Nine Years for Murder

April 13, 2006

A Turkish man was sentenced to nine years in prison today in Germany for murdering his sister because her "western" way of life dishonored the Islamic ways of the family.   Specifically, the victim Hatun Sürücü, who was born and raised in Germany but who was forced to marry a cousin in Turkey in 1998, refused to return to Turkey after the birth of her son in Germany in 1999.   She moved out of her parents’ apartment in Berlin and got an education as an electrical technician.   So her younger brother, who was 18 years old at the time of the crime on February 7, 2005, shot her several times in the head in the middle of the street to defend his family’s Islamic honor.  He premeditated the crime for months.  So he was sentenced by a German court to nine years in prison.

And yet the Germans view America as barbaric because such a murderer would likely face the death penalty if a crime of that nature were committed in this country.

A Member of the European Parliament belonging to the Green party aptly criticized the judgment by pointing out that it only encourages such Islamic "honor killings" to be performed by the youngest members of the family because they will face such light punishment:

„Wenn man weiß, daß solche Mordurteile im Familienrat gefällt werden und der Jüngste ausgesucht wird, weil man bei ihm das geringste Strafmaß erwartet, dann sendet dieses Urteil das falsche Signal in die Gesellschaft.“

There is so much wrong with this that it is difficult to know where to start.  To begin with, can justice possibly be served with such a sentence in this case?  Also, does Islam condone such honor killings or not?  If it does, what is society to do about it?  (And this is to say nothing of the forced marriage to her cousin.)