It is by now a familiar scenario for German police. The lifeless body of a teenaged Middle Eastern girl, missing since November. Discovered in a hidden spot with signs of a violent death. A suspected honor murder at the hand’s of the family, some of whose members were already in custody.
But this time the script is slightly different.
While most honor murders in Germany originate within the country’s four million strong Muslim community, the latest victim, Arzu O. from Remminghausen (German law does not allow for the release of the last name), 18, whose corpse was found last week, belonged to a little known Middle Eastern religious sect called Yazidism. And it is this sect’s adherents who are becoming better known recently for their part in the nightmarish phenomenon of honor killings in Germany. Already in 2003, the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, wrote:
More and more often, police must protect young women from the Yasidi faith community from their own relatives – and help them flee.
The Yazidis are Kurds who inhabit primarily northern Iraq but are also found in Syria and Turkey. Many Yazidis have immigrated to Germany where they form the second largest Yazidi community in the world, numbering an estimated 30,000 to 80,000, outside their home countries. Over the centuries, their religious beliefs have often put them at odds with their Muslim neighbours, who have at times cruelly discriminated against them, forcing them to convert on pain of death or sometimes just outright massacring them. Since Yazidis are not ‘People of the Book’ in the Koran, like the Jews and Christians, they were afforded no protection in Islamic lands.
Yazidi religious beliefs, like those of other religions, are complex. The Yazidis believe in one God, who created the world and left it under the care of seven angels. They don’t believe in the devil, since that would limit God’s power. Nevertheless, they have often mistakenly been called devil worshipers. Yazidism is described as being “syncretic,” influenced by Sufism and Iran’s pre-Islamic religion, Zoroastrianism. One also cannot convert to Yazidism; one is born into it.
But the problem Yazidism poses for young Yazidi women (and a few men) living in a modern Western state like Germany where freedom of choice and development of the individual are regarded as virtues is that they are not allowed to marry outside their religion. They are also not supposed to marry outside the three castes that make up their culture and usually wind up taking a cousin as a spouse. And like their Muslim neighbors, women are expected to be virgins when they marry.
“When a girl tries to marry outside the community, that is perceived not only as a dirtying of the family honor, but a break with the religion and the community,” wrote one German reporter.
Another reason Yazidis probably do not want their daughters to marry outside their religion is money. According to one report, the bride price for a Yazidi girl can cost a prospective groom and his family up to $ 80,000, “although the highest Yazidi spiritual leader…wants to limit the bride money to $5,000.” A woman marrying a non-Yazidi would probably add nothing to the family’s coffers.
Police believe Arzu’s breaking of these age-old religious restrictions is probably behind their gruesome discovery last week. Arzu, a high school student, had developed a forbidden love last summer with a 23-year-old apprentice baker, a non-Yazidi, at a bakery where she worked weekends. Her mother and older sister had also once worked there. But for wanting to determine her own life path, which includes selecting her own boyfriends like most normal teenagers do, this vibrant, young woman had to pay with her life.
Although the family, which originally came from Turkey, was described as “a shining example” of successful integration, they still acted out their archaic religious and cultural customs behind closed doors. Last August, Arzu’s family members tried to put a halt to her blossoming romance by giving her a beating, which got police attention. The assault only resulted, though, in Arzu’s fleeing the home for a women’s shelter, which alone is often reason enough for an honor killing. Once away from family control and observation, even for one night, it is suspected the girl may have lost her virginity.
“Every woman who flees the home is the object of an honor murder,” noted one German social worker. The Federal Crime Office (Germany’s FBI) registered 48 such homicides between 1996 and 2006 with a further 22 people surviving attempted honor killings.
Other reasons for honor killings, besides a loss of virginity, range from the female victim living too Western (re: independent) a lifestyle, to wanting a divorce, to fleeing either an abusive or an upcoming forced marriage. Conversion to another religion is sometimes punished by death as well as marrying or having a boyfriend outside one’s religion, race or ethnic group. Only with the blood sacrifice of a fellow human being do the murderers believe their family honor can be cleansed and restored.
A German paper reported that despite warnings from shelter workers, Arzu couldn’t bear the separation from her boyfriend and went to spend a night at his residence in November. His home, however, was only a kilometer and a half from her family home and was probably under observation. That night, her five brothers and sisters broke in, threatened the boyfriend with a gun before knocking him to the floor and kidnapping Arzu. That was the last time the young woman was seen alive. The police took the five into custody, one of whom, the oldest sister, works for the city administration.
While German police are still investigating Arzu’s murder, they are searching for another Yazidi honor killer, Ali Askar Hasso Barakat, a native of Iraq. In the name of “honor,” Barakat murdered his 13-year-old daughter, Sousan, last month with two shots to the head and one in the neck on an open street. The daughter had fled the family home for a youth shelter because of her father’s violence and was lured to an arranged, supervised meeting at a neutral site by a letter from her parents, in which, using touching language, they wanted to discuss the problems that existed between them.
“We are not judges and not police; we are your parents and would very much like to know how you are doing after six months,” they wrote.
But Sousan’s father had already judged her and planned to carry out the death sentence after the meeting. The reason? Sousan’s friends told a German newspaper the deceased simply wanted more freedom. The paper reported the father was offended that Sousan “instead of helping with the housework every day and taking care of her three younger brothers, wanted to take part in social life, to live as a German among Germans.” A woman’s living a Western lifestyle is all too often the pretext for an honor murder.
And Sousan appeared to be well on her way to becoming fully integrated into German society before her untimely death, if she wasn’t already. She was a member of a judo club as well as of the fire department and “liked to meet her friends after school.” Her mother is also being investigated for her daughter’s murder.
German police believe Sousan’s father is no longer in Germany. He may have had help in escaping as well as in procuring the murder weapon from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish terrorist organization fighting both the Turkish and Iranian governments for an independent Kurdistan. The outlawed PKK, which is well represented in Germany and other Western European countries, is also suspected of making life very difficult for Yazidi women on the run. Those women the police have helped are placed in the equivalent of an American witness protection program but are often found – and very quickly at that – through the European-wide PKK network.
One 16-year old Yazidi teenager, a German newspaper reports, caught kissing her Pakistani boyfriend by her brother, fled the family home that night, fearing an honor murder. She was on the run for at least five and a half years, living in several different cities and two other countries besides Germany, but was always discovered. Another brother has joined her in the program because he fell in love with a non-Yazidi woman.
Besides the PKK, the Yazidi clan chiefs also hire detectives to find these fear-filled women.
“The Yazidi clan chiefs seldom give up; they want to bring back, often with violence, the renegades – or simply take revenge,” the paper reported.
It was actually an honor murder that brought the Yazidis to world attention several years ago. A 17-year-old Yazidi girl, Du’a Khalil Aswad, was stoned to death in Iraq in 2007 and a shocking video of the murder sparked worldwide outrage. The girl’s crime? She had fallen in love with a Muslim boy.
One cannot speak of integration in Germany and other Western European countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already announced that multiculturalism is a failure. It has imported, and tolerated, barbarisms such as honor murders into Western societies, where, ironically, the victims are usually girls and women who want to integrate. The Yazidi families who killed Arzu and Sousan represent an anti-civilization who voluntarily self-segregate themselves in their communities from the host country’s culture and values. And since these anti-civilizational laws and values are the only ones respected in these communities, and fear and respect of German laws are non-existent, then the horror of honor murders is in Germany to stay.
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To get the whole story on why the Left is in league with honor murderers from adversary cultures and turns a callous blind eye to the female victims, watch Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov’s speech in March 2011 to the San Fernando Chapter Valley Chapter for Act! for America: