Honor Killing; A Mother’s Lunacy
Bruce S. Ticker
Members of the People-Who-Pity-the-Poor-Palestinians Club would probably
grasp 13-year-old Rofayda Qaoud and draw her to their bosom if they knew
what happened to her.
I hope they would, except that Rofayda’s mother did not give them the
Rofayda was raped by her two brothers and impregnated in the West Bank
town of Abu Qash, outside Ramallah. I suppose that advocates for the
Palestinians would have been aghast. It’s bad enough that Israel
brutally oppresses the poor child; now this. Of course, they would
conveniently ignore the fact that her brothers are Palestinians
When this incident was reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer last
Friday (November 21), I mentally contrasted how American society would
have responded to Rofayda’s victimization as opposed to what the
Palestinians did about it. Some of you can guess where this is leading.
Her brothers, who are much older, 22 and 20 years old, are now serving
minimum 10-year sentences in a jail in Jericho for statutory rape of a
relative, prosecutor Yousef Tarifi told the Inquirer.
So far, so good. We would jail them, too.
American families would also react differently. The backward families
would be in denial and treat it like it never happened. More advanced
families would do what they can to help her. She would likely be getting
In the Qaoud family’s circle, relatives and friends would not talk to
them. Rofayda’s older sisters’ husbands would not let them visit.
Her mother, Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud, recalled, â€œI had to protect my
children. This is the only way I could protect my family’s honor.
So, on the night of January 27, the mother of nine entered Rofayda’s
room armed with a plastic bag, a razor and a wooden stick and told her,
“Tonight you die, Rofayda.”
As the child pleaded, “No, mother, no,” Qaoud wrapped the bag
tightly around her sixth-born child’s head and sliced her wrists. She
struck the child on the head with the stick after she went limp.
An honor killing is no rarity in the Arab world, where women are
punished if a female’s reputation for virtue and virginity are
perceived as sullied. One apparent difference here is that it is a
female relative who killed her. Usually, it is a male relative who is
called upon to commit an honor killing.
I would not paint with a broad brush, claiming all Arabs conduct
themselves this way. In fact, some Palestinians who feared this might
occur sought to prevent it, according to the Inquirer article.
However, honor killings in the Arab world have been frequently
documented in major newspapers. Queen Rania of Jordan has made it a
priority to end honor killings in her country.
With this kind of tradition, how would a Palestinian state deal with
The mother turned herself in and was released pending the resolution of
her case after four months. The prosecutor said she is likely to be
sentenced to three to five years in prison, because her effort to
protect her family’s honor mitigates the crime of premeditated murder,
which carries a death sentence.
You can’t be too harsh with them for that. It sounds like their
version of an insanity defense.
However, no issue is made of the fact that she still lives with her
three youngest children, who are at home. Here, child-welfare
authorities would be on the case and a family court judge might order
the kids into foster care.
The reaction of her 9-year-old daughter, Fatima, to all this: “My
mother did this because she does not want us to be punished by people. I
love my mother much more now than before.”
Smart girl, if she thinks she had better say that.
Bruce S. Ticker
Arutz Sheva News Service