Not from the Onion

It seems as though Muzzammil Hassan, the founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York, was just arrested for beheading his wife. According to CNN, he’d launched the site with the nobel goal of “countering Muslim stereotypes.”

I’m interested to see how the Muslim press in the U.S. handles this. One would hope that they would step up, condemn the actions of Hassan, and take the opportunity to encourage women subjected to domestic abuse to seek help, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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  1. Posted February 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    And I certainly don’t mean to give the impression that it’s just Muslim males to perform despicable acts against women. It was also in the news today that an Ohio man was arrested for holding a woman captive for three days, in handcuffs and a diaper, while he read Bible verses to her. But, with that said, it’s clear that there’s a significant problem when it comes to the rights of women in the Islamic world. And I know that a good many Muslim men do not strike their wives, or treat them as though they are property. There is, however, a deeply entrenched culture that needs to change. As long as this type of behavior is condoned in the home, I don’t see how any progress toward peace can be made on a national level. In my opinion, instead of putting the military into Iraq, we should have funded every women’s rights group that we could identify. While I appreciate that a fledgling debate is taking place at some level in the Muslim community, in my opinion, it’s not happening nearly fast enough.

  2. Posted February 17, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    This was not an honor killing. MO Hassan was married before to a non-Muslim woman, and had two children with her as well. He divorced the first wife without killing her. He was not a religious Muslim. Bridges TV was nothing more to him than an oppertunity to make money. He did not fast or pray as is required in the religion. HE often said that he did not miss Pakistan, or wish to visit. He was very Americanized. What this was is an example of is his rage, and domestic abuse… not an “honor killing.” I know all this becuase I used to work there. Leave the religion of Islam out of it.

    Incidentally, a Greek man beheaded his girlfriend a few months ago. Last year, a Canadian man beheaded a companion on a Greyhound bus. A Catholic man also beheaded his own infant. This is clearly just a man with a horrific temper problem; Islam was only one small influence in his life amongst many. His wife, who was much more religious than him, would be saddened to see Islam blamed for something it clearly condemns.

  3. Ol' E Cross
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I’d like to maybe point out this guy is essentially a televangelist (if only the Muslim world would judge us on the merits of our televangelists).

    I know many in the Islamic world restrict and abuse women, but I can’t help approaching this from a cultural perspective. Seriously, how different is telling women what they have to wear from telling them what not to wear?

  4. Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you both for your comments. As I mentioned, I agree with you that violence against women isn’t solely a Muslim issue. And I get that this, unlike other murders of women and girls in the Muslim community, isn’t probably considered an “honor” killing. What I don’t think can be disputed, however, is that the Muslim community has a long way to go in the realm of women’s rights. All I was suggesting is that a more comprehensive discussion on the issue needs to take place, both here and abroad. That, to me, seems clear.

  5. Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    And, for what it’s worth, I didn’t say that Islam was responsible for this. The man who killed his wife is responsible for his own actions. I merely said that I wonder how the Muslim community will react to such a high-profile case, and if they will take advantage of the opportunity to address the treatment of women in the community.

  6. kjc
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    “What I don’t think can be disputed, however, is that the Muslim community has a long way to go in the realm of women’s rights. ”

    Yeah, but I think it’s problematic to rip this from the headlines (the headlines being what they are) and then connect the two.

    Bridges TV is also the channel that carries Democracy Now…

  7. Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Mark, this isn’t the first time you’ve made posts pointing the finger at Islamic related crimes. You really have to admit to yourself that you have a strong bias against persons of Islamic faith, something you know little to nothing about except what appears on CNN headlines.

  8. dragon
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    1)As Goliath falls, David draws out the Philistine warrior’s own sword and beheads him. When the Philistines see their once-invincible warrior decapitated, they panic and flee. David carries Goliath’s head triumphantly to King Saul’s court in Jerusalem and keeps the sword as a spoil of war.

    2)Herodias’ daughter, Salome, dances for King Herod, who is so pleased with the performance that he promises to grant the girl anything she wishes. Salome, at her mother’s urging, asks for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter. Herod is upset, but a promise is a promise. The incident has been immortalized in paintings and plays by artists ranging from Caravaggio to Titian to Botticelli.

    3)In the Old Testament, a poor Jewish widow named Judith volunteers to deliver her people from an Assyrian siege around the town of Bethulia. Pretending to be an informer against her people, the beautiful Judith enters the Assyrian camp and seduces the military general, Holofernes. She enters his tent, gets him drunk and after he falls asleep, cuts off his head with the help of her maid, Abra.The story of Judith slaying the Assyrian general has been a theme for some of the Western world’s most famous Italian painters, including Michelangelo Caravaggio, Artemesia Gentileschi and Donatello.

  9. Sid
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Can you not see the irony in pointing out that this doesn’t count because it wasn’t technically an honor killing? Basically you’re saying that beheading people is an accepted part of the religion. You’re admitting as much.

    If you want examples of real honor killings, I’d be happy to provide them. There was recently a 13 year old girl that was buried up to her neck and stoned to death in front of an audience of over a thousand. Her crime? Adultery.

    You might also find the following video of Richard Dawkins enlightening.

  10. Kelly Tyler
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I think the point is, if he was really interested in countering Muslim stereotypes, he would have killed her in a different manner.

  11. Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I love the term “Muslim World”. Like one even exists. You are trying to tell me that we can throw Turkey, Iraq, Solmalia, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia in a bag together and call them a team and admonish all of them when they don’t band together and tell the world what you want them to say.

    That’s like claiming that the multitude of majority Christian countries including the United States, Germany, Finland, Nigeria, Guatemala and South Korea all form the “Christian World” although they are completely independent historically, ethnicially and economically.

    I bet most Muslim people that view this as a murder in the same way anyone in America would view OJ’s killing of his wife. Does OJ being Christian imply that all Christians should speak out on wife killing?

  12. Paw
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    He could have given her a chimp.

  13. kjc
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    OJ did almost cut off Nicole’s head, mind you.

    Kelly Tyler, that was funny. Unless you’re serious, in which case it’s disturbing.

    There was a horrific story in the NYDN about a kid chained in a bathroom for years. The NYDN always has these kinds of “high profile” stories because the media is sensationalistic. Period. I’m still waiting for the Western media to come out against child abuse. Or maybe the Christian community?

    I’m with Dude on this one.

  14. BLT
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    There are some who believe it is an honor killing. This is from an article on the Huffington Post.

    The New York president of the National Organization for Women, Marcia Pappas, condemned prosecutors for referring to the death as an apparent case of domestic violence.

    “This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing,'” a statement from NOW said.

    Nadia Shahram, who teaches family law and Islam at the University at Buffalo Law School, explained honor killing as a practice still accepted among fanatical Muslim men who feel betrayed by their wives.

    “If a woman breaks the law which the husband or father has placed for the wife or daughter, honor killing has been justified,” said Shahram, who was a regular panelist on a law show produced by Bridges TV. “It happens all the time. It’s been practiced in countries such as Pakistan and in India.”

  15. Posted February 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Words like “honor killing” are just patriarchal ways of justifying plain old wife-beating. If you want to get technical, there are plenty of “honor killings” here in the United States. I bet if you ask many of the guys who do it, they will give you a shopping list of justifications like “The bitch cheated on me” or the classic “The bitch wouldn’t shut the fuck up”.

    Sounds the same to me. Violence against women is wrong. Most people will agree with that, including persons of Islamic faith.

  16. Posted February 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I find it disturbing that liberal outlets like and the huffingtonpost are quick to make talk about social justice and equality, but when the subject of the “Muslim World” comes up, they are really more in line with David Duke than Martin Luther King.

  17. Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s true that I have a bias against religious fundamentalists, especially those that attempt to force their views on others. I think, if you go through the archive, you’ll see many more examples of me going after Christian fundamentalists, however, than their Muslim counterparts. With that said, however, I do take a dim view of the role ascribed to women under strict Islamic law. I do not think women are possessions, and I do not look kindly on men that beat their spouses. It’s my understanding that Islamic law allows for that, and you haven’t shown my anything to dissuade me from that belief. I’m all for religious freedom and tolerance. I draw the line and beating and killing women. Sorry if you find that objectionable.

  18. Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    You give wife beaters way too much credit.

  19. Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    And, since you asked,

    And yes, I do find your blindly pigeonholing people into arbitrary groups objectionable.

  20. nammeroo
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    …to paraphrase an earlier post…

    Mark, this isn’t the first time you’ve made posts pointing the finger at Bible-reading related crimes. You really have to admit to yourself that you have a strong bias against persons of Judeo-Christian faith, something you know little to nothing about except what appears on CBN headlines.

  21. Ol' E Cross
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Away from the bloodletting on Mark, I’d like to explain what I mean by a cultural perspective. This might get a little long…

    First, let me say I agree with Mark for the most part on his interpretation of the Koran. But, just like any holy (or unholy) book, there’s fundamentalist readings and more moderate or progressive interpretations. The moderates will say that the “beating” of a wife is clearly a last resort, and that “beating” is better interpreted as a light, symbolic tap. And, they’ll mention that this was meant to restrain the reckless abuse of women at the time it was written (which is likely true). As nice as that is, I find nothing in the Christian New Testament that comes close to permitting or suggesting even a “symbolic” beating of a spouse. In contrast, we see Jesus stepping in to stop the stoning of woman “caught in the act,” and asking, “Where’s the dude?” and elsewhere instructing followers to turn the other cheek to enemies. Personally, I’m not a fan of the Koran.

    But that’s not my issue. Islamic cultures, among many others, place a high value on “family” and “honor” that we/I frankly just don’t get. We generally substitute “pride” for “honor” (“proud to be an American”) and prefer our unique brand of hyper-individuality over family. One of the worst cultural sins a parent commit is to restrict their child’s individuality. And, pride expresses a much more individual pathos than honor, which implies inclusion of/respect from others.

    Here, at the root, is where we have a clash of culture/ideology. What is better? To honor your family or express yourself?

    Religion ties neat packages around ideologies which makes for easy tearing open. But there are fundamentalists outside of religion. Fundamentalists who will rip at the skin in defense of individual liberty and expression. Our culture is full of fundamentalists in the American cult of the individual. They show up at Maury’s.

    For those who didn’t follow my earlier link, how different is a culture that requires women to wear hijabs from one that broadcasts TLCs “What Not to Wear” which breaks women down emotionally, gives them a credit card and tell them exactly how to dress?

    Everyone is religious (believes something). Everyone is a fundamentalist (believes some of their belief is absolute).

    If we expect other cultures to learn from us, what are we willing to learn from them? If the answer is nothing, what are we? Imperialists, fundamentalists, or both?

  22. kjc
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Man the point really got missed…

    Anyway, I am of course not at all offended by men who beat and kill their spouses. I’m glad that subtext came across.

  23. Posted February 19, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    It really did, kjc. Oh well.

  24. Robert
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points, OEC.

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