People have reasons to support these killings and justify why the victims deserve to be punished. This paper examines the origin and beliefs surrounding honor killing and how this practice can be managed in modern societies.
Honor killing is an old practice that was performed to cleanse the community or family from any activity that was perceived to be evil. This practice is usually gender based and targets members of a particular sex depending on the society and offense committed. Therefore, honor killings refer to the exercises of executing members that have committed crimes that violate cultural, religious or family beliefs in an attempt to clean their societies and protect them from the evils associated with this crime (Holt 2010).
It is important to explain that all communities are guided by social norms that ensure their members’ behavior in accordance with their regulations. Their cultural are different depending on the taboos, norms, beliefs and practices observed by members (Bennie 2007). For that reason, some cultural aspects may be tolerated by some communities while others may consider them to be a violation of their codes of conduct.
Honor killings originate from traditional and religious practices that have strong beliefs on morals. These teachings and beliefs expect their members to follow their guidelines strictly and to show conformity to their requirements regardless of other issues (Fritsch 2010).
This practice originated from these teachings that have very strict rules regarding sexuality, morality and decency that are important issues in determining the worthiness of individuals in the society.
Even though there is no known time when this practice started, sociologists and psychologists believe that it is an old tradition. Therefore, it must have been observed from the time people started living on the Earth. However, it is strongly believed that this tradition has strong links with the Arab nations that have strict laws governing morality and sexuality.
In addition, religious teachings in Islam and Christianity have detailed occurrences where adulterers have been stoned to death and other offenders executed because they failed to observe their taboos (Fritsch 2010). Moreover, some traditional cultures have also detailed honor killings in situations where victims have engaged in anti-social sexual behaviors like bestiality and homosexuality.
Today, honor killings continue to occur as people try to protect the dignity of their communities. This has happened in situations where people have engaged in anti-social sexual activities like rape, incest, infidelity and bestiality (Bennie 2007). This means that even though the modern society seems to have evolved some moral and religious issues have continued to be respected and offenders have been punished.
In traditional societies victims are us,ually killed through rituals while in modern communities they are stoned, drowned or poisoned by a mob (Holt 2010). However, this practice has been condemned by all nations and most religious organizations even though it will be very difficult to eliminate this behavior since most of it happens very fast even before local authorities are aware of them.
Honor killings are usually motivated by four key issues that determine the behavior of individuals in a society. Traditional societies usually observe cultural and religious beliefs in executing individuals that have committed mistakes (Fritsch 2010). On the other hand, modern societies apply legal and political perceptions in terminating the lives of people perceived to have breached the societal regulations.
The society was controlled by a set of taboos and regulations that ensured members behaved in accordance with the expectations of their traditions. Village elders played significant roles in determining the fate of criminal activities and other communal events (Kudyba 2010). It is important to explain that a traditional society is governed by beliefs in the existence of superior beings and ancestors who are believed to be living even though they died a long time ago.
These societies believe that when natural calamities like floods, droughts, deaths or diseases occur this means that their ancestors are punishing them for disobeying societal norms.
Therefore, they appeased them by offering sacrifices (Bennie 2007). However, members must always make sure nobody disobeys their traditions and those that break their rules are executed to protect the society from the wrath of the ancestors. Therefore, when a person commits adultery, murder, rape or any other activity that violates traditional norms the person is killed to protect the society from suffering.
Religious teachings advocate for purity of the heart and body. This means that their members must follow their teachings to ensure they keep their hearts and bodies clean by avoiding all activities that may make them violate these regulations. Christians believe that they must follow the Bible teachings while Muslims should follow the guidelines contained in the Quran.
Both teachings abhor incest, adultery, rape, bestiality and homosexuality and anyone guilty of these offenses is executed in some societies. It is necessary to explain that not all religious groups perform honor killings since some of them excommunicate their members after they are suspected of committing these crimes.
Politics and Law
Most communities have adopted modern ways of allocating resources to various regions and this has also affected some cultural practices. There is a close link between politics and law since the former plays a significant role in shaping policies that guide the behavior of people within a boundary (Drano 2002).
When members of parliament fail to establish laws that will govern honor killings they will be encouraging this practice since it will not be criminalized by their constitution.
There should be strict laws to ensure honor killings are eliminated in all societies. Even though, societies have the right to have different practices this should not be allowed to exceed beyond the respect for human rights. Therefore, there should be limits that guide the freedom of exercising various traditional practices.
Secondly, there should be procedures for investigating suspects before they are punished. This will give them time to prove their innocence and the accusers to prove their allegations before a decision is made.
Honor killings are barbaric and outdated practices since they violate human rights by denying people opportunities to prove their innocence. In addition, it denies people the opportunity to correct their mistakes since they are executed once they are suspected of committing crimes. Therefore, this exercise should be stopped and condemned by everybody.
People have evolved from primitive practices to modern civilized ones that respect human rights and the value of all people regardless of their sex, age or race. However, some practices continue to thrive under the cover of culture and traditions and this means that some people continue to suffer social injustice when this should have stopped a long time.
Bennie, W. (2007). Introduction to Honor Killings and Traditions Surrounding this Mystery. New York: Harvard Business Review.
Drano, P. (2002). Global Cultural Ironies and the Underlying Beliefs. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Fritsch, E. (2010). The Worst Traditional Practices of Social and Gender Imbalances. New York: Prentice Hall.
Holt, T. (2010). Crime in Cultural Practices and Beliefs: An Introduction. Carolina: Carolina Academic Press.
Kudyba, S. P. (2010). The Evils of Retrogressive Cultural Beliefs and Practices: Honor Killings, Forced Marriages and Others. New York: CRC Press.