The New York Times reported yesterday about a young, pregnant Pakistani woman who was beaten to death with bricks by her family in front of a crowded courthouse in Lahore. The woman, Farzana Parveen, 25, had married the man of her choice in defiance of her parents wishes that she marry a cousin they had selected. Details are sketchy about who, exactly, participated in the killing, but it is clear that none of the 30 or so men gathered around did anything to stop the beating.
The Times further made a profound effort to assure its readers about the cultural details of honor killings in Pakistan, in apparent defense of the practice. They also insisted on overtly distancing it from Islam, even though Pakistanis would certainly overwhelmingly disagree with that assessment. According to the Times:
Honor killings in Pakistan are often mistakenly described as the product of Islamic law. Some reports on Tuesday described Ms. Parveen as the victim of a stoning — an image that conjures up images of Taliban-era executions of women accused of adultery — because she had been beaten to death with bricks.
But such killings more frequently stem from tribal traditions or deep-rooted cultural norms. The independent Human Rights Commission reported that 869 women were stabbed, shot, beaten or burned to death in honor killings in Pakistan in 2013, usually at the hands of close family.