Murder By Another Name

Noor Almaleki

This past Monday, a judge and jury in Phoenix began the process of trying the case of a 50-year-old man accused of murdering his 20-year-old daughter, Noor – and attempting to murder the middle-aged woman beside her – by intentionally crashing into her with his vehicle. After he ran over the two women, he backed up, put the car in drive, and ran over them again. The older woman, brutally wounded, survived. Twenty-year-old Noor (her name means “light”) died after two weeks in a coma. The cowardly killer then fled to Britain, where he hoped to hide, but was returned to the US and jailed without bond.

If this sounds unlikely, look it up. The case is titled State of Arizona v. Almaleki, and it deals with one of the first criminal cases in America of what are erroneously termed “honor” killings.

The Iraqi Muslim killer claimed that Noor, whom he had brought to the US, had become too Westernized, that she preferred to choose for herself the man she would marry, and that therefore – under the horrific reasoning of her father – she deserved death at his hands.

For years, British police and courts used a “softly-softly” approach to these murders, figuring that – under the theory that all cultures are equally healthy – cultural differences must be respected. (As an example of how poorly “softly-softly” works in another context: the London area of Notting Hill was at one time the site of a marijuana softly-softly: the drug was dealt openly and dealers proliferated. That lasted about two weeks. Dealers then switched to more-lucrative cocaine, with enormous spikes in crime that made Notting Hill residents afraid to leave their homes.)

No more. Threatened girls who flee their homes rather than die at the hands of their fathers or brothers are protected; murderous parents (often, a girl’s mother so fears her husband’s rage that she enables him to kill their daughter) or other relatives are tried and convicted.

What will be Arizona’s approach? Earlier, a plea bargain was being considered. A plea bargain? For outright murder whose facts are not in dispute? The prosecutor is now trying this case before a jury, and many, many people await the outcome. If the killer is allowed to go free by arguing that in killing Noor he was merely following his religious beliefs, then Islamic sharia law will have been upheld by a court that is tasked with upholding the law of the United States.

An American court must not do that. It must instead see that Noor Almaleki’s killer is punished.

As author Jamie Glazov points out, many Muslim men “see the world through the lens of Islamic misogyny, where women are the property of men. Under the vicious and sadistic system of Islamic gender apartheid, women’s autonomy must be suffocated on all levels.”

Noor simply wanted to choose her own husband, not be forced into an arranged marriage where she became the payoff for her father’s debts. She wanted to lead a life consistent with American dreams and ideals. For that, she was foully murdered.

Her death must not be in vain. We cannot start on the slippery slope of excusing the murder of teenage girls and young women because of their horrific killers’ alleged political, religious, or cultural “sensitivities”.

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