Honour killing

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An honor killing (American English), honour killing (Commonwealth English), or shame killing is the murder of an individual, either an outsider or a member of a family, by someone seeking to protect what they see as the dignity and honor of themselves or their family. Honor killings are often connected to religion, caste and other forms of hierarchical social stratification, or to sexuality. Most often, it involves the murder of a woman or girl by male family members, due to the perpetrators' belief that the victim has brought dishonor or shame upon the family name, reputation or prestige. Honor killings are believed to have originated from tribal customs. They are prevalent in various parts of the world, as well as in immigrant communities in countries which do not otherwise have societal norms that encourage honor killings. Honor killings are often associated with rural and tribal areas, but they occur in urban areas too.


  • Although Sikhs and Hindus do sometimes commit such murders, honor killings, both worldwide and in the West, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. In this study, worldwide, 91 percent of perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, most killers (84 percent) were Muslims, with only a few Sikhs and even fewer Hindus perpetrating honor killings; in Europe, Muslims comprised an even larger majority at 96 percent while Sikhs were a tiny percentage. In Muslim countries, obviously almost all the perpetrators were Muslims. With only two exceptions, the victims were all members of the same religious group as their murderers.
    • Phyllis Chesler Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings by Phyllis Chesler Middle East Quarterly Spring 2010, pp. 3-11
  • Admittedly, the notion of “honor killing” is rather oxymoronic for those whose primary conception of honor pertains to dispositions to behave nobly or virtuously, as generally understood within many Western cultural groups.
    • Women in the Crossfire: Understanding and Ending Honor Killing Robert Paul Churchill · 2018
  • Preachers may not say in their mosques that honor killing is against Islam, but they surely tell that to the West when an embarrassing story of honor killing occurs in France, Germany, or London.
    • Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global ... - 72 Nonie Darwish · 2009
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