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Friday Church News Notes, March 15, 2019

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"Honor killing" is defined as "acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family." It is practiced by Muslims in the Middle East and Turkey, and cases have also occurred in the West.  According to the United Nations, 5,000 females are murdered every year in honor killings ("Murder in the Family," Fox News, July 26, 2008).  The perpetrators usually get off scot free or with a light sentence.  In Pakistan, about 1,000 honor killings are recorded annually, but the number is likely much higher ("Afzal Kohistani: 'Honour killing' whistleblower shot dead," BBC News, Mar. 7, 2019).  Two families were nearly wiped out after a video was posted online in 2011 of two men dancing at a wedding as four women sing a song.  A younger female member of the women's family is also in the scene.  The five females were subsequently killed by male members of the family who believed that their "honor" had been breached.  When Afzal Kohistani, the older brother of the two men in the video, broke with local tradition and brought the case to national attention in 2012, he and his family became a target.  His house was firebombed, three of his brothers were murdered, and he lived in constant danger.  In March 2019, Kohistani was shot to death in broad daylight in spite of widespread media attention.  Though honor killing is illegal in Pakistan, the police and the courts cannot protect those who are targeted.


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