detroit Free Press is more or less what we’ve come to expect. He described Sunday’s conference at the Hyatt as an “anti-Islam conference” put on by “[a]nti-Islam advocates” who, as he allows Osama Siblani to say for him, “stand against America and against the American way of life.” (“Muslims oppose anti-Islam gathering; dueling events held in Detroit, Dearborn”).

Warikoo couched the counter-conference held nearby in Detroit in starkly kinder terms: calling it an “Arab-American conference,” attended by those, again quoting Siblani, who “stand for America.”

As for honor killing, Warikoo quotes Imam Hassan Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn saying that, “Honor killing has no religious roots in Islam,” and then drops it. 

Are we supposed to take Qazwini’s word for it?

Francis X. Donnelly at the Detroit News was only slightly more balanced, at least not sanitizing his article of the central issue of  honor killing. He did feel a need to describe Geller’s conference as a “conservative meeting,” and remarked that only “few” of the speakers at either conference were women. (“Women’s slaying puts Arab leaders, bloggers at odds with dueling conferences”).

Apparently, the “Arab-America conference” led by Qazwini represented liberalism. Donnelly’s bringing up the ratio of women speakers to men at the Hyatt conference is done in spite of the fact that the co-organizer of the conference was noted woman, Pam Geller, that Nonie Darwish was another of the speakers, and that the entire conference was named for a woman, Jessica Mokdad, and in the interest of ending the honor-killings of – women.

Both reports highlighted that the family of Jessica Mokdad objected to the use of her name for the conference on honor-killings. In light of the fact that honor killings are committed by family members against family members, are covered up by family members, and are motivated by an unholy fear of shame brought upon a family for harboring a (female) who is insufficiently traditional in the way she conducts herself, I’d take the objection in the spirit intended.

No one expects fair coverage these days. 

Which is a real shame in itself.

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