The AP published a story today titled Muslim TV Exec Accused of Beheading Wife in NY.

Muzzammil (“Mo”) and Aasiya Hassan had started a television station together called Bridges TV that they intended as a vehicle to develop understanding between non-Muslim Americans and the greater Muslim world.

It now appears that Mo beheaded Aasiya after she filed for divorce. It seems that they had a rocky and at times violent relationship.

I will leave aside the unfortunate choice to include the word “Muslim” in the title as the modifier for the suspected murderer, as it seems to serve no purpose other than draw a broad connection between domestic violence and Islam.

This crime is shocking. The viciousness of beheading one’s partner…. unspeakable.

So when NOW put out a statement about the matter (do they put out a statement about every intimate-partner murder?), why did they focus on the evils of Islam instead of the evils of domestic violence, which transcend religion?

Here’s part of what they said:

NOW New York State is horrified that Erie County DA, Frank A. SeditaII, has referred to this ghastly crime as “the worst form of domestic violence possible.” The ridiculous juxtaposition of “domestic” and “beheading” in the same journalistic breath points up the inherent weakness of the whole “domestic violence” lexicon.

…This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing’, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men. Are we now so respectful of the Muslim’s religion that we soft-peddle atrocities committed in it’s name?

WTF NOW? In other parts of the press release, they cry out against media silencing of crimes against Muslim women, as evidenced by this case. Which is now a top AP story. Additionally, it seems as though the American press and mainstream American feminist orgs have spent plenty of time letting us all know how anti-woman Islam is, and have been vigilant to point out any abuse. Which has played well into conservative’s “Culture War” storyline.

But the outrage that this is reported as domestic violence? I don’t get it. Isn’t that what so-called “honor killing” is, relatives killing relatives? That sounds domestic.

Allow me to examine the second paragraph piece by piece.

“This was, apparently, a terroristic version…”

Nice way to bring “terrorism” into the discussion as the victim and murderer are both Muslim. Coincidence, I’m sure.

“…of ‘honor killing’…”

What exactly is their definition of “honor killing”? Any intimate-partner/relative murder between Muslims? Otherwise, how is this different from a wife-murder by a non-Muslim man?

“…a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.”

Unlike “our” non-Muslim partner-murders and other forms of non-Muslim domestic violence, which are totally not based on cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.

“Are we now so respectful of the Muslim’s religion that we soft-peddle atrocities committed in it’s name?”

Ummmmm….. NOW, are you so disrespectful of Islam that you want crimes committed by Muslims given different names than those committed by “normal” people? I also like the jump to the conclusion that this murder was carried out in the name of Islam. Evidence? The husband was Muslim! QED.

3 thoughts on “WTF NOW?

  1. I think the reason the used that headline is that the guy was an exec at a islamic focused television station. A station that was focused on improving perceptions of Muslims in America. So I don’t think the MSM was too off base on this one. But linking it to honor killings is a bit of a stretch. I think the most problematic part of that assessment is that it fails to take into account one of the most relevant and the most troubling aspects of honor killings. That is their sanction by the broader community in which the killing takes place.

  2. On your first point, you would have a case if the MSM didn’t have a well-documented history of unnecessarily and inappropriately including the adjective “Muslim” in their headlines. They don’t get any benefit of the doubt from me for that reason.

    On your second point, good call. I think that’s why I was asking in my post how exactly NOW is defining honor killings when this sounds indistinguishable from a partner-murder… the only difference that makes this an ‘honor killing’ and not DV appears to be that the couple was Muslim.

  3. Ridiculous. I was just raging about totally unnecessary modifiers yesterday while watching a FRONTLINE doc on PTSD. The narrator said something along the lines of “Sergeant Smith experienced tremors, cold sweats, and blackouts after seeing a dead and mutilated Iraqi.” Now, this is not the most egregious example, but the Sergeant saw a dead person who presumably was a citizen of Iraq and there was really no reason to make that distinction. As you have rightly pointed out many times on this blog, words matter.
    Anyway, back to the big issue at hand. Maybe someone needs to send NOW the following articles:
    Biblical Battered Wife Syndrome: Christian Women and Domestic Violence by Kathryn Joyce
    God’s Batterers: When Religion Subordinates Women, Violence Follows by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
    Stereotypes Mustn’t Hide the Facts of Domestic Violence by Suzanne E. Tomkins

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