The crime was so brutal, shocking and rife with the worst possible stereotypes about their faith that some U.S. Muslims thought the initial reports were a hoax.
The harsh reality of what happened in an affluent suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. — the beheading of 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan and arrest of her estranged husband in the killing — is another crucible for American Muslims.
It especially shocked people — Muslim and non-Muslim — because the couple was so modern and apparently assimilated. And many have commented on the irony that they founded a TV station to improve the image of Muslims. Here are two statements from Muslims:
“Muslims don’t want to talk about this for good reason,” said Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, a Muslim author and activist. “There is so much negativity about Muslims, and it sort of perpetuates it. The right wing is going to run with it and misuse it. But we’ve got to shine a light on this issue so we can transform it.”
There is evidence of movement in that direction in the 10 days since the Hassan slaying. In an open letter to American Muslim leaders, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali of Sterling, Va., vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, said “violence against women is real and cannot be ignored.”
He urged that imams and community leaders never second-guess a woman in danger, and said women seeking divorces because of physical abuse should not be viewed as bringing shame to their families.
Ah yes, those vicious right-wingers who notice things like abuse of women among Muslims. Nevertheless, this is progress. Read the whole article for some more reactions. I’m glad to see some Muslims are talking about it. But the reaction from Muslims seems minimal, given the number of organizations devoted to advancing Islam and protecting Muslims’ rights. A google search for CAIR and beheading brings only the news that CAIR had given the murderer an award. Will they take it back now? And a search for MSA (Muslim Student Association) and beheading brings up a report on a speech by David Horowitz at Emery University last Wednesday:
He spoke against honor killings among radical Islamists, noting the case of a Muslim television station owner who beheaded his wife in Buffalo, N.Y.
“Why isn’t there condemnation of beheadings? Because it’s in the Qu’ran? Come on!” Horowitz said, raising his hands and his voice.
Horowitz called on the Emory Muslim Students Association to protest the honor killings, adding that if the MSA does so, he will pen a personal letter of praise.
No report on how the MSA responded. But we can guess. They probably consider Horowitz the bad guy for bringing up such an offensive subject, not the Muslim who beheaded his wife.
Update 2/27/09: See my post, Beheader said headless wife can’t reach paradise.