Friday, 3 February 2012

First review of Secrets of the Henna Girl

Can't believe it's February already and I'm only four weeks away from the release of my new book 'Secrets of the Henna Girl'. I don't think I've ever been this anxious ... well, wait, maybe when I was waiting for school and college results all those years ago.

Today I was informed of the first review. Its from Asianlite magazine. Please click on the link if you wish to read. Its on page 32.

http://www.asianlite.com/digitaledition/ifeb2012/Default.html

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Women who accept 'honour' killings

The latest story about an 'honour' killing that is making the news is the very sad one about the three Canadian sisters and their step-mother. The parents and brother of the sisters have been convicted of their murder in a court of law. see link for story.
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/31/shafia-trial-appeal-hamed-shafia_n_1244615.html

Reading about this reminded me of a British girl who was killed on the orders of her father. Tulay Goren was only 15 when she was murdered. The difference with the Canadian story is that Tulay's mother sought justice for her daughter, but the Canadian mother's hands are full of blood. I blogged about the perverse acceptance that some women have of the killing of other women in the name of honour. Its from 2009 and I have pasted it below.

Friday, 9 October 2009
An honour killing
A few years ago I was sat around a dinner table with a group of professional women friends. We were a mixture, descended from different parts of South Asia with a few things in common - we were Muslim, British,university educated and financially independent. I remember the conversation of that evening well and the revulsion I felt for some of the women whom I regarded as friends. A few weeks earlier a man of Pakistani origin had murdererd his young daughter in my part of London. He had caught her with a boyfriend and feeling 'dishonoured' he had strangled her. On the same day he drove up to the local police station (one that I had walked past for years on my way to school with classmates) and informed the police that his daughter's body lay in the boot of his car. He confessed his crime.

Sitting around the table I expressed my horror at what had been done by a parent to a child but the reaction of some of the western educated, highly articulate women chilled me more. The response was something like this, 'this is what happens when you step out of line.' There was no condemnation of the crime, both in legal terms or in Islamic terms. There was no sympathy for the murdered victim. There was no sense of a higher moral ground. There was only an acceptance that this is what happens to Muslim females who step out of line. My response had been something like perhaps the poor girl should have just been murdered at birth. I mean if her life had such little value why bother to raise her? Have we really come far from the barbaric practise of killing daughters in pre-Islam Arabia that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) so tirelessly preached against? I was told in no uncertain terms to get off my high horse - oh and that I would never understand because it was not part of my culture.

Too right I would not understand! What could possibly excuse and justify the murder of an innocent girl by an enraged man? And why and how were these Muslim women so accepting of the whole situation? What if it was their daughters and sisters that were murdered? What was with the apathy? As Muslims doesn't our faith teach us to speak up against crime? Against a wrong committed against the vulnerable and innocent? And this young girl from my part of London was vulnerable and innocent and did not deserve to be throttled by her own father.

The newspapers this morning all carried the story of a man in court who is accused of killing his daughter ten years ago. Tulay Goren was 15 years old when she disappeared. She had been trying to marry a man she fell in love with but her family disapproved because they were Kurdish Alevi and the man a Turkish Sunni. Now her mother alleges that her husband and brother in law killed Tulay and buried her in the garden. It has taken Tulay's mother ten years to speak up because she says she feared for her safety. She also has three other children. The case continues.

My heart goes out to Tulay's mother. Imagine knowing that your own husband has killed your own daughter and having to live with it and carry it around as a secret for your own safety and that of your other children. I have no idea what this poor woman's situation is. I can only imagine that she has left her husband and has some protection. But it has taken her ten years to raise the courage to pursue justice for her murdered daughter.

I am left to wonder if it would have taken this long if women like my educated Muslim ex-friends were a little less tolerant of the crimes against women.
Posted by Sufiya Ahmed at 13:15
Labels: honour killing
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