The State Department on Thursday condemned the stoning of death of a Pakistani woman and other violence against women “in the name of tradition and honor,” but made no reference to religion as a factor.
So-called “honor killings” occur most commonly in Islamic communities and are often closely entwined with shari’a-based legislation. Although Muslim scholars insist the practice is not endorsed by the Qur’an or Hadiths, when legal steps have been taken to curb honor killings, the strongest protests have come from fundamentalist Islamic quarters.
“Tragically, this was at least the third reported so-called honor killing in Pakistan this week,” said department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, reacting to the killing of a pregnant 25-year-old, stoned to death outside a Lahore courthouse by members of her own family for marrying against their wishes.
“We remain very concerned about violence against women and girls that takes place around the world, including in Pakistan,” Psaki continued. “We are especially concerned about the violence that occurs in the name of tradition and honor such as so-called honor killings and other unjustifiable acts of violence.”
Pakistan’s best-known rights organization, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), expressed alarm and disgust over the murder of Farzana Parveen. It recorded nearly 900 “honor” killings of women in Pakistan last year.
“These women were killed because the state did not confront this feudal practice supported by religiosity and bigotry,” HRCP said.
Resisting an arranged marriage is a common cause for honor killings. Others include suspicion of an adulterous or “inappropriate” relationship.