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ICC Note:

It’s not persecution of Christians, so why print it? We print this because it helps people understand the worldview and practices of fundamentalist Muslims (the majority of the world’s Muslims are fundamentalist). If this is what they do to their own daughters and sisters, how do you think they treat people from other religions in their Muslim dominated countries.
We already know.


For Muslim women, a deadly defiance

‘Honor killings’ on rise in Europe

BERLIN — Life was just starting to look up for 23-year-old Hatun Surucu when the bullets cut her down.

After four years of grueling courses in vocational school, coupled with the demands of single motherhood, she was only weeks away from receiving certification as an electrician, a trade that would give her the independence she desperately craved.

It had been a rough road: Eight years earlier, her parents, Turkish immigrants, had yanked Surucu from eighth grade, bundled her off to Istanbul , and forced her to marry an older cousin. Miserable in Turkey, she had fled her husband and returned to Berlin with her infant son, determined to make her own way as a modern woman in a secular society, according to friends.

For a Muslim barely out of girlhood, it was an act of extraordinary defiance against her family. And it cost Surucu her life.

As Europe’s Muslims become increasingly conservative, growing numbers of women are being killed or mutilated in the name of ”family honor,” according to law enforcement agencies, women’s activist groups, and moderate Islamic organizations. These cases usually involve an attack on a Muslim woman by a close relative — typically a brother or father — angered by her refusal to accept a forced marriage or her insistence on leading a Western-style life.

There were at least eight such slayings in Berlin alone in 2005, and 47 honor killings of Muslim women across Germany in the past six years, according to police, media reports, and activist groups. Not coincidentally, activists say, tens of thousands of European-born Muslim women are annually forced into unwanted marriages, often to much older men, in their family’s home countries. Refusal to submit to such marriages can bring a death sentence.

Following a spate of headline-grabbing cases, including Surucu’s murder, European countries are slowly coming to recognize honor killings as a distinct crime.

In Great Britain, for example, a police review of 22 domestic homicides last year resulted in 18 being reclassified as ”murder in the name of so-called ‘honor.’ ” Scotland Yard has reopened probes into 109 suspicious deaths, covering a 10-year span, that seem to have been family conspiracies to kill Muslim women.

The violent trend, say authorities, reflects the strengthening grip of religious fundamentalism among the continent’s 16 million Muslims, many of whom suffer from rising unemployment, inadequate education, and — perhaps above all — the sense of being unwelcome outsiders in their adopted homes. As Muslim men embrace radical Islam and return to age-old customs, women are paying a cruel price.

”There is a lost generation of Muslims in Europe ,” said Eren Uensal, spokeswoman for the Turkish Federation of Berlin. ”Ten years ago, Muslims here were more modern, more secular than those ‘back home.’ Now the situation has reversed. The younger men feel there is no place for them in Europe , but they also feel there is no place else for them.”

Islamic radical groups are filling the vacuum. ”The most alarming thing they teach is that violence is an acceptable way to enforce religious views or social customs,” Uensal said. ”Much of that violence is against women.”

Hatun Surucu’s murder was fairly typical of Europe ‘s recent honor killings.

Her parents and brothers in Berlin were outraged when Surucu abandoned her husband and returned to Germany with her infant son, Can. Even deeper than the anger was the family’s sense of disgrace at this display of female independence, according to court testimony and family friends.

But Surucu wanted to make her own way. She stayed at a Berlin women’s shelter only long enough to complete middle school. Then she found a part-time job, moved into a tiny apartment, and enrolled in a vocational program.

Further enraging her family, she abandoned the hijab — the traditional head scarf worn by some Muslim women — in favor of earrings, makeup, and blue jeans. Her son, now 6, was the light of her life, friends say. But Surucu also loved movies and going out dancing.

”All she wanted, really, was to be an ordinary person, just a normal young woman,” said Georg Neumann, a friend of Surucu’s at the vocational school.

On the night of Feb. 7, 2005, at a bus stop two blocks from her apartment, Surucu was waiting under a street lamp when bullets tore into her chest and face at point-blank range.

The slaying, according to police, was a family affair.

Three of Surucu’s five brothers have been charged with murder. One has already confessed in a chilling court statement. ”She wanted her own circle of friends” outside the family, Ayhan Surucu, 18, said of his sister. ”It was too much.”

Ayhan, the youngest brother, is charged with pulling the trigger. An older brother is charged with acquiring the gun, and a middle brother is accused of luring his sister to the murder scene with a phone call in which he said the family wanted to discuss reconciliation.

”She was still so much wanting to be one with her family,” Neumann said. ”She didn’t want to be cut off from them. She only wanted them to accept that she could have her own life.”

”So many cases we see involve young [Muslim] girls who are exposed to ideas of equality and freedom, and take to these ideas like flowers to the sun,” said Mehriban Ozer, a social worker for Wildwasser. ”They want to go to school. They want a life. The violence comes from fathers and brothers . . . who now see the tiniest step toward freedom by a female to be a terrible break from tradition.”

In Neukoelln’s largely immigrant Thomas Morus school, not far from the place where Hatun Surucu was murdered, students greeted news of her slaying with loud approval. Her brothers were hailed as local heroes.