When a young British Iranian teenager was brutally murdered in Oxford on 20th November 2004 for having a relationship with a British Bangladeshi girl, MECO publicly condemned this horrific killing in no uncertain terms.
The premeditated murder of 19-year-old Arash Ghorbani-Zarin, orchestrated by the father and executed by the two teenage brothers ofManna Begum, the 19-year-old woman involved, is completely contrary to the teachings and law of Islam. In fact, it violates the lofty tenets of Islam.
The Oxford Brookes University engineering student had been tied up in his own car and stabbed 46 times in the chest and head. This act of deliberate vengeance was the father’s futile attempt to restore the ‘honour’ of his family because he had promised his daughter (without her express consent) in marriage to someone else. The father insisted that Arash had brought ‘great shame and dishonour’ to his daughter’s family by persisting with a relationship that he condemned. The father stubbornly refused permission for the engaged couple to get married even though his daughter had become pregnant. He declared that he would not countenance such a marriage, as this was not ‘in accordance with the family’s religious belief and protocol’.
After a recent trial in the Oxford Crown Court, life sentences were passed on the guilty trio on 4 November 2005. The father, Chomir Ali (44) and his sons Mujibar Rahman (19) and Mamnoor Rahman (16) were each sentenced to lengthy jail terms in which they will have more than sufficient time to reflect upon the enormity of their crimes.
MECO believes that justice has been done by the imprisonment of the perpetrators. We express our condolences to the family of the young man. MECO affirms that the primitive concept of ‘honour killing’ has no validity whatsoever in Islam. While it is practiced in some patriarchal cultures, it is the product of a bygone misogynistic mindset which has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. No one has the unilateral right to extinguish the life of another human being. It is incumbent on Muslims the world over to resist antiquated customs and traditions that jeopardises the safety and security of Muslim women. It is time that the repugnant practice of ‘honour killings’ is finally eliminated and that Muslim women are also accorded the same rights, protections and prerogatives as their male counterparts.
Resisting arranged or forced marriage is not a crime in Islam. Indeed, it is an inviolable human right for each person to choose his or her spouse without parental pressure or social blackmail. Muslim men and women must be able to freely select their life partners without blindly submitting to family desires and priorities. This is particularly applicable for Muslims in the West.
MECO re-emphasizes the pristine teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (hadith), which promotes egalitarianism and complete gender parity within the faith. Muslims cannot remain silent or condone the injustice of so-called ‘honour killings’. An open and public denunciation is required. Anything less, will be a travesty and affront to their faith.
MECO can be contacted by telephone on 01865 766032, by fax on 01865 742612 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org