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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Atheism, Featured, Islam, Religion and Society | 6 comments

Pakistani woman stoned to death because she married the man she loved

This story is doing the news rounds. Another shocking example of how religion fucks everything up. Modern atheism prefer to argue vociferously about what happened in lift at skeptical conferences:

A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death and killed by her family outside a high court in the Pakistani city of Lahore, for marrying the man she fell in love with, according to police and a lawyer. Police said about 20 members of the family started attacking Farzana Parveen, and her husband Mohammad Iqbal, with sticks and bricks as they waited for the high court to open on Tuesday afternoon.

The photo below, taken by Mohammad Tahir of Reuters, shows Pakistani police officers trying to gather evidence on the killing, as Parveen’s body lies on the ground, with people surrounding the scene. The Associated Press said family members attacked the couple before a crowd of onlookers in front of the court.

Farzana Parveen was was stoned to death by her family outside a court in Pakistan. (MOhammad Tahir/Reuters)

According to the police, everyone who was involved in the killing escaped except the girl’s father, who admitted killing his daughter and said he did it for honor. Pakistani families who have been involved in such killings say a woman marrying a man without their permission is seen as a breach of honor of the family. To many, that translates as the reason to seek revenge, by killing their own children.

Although the Pakistani government itself does not collect any data — and it is illegal to carry out such killings — several hundred women are said to be killed in honor killings every year in Pakistan. In the latest annual report released (PDF) by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 869 women were killed in the name of honor in 2013.

Earlier this year, the BBC traveled to a village in northwestern Pakistan to tell the story of a young woman who survived an honor killing and has been publicly speaking about it since. As the story notes, such killings are difficult to prove or to prosecute because of two reasons: first, the lack of witnesses to the crime, and second, lack of motivation for the police to pursue the suspects, regardless of the evidence.

But what happened in Lahore on Tuesday seems different. It wasn’t in a remote village in Pakistan, neither was it in the middle of the night. Parveen and her husband were killed in broad daylight, in the presence of several bystanders, in front of the top court in the second largest city in Pakistan.

  • Barry Grossman

    Five pages into a Google search and not one source from Pakistan although every one else from the Voice of America to ABC and on to the lunatic right wing fringe is running with the story pretty much from the same source and with the same spin. It is a murder case and being treated as such. Why does it happen? I expect that in no small part this happens not so much because of twisted religious beliefs or “family honour” as much as because in many nations the transactional, NWO system and the corruption it breeds, keeps people so poor that they almost always see their children as an investment for their old age; the equivalent of a pension in places where the vast majority of people have no pension entitlements nor even the ability to earn a subsistence wage. We don’t see any of the hundreds of overwhelmingly USA based media outlets running with this tragedy telling any part of that story. Instead, what we see is still another manifestation of the long standing strategy to vilify Muslims.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      You raise a really interesting point which is very complex indeed. I try to set it out here:

      http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2014/04/28/have-i-killed-someone/

      (have I killed someone?)
      I think teasing out anything beyond contributory causes is very tricky indeed.

    • David Marshall

      When first went to China, they were poorer than Pakistanis are today, but they didn’t stone women to death for marrying the wrong men. The reality is, beginning with Mohammed, Islam HAS treated women poorly:

      http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2013/11/karen-armstrong-kisses-up-to-mohammed.html

      • guerillasurgeon

        Honour killings are not confined to Islam. They are more common in some Islamic countries that in others also. They are very rare in Indonesia for instance. So it’s almost certainly a cultural thing.

  • David Marshall

    Jonathan: Hello! As a philosopher, why do you allow yourself to derive such a stupid moral from this horror as “religion fucks everything up?” Have you never read the gospels? Jesus stopped people from stoning women, even one who committed adultery, which this chick did not.

    In fact, be honest, and read my series on “How Jesus has Liberated Women.” (Google it.) If your point is to bash “religion,” then to hell with the truth, eh? But if your point is to help women, then you should give the Gospel of Jesus some serious credit.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Those Gospels which failed to do anything about, say, slavery? The humanistic and secular Geneva Convention and human rights laws have done a better job.