Netherlands: Turkish imams condemn honor murder

A regional phenomenon?

Turkish imams in Dutch mosques are going to declare their aversion to honor murder in the upcoming time during Friday afternoon prayers. The initiative comes form the Turkish Islamic Cultural Federation (Turks Islamitische Culturele Federatie, TICF).

The TICF is the biggest mosque organization in the Netherlands. 80% of Dutch mosques belong to the organization.

Two mosques have already called to condemn honor murder. The other 140 mosques of the TICF will soon follow.

According to Kasim Akdemir, spokesperson for the TICF, imams have condemned honor murder in their lectures more often. "But it has never before been organized such that all our mosques join in".

The TICF wants to clearly signal with the initiative that honor murder has nothing to do with Islam. "The Islam rejects murder. A good Muslim doesn't do honor murder", says Akdemir.

Honor murder, in which women, but also men, are killed for having violated the family honor, happens often in the south east of Turkey.

Honor murder is not typically Muslim but rather a regional phenomenon. Besides Turkey it takes place in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It exists in North Africa but the "guilty party" is usually not killed there.

Due to immigration the problem has also become Europe. In 2003 the Netherlands was shocked by an honor murder of 18 year old Turkish Zarife from Almelo. The girl was killed by her father with a shotgun during a vacation in Turkey. Zarife had fled home due to abuse and had therefore caused her family shame.

In Turkey honor murder is current an important subject, says EU parliamentarian Emine Bozkurt. "There are scores of films, shows and talk-shows about honor murder. You have for example a very popular TV show 'Sila' in which honor murder is strongly condemned. And that is a very effective means of fighting it."

According to Bozkurt the shows is also seen by many Turks in the Netherlands.

Since 2003 honor murder is on the political agenda in the Netherlands. The problem is finally being recognized, say researchers.

The national expertise center on honor murder of the police in The Hague had handled 540 cases last year in which there was suspicion of honor related violence. The total is probably higher since only the police in Haaglanden has a thorough registration of honor crimes. The rest of the police corps doesn't do that yet.

There are no trustworthy number of the total number of honor murder victims in the Netherlands. An unambiguous definition is needed first. So honor violence is confused with domestic violence.

In 2006 a pilot was started in women's shelter to register victims of honor murder. Later this year all data from the police, women's shelter nad municipalities be joined together.

Source: NOS (Dutch)

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