A year ago last month on 20th July, Bradford born Samia Shahid was brutally raped and murdered in a village in Pakistan in a so called “Honour Killing”.
Earlier last month on 14th July, it also marked the first ever “National day of memory for the victims of Honour Killings”. Ironicly this date would have marked the 29th birthday of another Bradford born girl, Shafilea Ahmed.
Families of both these girls denied they had been murdered.
In Samia’s case, we now have an ex-husband in custody in Pakistan facing charges of both rape and murder. Her father is on bail having being arrested and investigated for being an accessory to murder. A senior Pakistani police officer is also on bail for aiding Samia’s mother and sister to leave the country against court orders. A relative is also on bail for charges of fraudulent documents relating to the death certificate and arrest warrants for the mother and sister.
We must not forget to remember those lost and to celebrate who they were. The quest for justice for Samia continues and I hope that it will bring some closure to all those people whose lives she touched.
But with the marking of the year, we have to stop and ask ourselves what have we learnt? Could this happen again?
Shafilea’s parents were eventually convicted for her murder and jailed for life. Detectives said that Shafilea’s parents wanted to make her conform to their interpretation of Pakistani culture. The trail Judge, Mr Justice Evans, during sentencing said their desire for her to live in a “sealed cultural environment” was “unrealistic, destructive and cruel”.
This begs the question… how many other Pakistani girls are currently subject to abuse behind the closed doors of their homes in England that we are not aware of?
This article is not an analysis on honour killings. It is simply to remind us that this is still taking place and not enough is being done to tackle the issue. Samia Shahid, Shafilea Ahmed and many other victims of honour killings should not be forgotten.
Only last month, an Indian Muslim teenager involved in a relationship with an Arab man was kidnapped, raped and murdered in a suspected “honour killing” in London, a court heard.
The body of Celine Dookhran, 19, was found stuffed in a fridge with her throat slit after a second woman who was also attacked raised the alarm from her hospital bed.
The two women were said to have been bound, gagged and kidnapped by masked men. They were taken to a house in Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London, where they were both raped and Celine Dookhran was killed.
So-called ‘Honour Killings’ are committed by barbaric individuals who deserve the severest of punishment by the courts. There is no honour in these murders. None whatsoever! Only innocent lives lost which are taken by a warped ideology that has no place in any culture. RIP all the victims of “Honour Killings”… you will not be forgotten.