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for Fred F.

Reader comment on item: The Middle East's Tribal Affliction
in response to reader comment: Questions About the Book

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Jan 28, 2008 at 11:46

Islam isn't the only religion or tradition that sanctions honor killings. Read Kazantzakis' _The Greek Passion_ and you will note how in the run-up to the Cretan fight for independence, Greek Orthodox fathers on that island sharpened their knives in case they had to kill their children to keep them from being raped by Muslims. In traditional China, a violated woman was expected to commit suicide (cf., the suicide of Lucretia in ancient Rome after being violated by Tarquin's son). In Judaism, suicide to avoid forced conversion was considered honorable, and dignified with the name kiddush ha-shem (sanctification of the name).

Put yourself in the shoes of the menfolk of a violated woman. If continuing your line is the most important thing, do you really want to be the one responsible for raising the bastard child of a possibly hostile lineage? I'm not trying to justify the practice, but there is a "rationale" to the thing, distasteful as it may seem to many of us.

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