Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Lebanon's top Shiite Muslim cleric bans honor killings

Lebanon's top Shiite Muslim cleric bans honor killings

Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric issued Thursday a fatwa, or religious edict, banning honor killings, calling the custom of murdering a female relative for sexual misconduct "a repulsive act."
The fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was an unusually vocal condemnation by a prominent cleric of the practice. Fadlallah's office said he issued the statement in alarm over reports on an increase in honor killings.
"I view an honor crime as a repulsive act condemned and prohibited by religion," Fadlallah, the most revered religious authority for Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiites, said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press.
"In so-called honor crimes, some men kill their daughters, sisters, wives or female relatives on the pretext that they committed acts that harm chastity and honor," said Fadlallah, warning that the practice was on the rise in region.
"These crimes are committed without any religious evidence, and mostly on the basis of suspicions," added Fadlallah.
Honor crimes are rarely reported in Lebanon and there are no official figures, but Fadlallah's spokesman Hani Abdullah said "this phenomenon has reached a dangerous level." He said Fadlallah's office had received reports of an increase in honor killings, though he could not give specific figures.
"Honor crimes have been reported recently mainly in Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon," he said. "Some Arab governments have kept silent on such crimes because they did not want to anger tribal leaders in their countries."
In the poorer and more traditional sectors of Middle East society, women are often seen as bearers of the clan's honor and any sex out of wedlock _ or sometimes even just dating _ is seen as an indelible stain on the family's reputation that can only be cleansed with blood.
While such killings are illegal in Arab countries, perpetrators often go unpunished or receive light sentences from courts.
The practice has come under particular scrutiny in nearby Jordan, where it is estimated that some 20 women are killed every year by their male relatives, prompting international rights organizations to appeal to the country's ruler, King Abdullah II.
The Jordanian government has urged judges to consider the killings as homicides and punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but many courts still hand down lenient sentences for these kinds of cases. Jordan's top Islamic clerics have not issued fatwas against the practice.
Attempts to introduce harsher sentences for honor killings have been blocked in Jordan's parliament, where the predominantly conservative Bedouin lawmakers argue that lesser penalties would increase toleration for promiscuity.
The overwhelmingly Sunni populations of Jordan and the Palestinian territories are unlikely to pay particular heed to Fadlallah's fatwa, but the 69-year-old cleric does have followers among Shiites in Iraq, where he lived for 30 years in the holy city of Najaf.


Updated : 2021-10-26 21:08 GMT+08:00