Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sadly, he probably thinks he's a moderate 

The Jerusalem Post's Larry Derfner had a fantastic but troubling piece about honor killings in Israeli Arab communities. The article makes it clear that there is a range of viewpoints on the issue, ranging from crowds that will actually cheer the corpse of a murdered woman, to small groups who actively protest, and opinions somewhere in between:

'An Eastern man, an Arab man, is more sensitive about his self-respect than a Western man. A Western man acts from the head, an Eastern man acts from the heart, and some take the law into their own hands, even though this is wrong,' said Kneifes.

'Family honor,' he continued, 'this is close to God. For a man to raise a daughter and then murder her - he must have a very strong motivation. It's not something anyone does lightly. He must feel, from his point of view, that he is justified. And while I don't agree with him, I can understand him.'
Until there is no in-between that is acceptable between committing murder and condemning it, it's hard to imagine this culture's troubling violent tendencies correcting themselves.

A pattern of understanding murder because the murderer must have had a good reason for taking such extreme measure is a dangerous sign in a culture, and it is indeed a pattern. For instance, only a fraction of Palestinians slaughter Israeli Jews, yet their murderous terror is more commonly understood -- or even praised -- than condemned by majorities of fellow Palestinians and many Israeli Arabs as well according to polls (and election results).

I suspect Mr. Kneifes expects a pat on the back for his courageous stand against actually killing anyone himself. I hope he doesn't get it.
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