“Honor” Killings in Texas?

There are news reports of the “honor killings” in Texas of two adolescent girls by their father:

Area police continue to search for a man who they believe killed his two teenage daughters and left their bodies in a taxi at an Irving hotel.

Police sealed off a street and surrounded the man’s home in Lewisville for more than five hours Wednesday but found that Yaser Abdel Said, 50, a cabdriver, was not inside.

He is being sought in connection with the deaths of Amina Yaser Said, 18, and Sarah Yaser Said, 17.

Both victims died of multiple gunshot wounds, the Dallas County medical examiner’s office ruled Wednesday…

Most of the reports I’ve read focus on the names and ages of the father and daughters. I wasn’t going to report on it, but I realized this is just going to be labeled another Islamic “honor killing” – which hardly does the tragedy the justice it deserves.

If you look at the picture on My Space you can see two cute teenagers mugging for the camera. This is a snapshot of girls who have assimilated to American culture.

Mr. Said’s picture in the news reports shows a Middle East native, a guy driving a cab in the Dallas area. In fact, he killed his daughters in his cab. No doubt it came as a total surprise, but you know there must have been months of arguments and disagreements between father and daughters.

No mother is mentioned. Just an empty house and an “armed and dangerous individual.” No context, no information beyond the two deaths…
– – – – – – – –
There is lots of outrage to go around on this, but I can’t go there anymore. It’s not Islamic, it’s tribal. Not too long ago, this was going on in European countries, too – especially Catholic ones. A girl’s “honor” came before everything else.

So this family moves to a new country – Texas is definitely “new” if you’re not a native – and the kids assimilate but how about the grown-ups? They’re out there making a living while the kids are rapidly trying to fit in, to belong. Generational clashes are inevitable, especially in immigrant families.

However, this kind of behavior is not new to Texas. The legislature may have taken the law off the books by now but not too long ago, the killing of wives caught in the act of adultery was a “crime of passion“ that was dealt with more leniently than other kinds of murder:

crime of passion n. a defendant’s excuse for committing a crime due to sudden anger or heartbreak, in order to eliminate the element of “premeditation.” This usually arises in murder or attempted murder cases, when a spouse or sweetheart finds his/her “beloved” having sexual intercourse with another and shoots or stabs one or both of the coupled pair. To make this claim the defendant must have acted immediately upon the rise of passion, without the time for contemplation or allowing for “a cooling of the blood.” It is sometimes called the “Law of Texas” since juries in that state are supposedly lenient to cuckolded lovers who wreak their own vengeance. The benefit of eliminating premeditation is to lessen the provable homicide to manslaughter with no death penalty and limited prison terms. An emotionally charged jury may even acquit the impassioned defendant.

In other words, this is not Islam…or it is not just Muslims who murder family members. This is not “instant jihad”; it’s a family tragedy.

I found one reference (scroll down) on the web to a song I used to hear on the radio as I got ready for school. The lyrics didn’t mean anything to me then; just a bouncing country tune while I ate breakfast:

Slap her down again, Pa… Slap her down again…
Make her tell us more, Pa… Tell us where she’s been…
Oh how they slapped, slapped, slapped my sister Betsy…
Slapped her on the chin…
Make her tell us more, Pa… Tell us where she’s been.

And that was America in the early ‘50’s.

We don’t have too much room to judge on this one.

42 thoughts on ““Honor” Killings in Texas?

  1. Honor killing are not crimes of passion. A woman’s behaviour affects the honor of her father’s family, not her husband’s. Additionally, not what she does that matters, but rather what is said about her. This means that while growing up, a girl constantly has to worry about any rumors that might surface about her, or she might have her own family turn against her. She will not help from her brothers, her parents, or anybody else. Even after she’s married – if she’s in trouble, she can’t turn to her family, as they’re likely to murder her, rather than help her.

    You compare this to a song about a father hitting a girl.. I think most girls who risk an honor killing would gladly live in Texas of the 50’s.

  2. Pardon me, Ma’am, but I reckon that down that way, the term “honor killing” isn’t the preferred terminolgy.

    “Homicide” or “Capital Murder” is the Politically Correct term.

    Thankee for your attention, and much obliged.

  3. The more I learn about this case, the more it appears to be a dishonor killing. And they occur more commonly in Europe than they so far have in the United States.

    Esther, you are correct that crimes of passion and dishonor killings are different phenomena.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

  4. It sounds like you’re saying that Catholics use to do honor killings?


    Just an unclear phrase, I hope? Either that, or you’re REALLY going to have to give some outstanding backing.

    BTW, that song you quote– it’s a bunch of idiot city folk who were making rather ignorant assumptions of those dang hicks in the sticks. It’s not a record of actual goings-on, let alone culturally supported ones. Mr. Lileks has written a lot about the “hillbilly fad” of the 50s and 60s. It shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than “Beverly Hillbillies.”

  5. Catholics being compared to this crap? Sounds like dhimmi behaviour to me. Had my doubts about this site..
    something not quite right…

  6. I politely disagree with your analysis Dymphna, most of the murders committed by Muslims in the name of defending one’s own or a family’s sense of honor, is very premeditated. The offending individual is usually “invited” to repent of one’s errant ways before finally falling victim to either the husband, father, brother or uncle.

    Murder of spouses for whatever reason is not an uncommon tragic occurrence, and will forever be a part of our societies. The criminalization of these murders as well as their successful prosecution, along with the negative stigmatization that accompanies such heinous crimes, is what seperates the two phenomenons, called “crimes of passion and honour murders”

    The two should never be conflated.

  7. And the Toronto teen recently killed for her refusal to wear a hijab is just everyday ordinary domestic violence also?


    I strongly disagree with the attempt to equate this to just another case of everyday ordinary domestic violence. We must have grown up in completely different American subcultures as the such beatings are completely beyond the pale and unacceptable in my world. The lyrics of a twisted country song are hardly representative of American or Texas values. In fact, all the Americans I know would find them as abhorrent and grounds for ostracism and condemnation. First degree murder for the motive of honor has absolutely no basis for moral equivalence in Western Civilization.

    I feel my blood pressure rising the more I think of this. I’d better stop now. I’m getting angry.

    I truly hope this post’s lapse in moral clarity is only temporary.

  8. Wow. Just Wow.

    As someone who’s related to an entire county of hicks from the sticks of Oklahoma, I can say with certainty not one of them was ever brutally beaten, or murdered, in a dishonor killing or crime of passion.

    So I have no actual evidence that proves your assumptions on this one, D.

  9. Whatever the state of our culture a century ago, or whenever, I think it has to be pointed out quite firmly that there is no sanction for “honour” murder in the christian scriptures, or in christian juris prudence. The various old testament sanctions of death against immorality were repudiated by the new testament, by which time most of these punishments had already begun to die out anyway.

    Western society has never considered that the sins of the child to reflect on the parent without consideration, in that we do not presume to judge their actions without first judging ourselves. Arab society has no equivalent, no questioning of the personal moral responsibility for a child’s behaviour beyond “they dishonoured me”.

    I would say that this is a sense of humility permeating western society, that we are willing to examine our behaviour in light of the behaviour of our offspring. This is greatly influence by Christianity, but also by various other cultural factors. It is rare – and notable, therefore – for a western parent to punish their children without self-examination. Arab society has produced no similar behaviour, or mitigates against it by placing a great deal of store on the Arabic idea of honour. Self-examination is an admission of a lack of this honour in some indefinable way, as it would be an admission that the child’s “sin” might be caused by the actions of the parent.

    That has to be borne in mind when comparing cultures. There are many instances of parental abuse of wayward children, completely with institutionalised abuse in the form of work houses for unmarried pregnant girls back in the way, but it is not and never should be said to stem from the same source. It is an aberration in our societies, against the societal norm. It is institutional in Arabi-influenced societies.

  10. Ellen R. Sheeley,

    I would not be extremely surprised, as it seems that most immigrants to Europe come from the more rural, traditional areas.

    Do US authorities follow up on ‘honor murders’, or do they just go into the statistics as ‘domestic violence’? What about suicides in immigrant communities where such things are accepted? Only recently did (some) European countries start categorizing and studying honor murders, and only recently they have become aware of the extent of the problem.

    Btw, there was another suspected ‘honor murder’ in Illinois this week.

  11. You wrote: “We don’t have too much room to judge on this one.”
    SPEAK FOR YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    I have PLENTY of room to judge a 7-th century mysoginistic death cult spawned by Mohammed the Antichrist.

    You really should stop justifying Islamic behavior by STRETCHING and REACHING for a way to say the muslim world is equal to the modern world.


  12. Dymphna,

    Perhaps your worst post ever. Utterly deplorable moral equivalency crap that I would expect from LGF or some other such apologist site. Dhimmitude at its worst coming from the one site I depend on religiously to provide me with bare fisted, no holds barred unvarnished TRUTH about the Islamic animals and make no mistake: this guy was an ANIMAL, a sub-human odious creature. And to compare this maggot to US?! And to further compound your sin you state that we are no better?!

    I would suggest you have the Barron proofread your posts for awhile until you get back on track.

  13. This is where these Islamists discover that they should leave the U.S. asap. They think they can pull their 12th century Islamobullshite here and get away with it like they do in Europe and Canada.

    This “father” won’t get away with it here, especially in Texas. It makes no difference how many Islamolawyers, members of CAIR and Islamoloving libtard protesters come to Texas to try to save this fool. They are going to discover that if they try to pull the LLL Kumbayah “this is part of their culture and religion” defense for this “father” they are going to find out that in Texas if you commit murder you get the death penalty. That is the law here.

    He will be convicted of capital murder. He will get a one way ticket to Huntsville. He will try to appeal but all will be rejected. He will be executed and there will be a three ring media circus at the execution because Islamists and the LLL allies are stupid.

  14. Charles Martel —

    I would suggest you have the Barron proofread your posts for awhile until you get back on track.

    If you think I try to exercise control over the content of my wife’s posts, then you are mistaken. I am not that foolish. It’s not the first time she has posted things I don’t agree with.

    I did proofread this particular post, as I often do to help her. I said, “Boy, you’re going to catch a lot of s**t for this one.” And I was right.

  15. We don’t have too much room to judge on this one.

    Maybe you don’t, and that’s too bad you’ve lost your moral compass on this one.

    But I have plenty of room to pass judgement. And I’m about pass that judgement as a Texan.

    Here’s the relevant passage:

    Both victims died of multiple gunshot wounds, the Dallas County medical examiner’s office ruled Wednesday

    That’s no crime of passion. That’s murder, pure and simple. Want to make a wager that the bastard emptied his weapon into them?

    I have to agree with Charles the Hammer, this is one of your poorer posts.

    Not too long ago, this was going on in European countries, too – especially Catholic ones

    Really? committing murder? I always thought they opted for sending their daughters to convents to become nuns instead of just killing them for honor. Or arranging the traditional shotgun wedding. As my dear Catholic mother reminds me, the first child can come at any time, the second one always takes 9 months.

    You have some…citations for widespred honor killings by Catholic fathers, or is it just proof by assertion?

  16. Whats missing from this discussion is that western criminal law has always graded homicide by the level of intent or type of conduct that resulted in the victims death. Most if not all jurisdiciton have 1st, 2nd degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The Texas treatment of socalled crimes of passion is part of this and is entirely mainstream. Even without that statute the fact that the accused acted while finding his spouse flagranti delicto would be admissable as a mittigating factor. As a longtime reader of this blog I am confused and disappointed by the offered idea that our jurisprudence is somehow comparable to sharia law.

  17. I get it, though it took a while. You are living the life of multiculturalism for a day just as police recruits must experience tear gas for their work, or the white reporter dyed himself black back in the day to live the life. Very brave, no doubt, but that’s also a bit like telling one’s children you are a serial killer to see how they would handle it. We posters are not happy.
    I had to remember that half the population of Texas in 1950 were not married to their first cousins, as Muslims prefer. That was West Virginia; and they were not married, they were only dating. I’ll take West Virginia over Muslimistan anytime, add mustard and pickles and hold the honor.
    Anyway, even when we must stoop to pick up good news, if we believe in assimilation it’s a sign of progress that Muslims are killing their daughters in America.
    OK, you can come out now, Dympha.

  18. I am a sixty year old Texan. I question your knowledge of how things are or once were, here. Perhaps you should back away from the television.

  19. Michael Malkin Has this up:

    “The girls were well-liked and made good grades at Lewisville High School. Their father was strict and rarely let them spend time with friends. When Sarah, 17, recently met a boy at her job, she told a friend that her father would kill her if he found out.

    Friends are now rethinking the way they understood that turn of phrase.”

    I want to say that though I have a strong difference of opinion with Dymphna about her post, it’s wise and crucial that the focus remains on the reasons why for those differences, and not on the person his/herself.

    I have had plenty of people disagreeing with some of my posts, and usually the only ones I’ve managed to learn from, are the ones who take time to explain why I was wrong.

  20. Having been a Catholic for all of my life, this is the first I’ve heard of “Catholic honor killings.” Googling the term doesn’t turn up much beyond your own “comments.” Would you expand on this a bit for us? Thanks.

  21. Hi LGF! I thought you people were ignoring li’l ol’ GoV here…

    Dymphna, I am curious why you made this post. I’ve read it again and I can’t really see how you came to the conclusions you did given the evidence presented. My previous comments stand; there is no equivalence. Can you clarify the position a little?

  22. I’m gonna have to agree with the Darth guy on this one.
    As I do my pre-Ph.D work on renaissance/medieval Italian (specifically catholic) History, I find your assertions to be totally unfounded.
    Women who had “dishonored” the family were typically sent to convent’s for the remainder of their lives. That or they were excommunicated by the church, and exiled from their family.
    Not only that, in most of those cases it was merely that those girl’s had been CAUGHT. A vast majority of people were doing “dishonorable” things, and were never chastised, much less murdered.
    To try and equate such things is idiotic. You have no basis whatsoever for your claims.

  23. This is definitely a family tragedy. I do not know if it is instant jihad or not; I do not know how “honor killings” however one might define them, or want to define them; were handled in the 1950’s, and I would argue that it does not matter: that this is not how we would want to treat them today.

    The appropriate place for persons who commit such crimes as descibed in the post is jail. We can quibble about definitions and history afterwards.

  24. In other words, this is not Islam…or it is not just Muslims who murder family members. This is not “instant jihad”; it’s a family tragedy.
    Cool. Like, I mean, if I’d whacked the Wicked Bitch way back when, ya know, I’d be like, OUT by now. And you’d understand? Cool. Wanna go out Saturday night?

  25. Comparisons, even to other supposed “honor” killings, are not appropriate. The intense aversion to shame or humiliation in Islamic cultures far exceeds that of any other modern societies. Perhaps a comparison might be made to feudal Japan where shame was grounds for suicide but that represents an individual taking their own life and not that of others. Even in the rare case of a Japanese parent killing their child because of failing a university admission test, the parent usually takes their own life as well.

    Islamic “honor” killings are fairly unique. They are a pinnacle example of how Muslims constantly displace blame upon others for personal failings. This abject refusal to take responsibility is epitomized by their catchphrase, “insha’allah” (it is God’s will). Such preordination is the foundation for a monumental collective sense of victimhood which Muslims play upon with consummate expertise. Anybody who doubts this need only examine the Palestinian people for a pluperfect case of victim mentality writ large.

    The only good that can come of this tragedy is that it happened in Texas. Premeditated multiple murders, which is the case here, are most often rewarded with unusually swift execution, something that Yaser Abdel Said richly deserves. I am reminded of the words of General Sir Charles Napier regarding the Hindu practice of suttee:

    ”You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

    Yaser Abdel Said is about to discover that Islamic customs are not quite so universal as he thought they were.

  26. Murdering your daughters in cold blood in the back of your taxi cab is in no way, shape or form related in the slightest to a purported crime of passion. A crime of passion is, in essence, a crime of the moment, such as barging in on your spouse and a stranger in your bed and shooting one or both of them. Were you to shoot your spouse and said stranger in the back of your car after taking them for a Sunday drive, there’s absolutely no way you could shoehorn that set of facts into being a crime of passion.

    As has been stated before by many others, your attempt to equate this to any previous Christian practice is dishonest and counterfactual. At no time was the killing of women to protect their family’s honor ever espoused by any Christian sect of any importance whatsoever. I don’t know where you’re intending to go with that line of reasoning, but I’d suggest you back up and try again.

    Lastly, to address a previous poster, to say that such a line of thinking would be found at LGF is astounding. This was a vile crime, committed by a vile man in the furtherence of a vile ideology that is a threat to everyone and everything.

  27. I disagree with poster puppetslave above. Dymphna doesn’t hate America, just us Texans. 🙂

    Actually, the “sudden passion” law is still on the books. (Texas law codes are on the web. Click here for the Penal Code, and read Chapter 19.) Of course, the law says nothing in particular about adultery, and merely reduces the possible prision sentence for murder from 5-99 years to 2-20 years. (Capital murder, punichable by death or life without parole, requires special circumstances.) There is no reason to make any connection between this law and honor killings.

  28. Even Esther disagrees. Esther who actually prefers Shaira and honour killings before Europe, as we used to know it, since she’s convinced that any real action taken against demographic Jihad must necessarily lead to ethnic cleansing of Jews, gas chambers, Nazism revival etc. So she prefers living under Sharia.

    I wonder if Esther would ever take a real stand for anything in her life, or if it’s just this empty babbling, void of effect, while Europe changes into Sharia. But then again, if she would ever take any real action it would surely be against the people who do something effective against the Islamization. So many people are eager to protect the Muslims. Esther seriously thinks that protecting the Muslims is the way to protect the Jews. Poor little confused girl! She seems to be beyond any sort of help.

    Read her hate spewing deranged delusions here

  29. I have several angles from which I’d like to comment on Dymphna’s article too. But I abstain this time, since much has already been said. I focus my energy on the “rare” cases which other people seem to forget.

    However, as a meta-comment, I’d like to say this: The readers essentially gave Dymphna an F- for this post. The thread in its entirety (post+comments) shows the following:

    1) It shows so very clearly how GoV is definitely not an echo chamber. Try to imagine these kind of comments criticizing Charles so strongly at LGF! Just a single one(*). Not to mention 90% of the comments…

    2) If the quality of the posts go down, the quality of the comments go up, so the overall quality of this blog stays intact. GoV is a wonderful blog with many wonderfully unique properties.

    (*) You would get, by CJ, what I call instantaneous free speech. I.e. speak, get deleted and immediately banned. Signed, sealed and delivered; all at once.

  30. I don’t know about the “F-” for this post, I’m tempted to give it a “B+”, not because I agree with the post, but because it is thought-provoking and have taken up the issue of “moral equivalence” that is prevailing in the general public. And the responses to this have been mostly very thoughtful, and constructive in how to counter this kind of bias without resorting to a shouting match.

    Whether this was the aim of Dymphna I have no idea, but I think the overall result of posting this have been a positive experience, hence the “B+”.

  31. It feels like you’ve offended some Texans…

    I’m from Dallas-
    I happened upon the stand-off while driving to an appointment. I found out what it was about later. I have to say that killing is killing no matter what and in that aspect I agree with you. I just think that each culture has it’s own excuse. No one can judge… only our own higher powers.

  32. Eff: “I have to say that killing is killing no matter what and in that aspect I agree with you. I just think that each culture has it’s own excuse. No one can judge… only our own higher powers.”

    So Texans cannot judge concerning the many cases of executions by the Islamic Republic of Iran, ’cause you have the death penalty too, right?

    Only higher powers can judge (I guess in this case Allah).

    The moral equivalence of my first paragraph is often brought up by “post-modern” Europeans. I guess that if the cold-blooded execution of a Muslima because she’s been raped (and therefore lost her virginity and therefore has no value whatsoever, only negative) can be compared with a crime of passion (that has nothing to do with execution, virginity or cold-blooded), then a death sentence in Texas is morally equivalent to a death sentence in Iran. Killing is killing no matter what, right?

    This is a good exercise actually. We know these things are not morally equivalent, but how can it be explained to post-modern Teflon minds? Start with the death penalties in the US and Iran. It should be the easiest one. The issue of why Julius Caesar actions cannot be referred to as “attempted annihilation” also belong to this category. And the usual issue of how killing in warfare is referred to as “murder” by propagandists.

  33. Baron you are a wise man in regards to your wife’s post.

    Assuming the murderer hasn’t skipped the country, he won’t spend long on death row. Texas has, or it did, a “fast lane” on death row. It eliminated a lot of the appeals procedures that prolonged the carrying out of death sentences. The main concern for me is the cost for security in Huntsville once ol’ Said is strapped to the gurney. There will be plenty of protesters of the sentence and supporters of the sentence. Could get ugly on the outside. Still, the button will be pushed and he will receive his just punishment. Thank God Texas doesn’t fall under the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

  34. Wow ConSwede, you really are ready for the attack the second anyone posts something you disagree with.

    Dymphna–I for one am happy that you made this connection, it is one I’ve been stressing for months and much like a mail I wrote yesterday on this subject. No Americans seem to be terribly upset over the cultural barriers between Indian immigrants to the U.S. and their more assimilated children in today’s world, and that clash can also sport a few murders as well.

    This tendency against letting children assimilate was present in many Catholic families when new to this country, and much stronger even amongst certain Orthodox Christian groups as well, including many Arab Orthodox immigrants (think Lebanese, Syrian, those “dhimmis” normally supported by commenters here right up to the moment when they want to get into Western countries with their ‘strange’ ways).

    There is an equivalence to what happened in many a Greek Orthodox family as well as many Catholic immigrant families. Why shame Dymphna for telling the truth about it? One can still love this country, even with the “warts and all” caveat. Are the rest of you suggesting that certain groups can never assimilate or that (by your particular standards) they shouldn’t be allowed to?

    It seems odd that anyone would want to be so alike in views to people like this
    or the more modern rantings of this

  35. It has been distressing to see Dymphna get flamed over this, for I am aware of a dolorous aspect of her personal history that makes her perception of it more understandable. The other day, in a moment of idle curiosity, I read the first post ever made at GoV in October 2004 – and in a comment she made, learned of the death of her daughter by a previous marriage, a death in which abuse in childhood was apparently a factor. Her view of the Texas atrocity is accordingly not the result of multiculturalism, dhimmitude or moral relativism but of cruel experience – experience that is as foreign to most of us as Arabic script. While I don’t entirely agree with her contention that “We don’t have too much room to judge on this one,” she is undeserving of either my scorn or yours. Lay off.

  36. This tendency against letting children assimilate was present in many Catholic families when new to this country, and much stronger even amongst certain Orthodox Christian groups as well, including many Arab Orthodox immigrants (think Lebanese, Syrian, those “dhimmis” normally supported by commenters here right up to the moment when they want to get into Western countries with their ‘strange’ ways).

    There is an equivalence to what happened in many a Greek Orthodox family as well as many Catholic immigrant families. Why shame Dymphna for telling the truth about it? One can still love this country, even with the “warts and all” caveat. Are the rest of you suggesting that certain groups can never assimilate or that (by your particular standards) they shouldn’t be allowed to?

    And what do the countries of Greece, Lebanon, and Southern Europe have in common there, Mr. Lex?

    Hint: they were/are all “enriched” by Muslim occupation. I don’t see any Christian honor killing traditions in Northern European cultures where Islam never set foot — until very recently.

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