LONDONG – In parts of some countries in the Middle East and South Asia, the penalty for a particularly shocking sort of murder is basically nothing, because honor killing is simply a tradition.
But it's a tradition some immigrants are taking with them to Britain, where police are on a mission to end the practice that they say has no honor.
In one case, a 16-year-old Kurdish girl, Heshu Yones (search), moved to England with her family who were refugees from Saddam Hussein's Iraq. She embraced the ways of her new home but was still proud to be a Kurd (search) — she dressed up, wore makeup and fell in love.
For that, her father stabbed her 17 times with a kitchen knife last October and killed her. He recently pleaded guilty to the murder. The girl apparently planned to run away but decided not to because she thought it would ruin her family.
The killing apparently was sparked by the belief that she brought shame to the family. Women who want a divorce, reject an arranged marriage or have a boyfriend while living with their parents sometimes are killed because their actions are perceived as a dishonor to the family.
Heshu's case was a wake-up call for London's police. Dozens of similar cases have been identified within the past year, and police and citizens are now working to raise awareness of the issue.
"Many women, unfortunately, in our country had little rights so we don't know what our rights are when we come here," said Diani Nammi of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Project (search).
Nammi said the men and women in her community who support honor killing are part of a minority, but changing their views may take a long time.
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