Forced Marriage / Honor Violence in the News

Shaima Alawadi, murdered in California in what was widely though to be a hate crime is now suspected to have been the victim of an honor killing.

If you don’t think forced marriage and honor-based violence are real problems in North America, recent news stories may surprise you.  This week alone, the following incidents were reported by the media:

  • In Arizona: Yusra Farhan was convicted and sentenced for tying her 20-year-old daughter to a bed with rope and a padlock and burning her face with a hot spoon when she refused to marry a man nearly 20 years her senior.  The girl’s father and sister were also arrested for their complicity.
  • In California:  Kassim Alhimidi was charged with the murder of his wife, Shaima Alawadi.  While police initially believed the case to be a hate crime, investigators uncovered the fact that Alhimidi had plans to send his daughter to Iraq to marry a cousin, and that Shaima intended to divorce him.  The case is now being characterized as an honor killing.
  •  In Toronto:  Peer Khairi was convicted of second-degree murder in the brutal stabbing death of his wife, Randjida.  The trial heard that the killing was honor-based:  Khairi was enraged over Randjida’s “disobedience” and her acceptance of their children’s Western attitudes to clothing and dating.
  • In Edmonton:  Muhammad Rafi and Najma Khokhar were arrested and charged with assaulting and forcibly confining their 21-year-old daughter after she refused to be taken abroad to submit to a forced marriage.

At the AHA Foundation, we know that reported incidents of honor violence and forced marriage represent just the tip of the iceberg.  Each year, untold numbers of young women and girls in the United States fall victim to these practices, and many more remain at risk of oppression and violence perpetrated in the name of religion and culture.

The AHA Foundation is dedicated to bringing these abuses to light, and protecting the women and girls at risk.  We are working tirelessly on initiatives that include:

  • Strengthening U.S. criminal laws to protect women from honor-based violence
  • Training law enforcement, educators and service providers on how to identify these issues and protect victims
  • Investigating the frequency of these crimes through data collection and research partnerships.
  • Developing the first-ever forced marriage hotline in the United States
  • Providing direct assistance and referrals to girls who contact us to avoid a forced marriage or escape honor violence.

To support these programs, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the AHA Foundation today, or purchasing one of our HONOUR products.  Your gift will go directly towards our crucial initiatives, and could help save the life of an at-risk woman or girl – before she becomes another headline.