Arab Women, Imam Protest Honor Killings in Israeli City

A code of silence was broken when dozens of women, men and for the first time, a representative of the Islamic movement gathered in Ramle to denounce “honor killings.” In the last six years, 30 women have been murdered in the name of family honor in the city of Ramle alone.

al-monitor Palestinian women attend a rally in Gaza City May 3, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.

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victims, ramle, israel, imam, family honor, demonstration, death, bravado, arab women, arab

Jun 12, 2012

Scores of women and men, including Ramle’s Imam, participated in a demonstration on Sunday night against the continuing murders of Arab women for what is called “restoring family honor.”

The demonstration took place on the heels of the murder last month of Nasrin Musarti (26), resident of the city. Nasrin was the mother of two children, aged 4 and 6. For the last two years, Nasrin resided in a shelter for battered Arab women due to concern that members of her husband’s family would try to harm her or send mercenaries to do so. Her husband is serving a prison sentence for drug and property-related crimes.

Musarti was murdered at the end of May in the middle of the day, just outside the shelter in which she resided in the village of Yasif in the north of the country. She is the 30th woman to be murdered in the past six years in the Ramle-Lod region for the purpose of “restoring family honor.”

The demonstration was organized by the Na’am NGO. The organization assists at-risk girls and women in the Arab sector, along with others. Among the demonstrators was Musrati’s sister, Hoda, who said at the conclusion of the demonstration that she was not worried about appearing at the event and asked that the police do everything they can to find the murderer of her sister and those who planned to kill her.

“I was not afraid of making an appearance and speaking,” said Hoda, who delivered a speech at the rally. “I think that I am doing what needs to be done for Nasrin. Unfortunately, the killing of my other sister Amal, who was murdered in 2006 also as an 'honor crime,'  was not solved to this very day. The time has come to put an end to this situation. My sister Nasrin always said that one day they would do something to her, and it is sad that they succeeded in getting to her. I ask that the police investigate the murders of Nasrin and Amal — and also of the other women — as seriously as they investigate the murder of a Jewish woman.”

For the first time, a representative of the Islamic movement attended the demonstration against honor killings. Ramle’s Imam, Mahdi Abu Laban, came to the event and delivered a speech in which he strongly denounced murdering women in the name of religion. “No religion agrees to murder,” said Abu Laban, “and the Islamic religion is no exception. Anyone who uses Islam to justify murder is doing the wrong thing.” The Imam’s speech received strong applause from the participants.

Samach Salima Agebriya, director of Na’am, added that the demonstration was also an expression of internal criticism against the Arab sector. “We shout today against police powerlessness, but also against the norm of murder in the name of family honor,” Agebriya said. “Our criticism is directed first and foremost against the various authorities headed by the police, but it is also criticism of people in the Arab sector. The time has come that the Arab woman shall no longer be murdered with impunity.”

The Shefela Region police responded with a statement. “We offer our condolences to the families. The Israeli police goes to great effort to solve its cases and employs its best investigators to do so. The Central District Command operates prevention, public-relations and welfare programs together with additional governmental agents. We call on the Arab women and the entire Arab public to turn to the police and welfare personnel before the next calamity.”

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