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Honor killing is the premeditated murder of a relative (usually a young woman) who has allegedly impugned the honor of her family.
It tends to predominate in societies where individual rights are circumscribed by communal solidarities, patriarchal authority structures, and intolerant religious and tribal beliefs.
Though neither Islam nor Hinduism directly sanctions honor killing, both play a role in legitimizing the practice in South Asia—if for no other reason than that such societies have not prosecuted this crime, have issued light sentences, or have failed to use their religious authority to punish and abolish it.Although the overwhelming majority of honor killings worldwide occur within Muslim communities, one would not know this by reading the mainstream media.Fearful of being labeled "Islamophobic," the American press has given only glancing attention to the widespread, honor-related ritual murder of Muslim women in the Middle East and South Asia while treating periodic honor killings among Muslim immigrants in the West as ordinary domestic abuse cases.Not even celebrity status can shield Muslim women from punishments related to honor crimes.
Actress Afshan Azad (left), seen here with Harry Potter co-star Rupert Grint, was beaten and threatened with death in 2010 by her father and brother for dating a non-Muslim.According to the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani human rights organization: "At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the calendar year 2011 for allegedly defaming their family's honor." Almost 77 percent of such honor cases ended in acquittals. A similar study, published in 2011 by the Research and Development for Human Resources Women Rights Cell, found that 605 women and 115 men in Sindh were honor murdered or murdered in domestic disputes that same year. In order to compare and contrast honor killings in India and Pakistan, a sample was taken of 75 Hindu honor killings in India, including 50 cases that were specifically caste-based and 25 where the motive was not clearly specific to caste.