BUBBA responds to possible “Honor Killing” in Dallas

What a trip the past two weeks have been? The last week of December as well as the first week of January is usually dead without much going on in the socio-political world I work in. In fact I looked forward to two weeks of unwinding time from the stresses of convention-filled December, reading and reviewing my New Year’s resolutions for 2008. Last week I found myself being called into the office for a TV interview playing the role of “Terrorism Expert” to break down what the Bhutto assassination meant for American Counter-Terrorism efforts in ‘08, and this week in my hometown we had a father “seemingly” lose his mind over his daughters’ social behavior and decided to murder them. No rest for the weary I guess.

I’ve been going back and forth the past two months trying to decide how to approach my first blog posting on MuslimMatters.org, but in the end a voicemail (Lovely Voicemail left at F&J about Islam and Honor Killings) I heard yesterday made that decision for me. While at the first Muslim Cemetery in the Dallas area attending the burial ceremony for the two slain teenage daughters of an obviously psychologically troubled member of the community, I received an email on my Blackberry notifying me of a new voicemail on the F&J line. When I got into my car, I dialed in and listened to the voicemail delivered from an “Average White Guy” that I think qualifies to be called a “Bubba” from here on in.

Now in my line of work, I’ve received everything over the years up to death threats and never really take this kind of stuff seriously because from my perspective there are talkers and there are doers. If someone’s going to do something retarded, they don’t really talk about it – simple as that. Plus most of the grassroots anger with Muslim community activism is culturally or politically driven from the bottom up anyhow. What I really found interesting in this voicemail was the guy’s professionalism in calling us as Muslims out for not speaking publicly to condemn “honor killing” and calling for the “reform of Islam” as he put it. In closing he nicely asked us to leave his country if we didn’t agree with him.

Ooh poor “Average White Guy” and ooh poor “Texas”. Where’s the reactionary action-oriented bigotry that we grew up watching in old black and white films like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or something? Even when he wants to be ugly and nasty, “Bubba” is docile. Bubba’s lost his “independent” streak and is just simply overwhelmed. He can’t seem to handle all the “threats to his way of life” being fed to him day in and day out. As Rush Limbaugh said last Friday in a debate with his callers, he learned a long-time ago that you can’t separate people from their emotions with logical argument. You can only replace a feeling with another feeling. What that means for Muslims is to recognize that many Evangelical leaders have replaced the deep fear that 9/11 unleashed amongst millions of their followers with vitriolic hate for Islam. We aren’t going to change these folk’s Islamophobia with arguments, but must figure how to replace their Islamophobia with a different “feeling”. Watching the current Presidential campaigns tells me that “patriotism” is the trump card, but then the question arises are American Muslims capable of sounding “nationalistic”???

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29 responses to “BUBBA responds to possible “Honor Killing” in Dallas”

  1. Anon Muslim says:

    What’s sad is somehow a crazed man who murder’s is daughters is somehow a representative of Islam.

    When exactly did this psychologically disturbed murderer get voted to have his actions represent over a 1 billion Muslims?

    Listening to the recording, I can’t help but wonder if this guy was beating the drum and telling all the minorities he knew that white people weren’t racist murderers after James Byrd Jr. was dragged behind a pickup to a his death by three white males. I’m sure “Bubba” was on the front lines in that battle.

  2. ERS says:

    To one with a highly experienced eye, it is obvious the murders of the beautiful Said sisters of suburban Dallas were dishonor killings.

    The brother isn’t necessarily denying this when he says the murders had nothing to do with Islam. He is offering a very nuanced response, because dishonor killings actually pre-date Islam and have more to do with culture than faith.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

  3. SrAnonymous says:

    A new contributor to muslim matters? Welcome!

  4. UAS says:

    “but then the question arises are American Muslims capable of sounding “nationalistic”???”

    1.5 minutes of al-Hajj, Malik al-Shabazz
    http://www.socallib.org/SCLWebSite/programs/soundsofjustice/ac_023.1.mp3

    It was done before; perhaps we need a new ‘Malcolm X’ figure to arouse all of the American Muslims.

    bringin’ Malcolm X ‘feelings’ back

  5. DrM says:

    No doubt this “bubba” character is in need of reform with a baseball bat. I doubt inbred hillbilly butter hogs care about Muslim woman. The only reason this story is receiving this sort of attention is because it involves Muslims. This is the same replay of what happened in Canada with the murder of 16 year old Aqsa Pervez. The media reported that her father killed her b/c she wouldn’t wear hijab. Turns out her older sisters don’t wear it either, but did the media report that? They’re going to build this up to ban hijab and put the life of sisters in danger by further promoting the “poor and oppressed” stereotype.
    Sorry but I’m not playing their game, neither should the Muslims scramble like reactionaries every time something beyond our control happens. No need to lockstep to “assure” those who mean us no good. Wait for the facts to be presented in a court of law instead of submitting to this lynch mob mentality.
    Based on my keen powers of observation, knowledge and political impartiality(come on, just play along), I declare this an honor crime, buffet and everything. I blame his race, religion for this, or this is just an example of domestic violence? Now imagine if the killer here was a Muslim, wonder how the coverage would be then. Anybody else, care to take a STAB at it?
    There are no such thing as “honor crimes.” Call it what it is : domestic violence/ crimes of passion and possession. Just because it happens in a different country or culture doesn’t make it exotically endemic. Everyday in this country, woman and children are abused and killed by fathers, boyfriends, husbands etc…how about we start profiling them and call their actions “honor crimes”?
    Was Chris Benoit a Muslim? What about the guy in Texas who killed and ate his own girlfriend because she left him? If idiots and narrow minded scum don’t get it, its their problem, not ours.

  6. Asalaamu alaikum, DrM. I agree with you wholeheartedly that these incidents are domestic violence incidents – which may derive from a certain cultural mindset but occur across all national, racial, religious boundaries and have far more to do with the psychological make-up of the killer than where he comes from. A violent domineering man is violent and domineering no matter where he comes from or what religion he claims to practice.

  7. disagree says:

    I don’t completely agree that “honor killing” of daughters or wives are the same kind of crime as your “standard” domestic violence attack or murder. Those are usually perpetrated by an estranged boyfriend or husband. So-called “honor killings” are frequently planned and conducted by several family members, often uncles or brothers along with the father. Whole families have gotten in the act in Germany, Pakistan and Jordan. Domestic violence is almost always committed by the one man, there’s no wider family assistance or approval. You can say it’s pre-Islamic custom all you want, but the fact is that these murders of young women are largely conducted within Muslim communities, with an occasional honor killing done in Hindu or Druze communities. Sorry, Muslim women are the main victims of these sort of killings. Denial that it has anything to do with Islamic culture seems willfully blind, and it won’t help stop the murders.

  8. but the fact is that these murders of young women are largely conducted within Muslim communities, with an occasional honor killing done in Hindu or Druze communities. Sorry, Muslim women are the main victims of these sort of killings.

    evidence?

  9. DrM says:

    “Disagree” is using the same old refuted straw man arguments. This is the standard modus operanti of self-proclaimed experts on Islam and Muslims. The reason he wont compare these sort of crimes is because that would destroy the myth that “honor killings” are a Muslim-centric crime.
    Get over yourself, its a crime of passion and possession. Is it because you want to paint a minority that already suffers from prejudice in an especially wicked light? Or is it simply a case of incompetence, and that you are incapable of presenting an accurate picture of the violence suffered by women.

  10. nadia says:

    This case is really bothering me and mainly its the Muslim communities reaction. So defensive.

    I have a question about the funeral. Whose idea was it to give them a Muslim funeral? Did you allow the non-Muslim family to speak, were they welcomed in the Masjid? Because according to the girls non-Muslim aunt they didn’t want a Muslim funeral. That it was the brothers idea. This also leads to the suspicion that the brother was in on the killing.

  11. DrM says:

    Got any sources, Nadia? The brother is guilty is because his sisters were buried according to Muslim custom? Perhaps because the girls were Muslims? Who is this non-Muslim aunt who knows so much about how two teenagers choice of burial?
    In fact how many teenagers have their final rites figured out? One conspiracy theory after another. The level of stupidity, misinformation and sheer malice coming from you people is beyond belief.

  12. nadia says:

    Well, I was writing to the person who wrote this article since she was at the funeral. The aunt has been quoted on various websites.

    Also, there was a history of abuse in their family. Speaking from experience, I highly doubt those girls were Muslim. Being Muslim is not like being jewish, its not an ethnic group.

    So you don’t care about those girls. Can you imagine being an American who doesn’t know any Muslims which is the majority of Americans and seeing those beautiful girls being murdered because they wanted to be American. How do you think you would feel?

  13. awake says:

    In Islam, where does religious influence end and cultural normative influence begin?

    From the Dallas newspaper this morning it was reported that the father was angry the girls were dating non-Muslims. That seems like religious influence to me.

    Although patriarchal dominanace is normative in almost all societies, dominance over spouse and children, there is nothing specific religiously that calls out for or condones the father’s behavior. This could be considered cultural I guess.

    It is neither cultural nor religious based. It is both, as the two are intertwined, unless you believe that the line between Islam and cultural tradition in clear.

  14. unless you believe that the line between Islam and cultural tradition in clear.

    Anyone with knowledge of the religion of Islam knows that the line is extremely clear. Cultural practices that do not contradict Islamic principles are acceptable in Islam. Thus, an honor killing, which is a cultural practice that lies in stark contradiction to Islamic principles, is unequivocally condemned in Islam.

  15. esmat says:

    eeh, again this honour killing stuff..but, if we would draw a line.. i found a website saying that girls were killed because of dating non-moslims.. looks ugly.

    again.. you are repeating that honours killings are so common, can you give me a link of “honour killing” father-daughters commited in the West by some Christian of Arabic descent? I think if it is really cultural, there would be some clue..
    We are too swift to allow violence against women.. do you remember this awful article in Yemen Times ..
    http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1117&p=community&a=6
    especially i dislike this part of the article
    *Fathers are responsible for their daughters’ behavior, but human rights organizations deny this too. Brothers also should take action regarding their sisters’ behavior, especially if their parents are too old or dead. If a daughter or sister makes a mistake – especially a moral one – that negatively affects the entire family and its reputation, what’s the solution by such organizations?
    *
    what for crap it is? how can a moslem write such thing? according to this author, women are not individualities, but mere problematic parts of families.. and in case of making a mistake – even alleged one – brothers and fathers are not standing with their sisters/daughers, but willingly hearing all the possible gossips.. even malevolous one.. and beating and even killing their womenfolk.. there is somethink sick in the whole ummah… really really sick..
    because – let´s take this Dallas story – letś imagine the father with “Yemen Times article ” mindset, hearing mere gossips about probably date of one of his daughters with a non muslim.. and that may be outcome..
    killing innocents for mere gossips..
    awful
    Esmaat

  16. awake says:

    Ahmad AlFarsi wrote:

    “Anyone with knowledge of the religion of Islam knows that the line is extremely clear. Cultural practices that do not contradict Islamic principles are acceptable in Islam.”

    The logic behind that statement is irrefutable, but it is simplistic in nature.

    The issues here specifically, dating, dating non-Muslims, being a believer, falling into disbelief, the penalty of falling into disbelief, etc is what is not completely clear. The father’s perception of his actions being Islamic or not is what matters.

  17. DrM says:

    Don’t patronize me, Nadia. You don’t give a rat’s behind about these girls. I know how this crocodile tear routine works. I asked you for sources, not hearsay or unnamed websites. And what magical “experience” gives you ability to discern the religion of these girls?
    What are you, some sort of amateur detective? Don’t be disingenuous and insult the intelligence of others by claiming they were killed because “they wanted to be American.” Clearly you live in a cartoon like reality. I wonder how “American” that Texan who just killed and ate his girlfirend was(she left him for another man), oh but I forget he isn’t Muslim so his religion and race is irrelevant.
    You people are absolute scum, using the murder of 2 girls to promote your own divisive anti-Muslim agenda.

  18. Muslimah says:

    It’s interesting Bubba ends his call with “thank you” – as though it somehow makes up for his profane and bigoted diatribe.

  19. Muslimah says:

    ^^ I’m speculating here but it might be because it’s soo ingrained in him to remember his please and thank yous
    — as it is now ingrained that Muslims are a threat to his American identity and culture.

    I imagine Hamada is right in positing the need for Muslims to supplant Islamophobic feelings for those in favour of Muslims, tolerance, or a diverse America.

    The very fact that Bubba calls for Muslims to denounce the alleged honour killing might indicate how far-removed Bubba is from interaction with mainstream Muslims – which might mean local Muslims need to step-up their da’wah efforts or non-Muslims are purposefully isolate themselves from Muslim (almost a catch-22).

  20. Nadia says:

    Well not sure what you are talking about. I am Muslim who is familiar with that community. I also grew up with a distant Muslim father who didn’t take anytime to really be a parent or teach Islam but wanted to get angry when his kids behaved as other Americans did, as teenagers. So, yeah, I have some experience.

    And you can google yourself the aunts name is Gail Gartrell.

    Your behavior is what I think of when I think of Muslim men. Perpetually angry, rude, intimidated by any woman who may disagree with you, a bully. I know this is a generalization as I do know good Muslim men but from my experience and a lot of my friends who grew up in the west there is more than a grain of truth to it.

  21. awake says:

    I see DrM makes friends and allies here at this valuable site with consistent irregularity as well.

  22. DrM says:

    It clear to me Nadia that you have issues of your own which prevent you from analyzing a situation like this with impartiality. I don’t care what experience you had with your father, that doesn’t you any special “insight” into this particular tragedy. Nor do you have information to determine the religion of the girls and how close they were with their brother and/or aunt.
    As for your diatribe on Muslims men, its obvious you have some caricatured pre-conditioning. Not that it matters or anything. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m hardly intimidated by uninformed sexist idiots with a chip on their shoulder, I just have a profound dislike of liars, charlatans, and rabble rousers trying to gain currency from this situation.
    Grow up already.

  23. RG says:

    Way to avoid the question at hand!

  24. ME says:

    Wow, so Im a bit late, but I’d like to add this.

    I knew Amina and Sarah personally. We went to a MUSLIM private school in Ft Worth for 2 years before everyone split up as the school stops at the 8th grade, though we still chatted here and there. Sub7anAllah, I actually saw them at a park about 3 months before this happened.
    I was making wudu’ when I got a text about their deaths.
    La hawla wa la quwwata illa billaah. Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji3oon.
    The story is way more complex than “dating non-Muslim boys”. And of course her non-Muslim family would like to blame it on Islam and the Arab father, undoubtedly giving the media a field day. Only Allaah knows what happened. This doesn’t mean what the father did was right. Astaghfirullaah, he had no right to pass judgement upon them, only Allaah has that right.
    Like I said, only bits and pieces of information were leaked to the media and very few people know all the events that led to his meltdown. That being said, no one will ever know the precise story. I’ll leave it at that.

  25. Gail Gartrell says:

    Me and others!

    I am Gail Gartrell, the great aunt to Sarah and Amina! You and I both know why Yasser killed these girls and yet, you do not stand by the girls? No, Yasser was not crazy! He started torturing them when he sexually abused them as just children. Please DO NOT try to make this sound better than the truth! The truth is that Amina did not want to embrace her Muslim ways! She wanted to be her own person! Sarah, simply wanted the freedom to be herself! THIS desire to be free is what got them killed! They were part American too, you know!

    To the rest of you! Yasser is not a man who “lost it.” He is very radical and supports sharia law! Plain and simple! Now, deal with the truth and stop trying to cover for those who implement murder as a form of punishment!
    Gail

  26. Amad says:

    Ok Gail, I guess sexually abusing children is part of Shariah too, and Yasser was just following the principles?? The fact that you point this out and then go on a tangent about the girls wanting “freedom” just goes to show your own prejudices.

    No one is covering up murder or trying to defend anyone who commits a heinous crime. But to pin the responsibility on Sharia (and I am 99% sure you couldn’t even explain the meaning and implications of Sharia if you had to) is equivalent to blaming all Christians for the actions of a few nut-jobs (like these ones).

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