A friend sent me this article and it just made me so unhappy.
The article appeared in the Calgary Sun:
For two months, over the thunder of machines at the steel mill, the men taunted Mubeen Rajhu about his sister. Even now, they laugh at how easy it was to make him lose his temper.
Some people had seen Tasleem in their Lahore slum with a Christian man. She was 18, a good Muslim girl, out in public with a man. Even though the man had converted to Islam out of love for her, this couldn’t be allowed.
“Some guys got to know that his sister was having a relationship,” says Ali Raza, a co-worker at the mill. “They would say: ’Can’t you do anything? What is the matter with you? You are not a man.”’
Raza can barely contain a smile as he talks about the hours spent needling Rajhu.
“He used to tell us, ’If you don’t stop, I will kill myself. Stop!”’ Raza says.
He raises his voice to compete with the sounds of the coal-powered mill, and workers blackened by its dust gather to listen. They too smile. A few laugh at the memory of Rajhu’s outbursts.
“The guys here told him, ’It would be better to kill your sister. It is better than letting her have this relationship,”’ Raza says.
Rajhu told them he had bought a pistol, and one day in August he stopped coming to work.
Rajhu discovered that his sister had defied the family and married the Christian. For six days he paced. His rage grew. How could she?
He watched her laughing on the phone, ignoring their mother’s pleas to leave the man.
On the seventh day, he retrieved the pistol from where he had hidden it and walked up to his sister and with one bullet to the head, he killed her.
Killed her? He murdered a defenseless woman. This is the exact opposite of what a brother should do for a sister. Instead, he should use force to protect her from evil – not bring the evil himself.
But what was interesting was how everyone accepted it:
In the vast majority of cases, the “honour” killer is a man and the victim is a woman.
She is a sister who falls in love with a man not of her family’s choosing. She is a daughter who refuses to agree to an arranged marriage, sometimes to a man old enough to be her father. She is a wife who can no longer stay in an abusive marriage and divorces her husband.
He is a brother, like Rajhu, who cannot bear the taunts of other men brought up as he was, believing that women are subservient and must be kept in the shadows, their worth often measured by the number of sons they can produce. He is a neighbour, like Raza at the plant, who doesn’t think his friend did anything wrong in taking his sister’s life. He is a father, like Tasleem’s, who is angry about her killing not because she is dead, but because her death will reveal her “shame” to other members of the family and beyond.
The father says some terrible things about the daughter, and is completely oblivious to looking at things from her perspective.
In some places, it really is very difficult to be a Christian:
The man Tasleem married, Jehangir, fled the night she was killed. The gate to his home, barely a block from Tasleem’s, is padlocked. But the fallout from his love for Tasleem has engulfed the members of the small Christian community living in the area.
Earlier this month, just weeks after the killing, gunmen fired shots into their homes. No one was hurt, but no one has slept well since. In this majority Muslim country, Christians make up barely 5% of the population and in recent years have come under increasing attack by militants, who insist all non-Muslims are unbelievers. Yet Pakistan’s minorities, including Christians, are protected in the country’s constitution.
“We have been scared since the killing took place,” says a neighbour, Shahzia Masih, sitting in a small room decorated with pictures of Jesus and Mary. “There are just a few houses of Christians here, but we have nowhere else to go.”
I suppose that since I am tough on women choosing good men, someone might ask me what I would do if my sister married an atheist. Answer: I have a longstanding policy of always putting my relationships with Christians above family members who aren’t interested in Christianity. I naturally prefer to do things with people who don’t shush me when I want to be myself and speak about the beliefs that matter to me. I’m fine with people who let me be myself, family or non-family. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me. All I ask is that if they want a relationship with me, that they not stifle me. I have atheists cousins that I play online games with, but they don’t shush me about my beliefs and moral views at all. My atheist aunt and uncle know that they can get me to do things if they let me talk about the things I care about. But they don’t have to agree with me, of course. Because they don’t believe what I believe. I like to say what I think, but I don’t want anyone to be scared into agreeing with me. I’m different from Islam and the secular left in that respect. You believe what you want, but let me believe what I want if you want me to be your friend. Surprising how many Muslims and progressives won’t take that deal.
I am pretty confident in Christianity as a worldview in the sense that I believe that if people put reason and evidence first, then they will arrive at Christianity. It doesn’t make any sense to try to coerce people into it… Jesus is the Son of God, and he had all the power in the world to coerce. He wasn’t willing to do it, not even to save his own life when he took on the form of a man in order to meet with his creatures and rescue them. That means something to me. You just have to read Philippians 2 to see that this unwillingness to use power, but to instead serve others, is at the core of Christian teaching.