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There Was Another American Dishonor Killing Today

I had hoped to blog about another area of Jordan today, describe its beauty, tell a tale about it, and link to some photographs.  But when I performed my daily ritual of Googling for dishonor killing news, I discovered that a 25-year-old Clayton County, Georgia woman named Sandela Kanwal was strangled to death earlier today by her father, Chaudhry Rashad (pictured here, in my rogues' gallery:  http://www.redroom.com/galleryimage/chaudhry-rashad-57-usa).  Her "sin"?  She'd told him she wanted out of her arranged marriage.

The news reports and the police aren't calling it a dishonor killing, but that's what it is.  Arranged marriages and divorces are often triggers for them.

Here's an account of the crime, for those who are interested:


Police: Arranged Marriage Led Father to Kill Daughter
By S.A. Reid
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 6, 2008

A Clayton County man faces murder charges in the strangling death of his 25-year-old daughter early Sunday over her desire to end an arranged marriage.

Chaudhry Rashad, 54, apparently got mad during an argument in which the victim, Sandela Kanwal, told him she wanted out of the marriage, Clayton police officer Timothy Owens said.

Authorities were called to their Utah Drive home in Jonesboro just after 3 a.m. Sunday. Kanwal lived with her father when she was not with her husband, who is in Chicago, Owens said. She hadn't seen the husband in three months, he said.

Both Rashad and Kanwal are of Pakistani descent.

Rashad had a seizure shortly after the strangling and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, Owens said. He was in custody Sunday at the Clayton County jail and could make an initial court appearance Monday.

Owens said he was unaware if there had been any previous police calls to the home.

10 Comment count
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There are safer pursuits than the one your on. Hats off to you.

  • Ellen,

    Islam swaggers forth by intimidation. Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips might have decided as he did to insure that his head stays on his neck.

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    Dennis, I hesitated to post your comment because I was sure you couldn't have meant all Islam "swaggers forth by intimidation." I knew you probably meant specific, extremely zealous people on the radical fringes, but that's not what you said. As you know, Islam is a very old, very diverse religion with more than a billion faithful all over the world. Several Red Room authors and members are Muslims, and our goal in these conversations is never to offend any member of our community with gratuitous generalizations. For example, if you replaced "Islam" with "Judaism," that would be pretty insulting to our Jewish members, wouldn't it?


    Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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    thanks for posting my note to Ellen Shelley

    Huntington, I didn't mean to make a pest of myself, but I did want to praise Ellen for her noble endeavor. By publicly decrying  "honor-killing" to increase public awareness of it, she is standing at risk. Let's all wish her well.

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    Thanks, Dennis.Actually,

    Thanks, Dennis.

    Actually, though, these crimes are pre-Islamic and un-Islamic.  I view them as gross violations of basic human rights, rights that should be universal.

    Nonetheless, you are correct in noting that there is an awful lot of bullying, character assassination, intimidation, and worse directed at people who talk about, write about, work against (you get the idea) these crimes.  I was cruelly, distressingly reminded of it once again just today.  It would be a lot easier to give up or pander or retreat but, in this case, lives are at stake, so it matters to the at-risk people that some stand up and stay the course.  

    I hold the nasty, vicious individuals to direct account, not whatever their faith may or may not be.  They are responsible for their behavior.  No one is forcing them.  And, frankly, they are on the wrong side of this.  If they had a stronger case to make for their position, they wouldn't need to resort to the low tactics they use.

    Next time I'm talking with one of my British friends, I'll have to ask him for his read on the Archbishop of Canterbury's and the Chief Justice's positions.  My guess is that they are nearing retirement and just don't have much fight left in them.  :-)  But, gee, if that's the case, move aside and let someone else lead.

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    Feminism should laud you as one in its courageous vanguard.

    Your endeaver to shine a spotlight on honor-killing per Sharia Law in the hopes of stopping it is truly heroic because it is dangerous. And it will become evermore so as your success grows in drawing further attention to it.

    My advice would be to seek safety in numbers. Try to get more of the media involved: 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, the feminist leadership, college girls en masse. It will be difficult because of a tacit fear.

    You are a soldier in harm's way as surely as any of our military in Afghanistan today. And your course is leading you directly toward sainthood.

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    Thank you, Dennis

    Thank you, Dennis (blush).

    You are pretty much spot on about the dangers increasing with success.  (Pretend there's a ninja emoticon here.)

    To be fair, there are others working on this issue, but most of them, like me, are either unfunded or woefully underfunded.  As my late friend Pammy lay dying, she was writing a book for Melbourne University Press inquiring as to why the mainstream Western human/women's rights organizations are so deafeningly silent on this and similar issues.  In fact, that is how we met.  She sought me out and traveled from Australia to meet and interview me for the book.  But, alas (for so many reasons), she died two months ago, before the book was completed.  I'm hoping her publisher can spruce up whatever she submitted and publish the book posthumously.  It would be a lovely homage to her lifetime of advocacy. 

    Your advice to seek safety in numbers is very sound.  I am still resettling into Western life, so needing to catch up with everyone and everything I missed while I was living in the Middle East.  If/when I catch my breath, I will think about next steps.  Your suggestion about Ellen D. is great, for she, through no doing of her own, represents two of the most at-risk groups for these crimes. . .women and gays.  I am also thinking there are lessons to be learned from the gay community about organizationing and effecting international change on a massive scale in fairly short order (e.g., the AIDS crisis).  Also, a lot of people are pushing me to write a memoir about my experiences living in the region--the good, the bad, the ugly--and that is also a means to call attention to this issue for a Western audience.

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    A memoir of your time in the Middle East would be interesting and very informative. And It could lay a stronger basis for your mission of enlightenment re: honor-killings.

    They say free advice is worth every cent it costs you, but here is more. You might set yourself up as an "international clearinghouse" for such crimes. Start a website such as "international data bank for the tabulation and verification of honor killings." Shouldn't be too difficult to spread the word of its existence. (Be sure not to say "investigation of honor-killings.)

    But don't make it in your name alone. Get some women's group to front it for you. Invite people around the world to inform this data bank (not you specifically) of any such killings they learn of. Of course, all submissions would be treated anonymously.

    You might get a local paper to list the "alleged" instances of these murders weekly or monthly, i.e., "Women's group July data on world (or US) honor-killings."

    With this data bank in place, along with your writings, etc, you'd obtain easier entree into the talk show circuit, which will feed back on to your data bank fame.

    More publicity of this crime might well lower its incidence on the short term. Though it will do nothing to remove its sanction from the Koran or from Sharia Law.

    I can almost hear the souls of this victims crying out to you.

    Dennis Shay

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    Well, my only "mission" (if

    Well, my only "mission" (if it can even be called that) was to use my marketing skills to see whether executing a hearts and minds campaign in Jordan was worthwhile, and it turned out most people there already think the penalties for these crimes should be tougher, so designing and executing a professional-caliber marketing campaign would be mostly preaching to the choir.  I have long ago fulfilled my mission.  Everything else is gravy.

    There is already a really good site, run by a colleague of mine in the UK, doing pretty much what you propose:


    There is a lot of redundancy where working on this issue is concerned, but also some major, major gaps.  So I am very content to let the UK activists manage the Web site.

    I hear the souls, too. . .every day.  It's what motivates most of us who work in this area.

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    Thanks for stopping by

    Feel free to post hyperlinks (rather than URLs) in my comments when you visit.

    I read about this ridiculous "father" earlier today...more from the Pakistani version of the Religion of Peace.

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    Thanks, R. Warrior.  You

    Thanks, R. Warrior. 

    You know, I'm usually pretty technology proficient, but I haven't figured out how to post hyperlinks on this particular site, so that is why I've been posting the annoying URLs.  I see the little tree icon below, but when I click on it, no matter how much I diddle with the form, it's not giving me the outcome I want.  Duh!