Rashida Tlaib and the Honor Killing of Israa Ghrayeb
On August 22, 2019, 21-year-old Palestinian makeup artist Israa Ghrayeb was murdered by her brother in an honor killing. Israa's brother Ihab grew angry when he saw a video posted by Irsaa on social media in which she and her fiance were out on a chaperoned date together. Ihab was reportedly angry because it showed his sister spending time with her fiancé before her official wedding ceremony. Ihab was instructed by her father to beat her after the family saw the video. Israa tried to escape the beating, causing her to fall off the second story of her family home and break her spine. Her family claimed she jumped out of a window because she thought she was "possessed by demons." Her family later murdered her in the hospital, but claim she had died of a heart attack. This is a blatant lie as medical experts show that Israa clearly died of severe blows to the head and hospital staff testified that they heard her screaming and pleading for her life shortly before her death. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, an Arab from the West Bank, tweeted out a condemnation of this senseless murder, but wrongly blamed it on "ever-present toxic masculinity" and in the Link that Rashida Tlaib attached to her Tweet shamefully blamed the ongoing "occupation" of the West Bank by "foreign powers" for creating this system. This is nothing but a terrible lie. Numerous activists who condemned this murder clearly pointed out that honor killing is a harsh reality throughout the Middle East world. They occur in nations like Egypt, Afghanistan, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and even in Western Nations such as Germany, the United States, and Canada. This alone defeats Tlaib's assertion that the "occupation" is part of the reason for this. I have personally interviewed women in Pakistan who are hiding from their families out of fear of being murdered in an honor killing, and not ever cited "foreign occupation" as a motive for this practice. Moreover, experts agree that approximately 84% of the Honor Killings committed in the United States and 91% of the Honor Killings that occur worldwide are committed by Muslims. To understand why this horrific crime took place, one needs to understand the honor/shame dynamic that dominates numerous cultures throughout the Middle East. A family’s respect and position within the Islamic community is dependent on the family’s honor. The honor is the sole responsibility of the women of the family who are taught from childhood the consequences of their behavior. The woman is the property of the man, whether her father, brother, or husband. Shame is linked to every aspect of the woman’s behavior: her dress code, social behavior, her proper head covering, adherence to her religion, and many others. A woman who is seen with a man who is not her husband, who leaves her religion, or who refuses to follow the numerous decrees that the honor/shame society force upon her are considered to have "soiled the honor of the family," and the only way to to undo this act of shame is to murder the woman who committed the dishonorable act. In truth, the fault lies not with past or present "foreign occupation" or "toxic masculinity." The fault lies with centuries of cultural tradition in communities worldwide that have interpreted the teachings of their religion to develop a twisted belief system that justifies terrible acts of murder like this one.