Sisters Sarah and Amina Said
Sarah Said was beautiful, brilliant and just 17 years old on the night her father lured her and her equally gifted 18-year-old sister, Amina, into his taxicab with an offer of taking them out to dinner.
It was a sham.
“Oh my God, I’m dying!”
Sarah’s last words were recorded on a 911 emergency call after her dad, Yaser Said, allegedly pulled a gun on his own flesh and blood, pumping 11 bullets into the backs of their heads, then abandoning the cab, with his daughters inside, in a hotel parking lot.
But the most alarming facet of this savagery is that it was not committed in some Middle Eastern hellhole. Sarah and Amina Said are believed to be the victims of “honor killings” carried out not in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, but in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas. Yaser Said was said by an angry relative to have molested his American children, beaten them into near-submission and promised them in marriage to much older men in his native Egypt. They resisted, and it may have cost them their lives.
To the Irving Police Department, this was just another double homicide. “We are not giving any credence to honor, but approach it as capital murder,’’ said department spokesman James McLellan. “Whatever the motivation was, is for [Yaser Said] to explain. The end result is the same.”
But if US authorities put on blinders to the cause of these slayings, how will they ever be stopped? They won’t.
The murder a week ago in Pakistan of a 26-year-old social media star and model known as Qandeel Baloch, dubbed the country’s Kim Kardashian, shocked people the world over after her own brother, Muhammad Waseem, not only admitted to drugging and strangling his sister to death, but expressed not a lick of remorse.
“I am proud of what I did,” he said at a news conference arranged by police. “She was bringing dishonor to our family.” Local authorities say they won’t allow Waseem, who is Muslim, to escape through a legal loophole that allows honor killers to evade punishment if forgiven by other members of the victim’s family.
The United Nations pegged the number of honor killings worldwide at around 5,000 a year in 2000, although some experts contend that many go unreported. In the US, a study published last year by the Department of Justice quoted research estimating that between 23 and 27 honor killings — around one every two weeks — occur annually in this country. But there are no official statistics.
“In America, there is such fearfulness of talking about Muslim-on-Muslim crimes,” said Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., a New York City-based psychologist, author and fellow at the Middle East Forum.
While Hindus and Sikhs commit honor killings in India, it’s a dirty little secret that Muslims almost exclusively import the vicious practice to the West, said Chesler, who’s published four studies on honor crimes and is soon to put out a fifth. Butchery flourishes, she said, in “the Orwellian atmosphere I call the Obama era.
“This can’t be tolerated in the name of relativism, tolerance, anti-racism, diversity and political correctness.”
In the US, mainly women and girls face being killed by male relatives, sometimes aided and abetted by their own mothers, for bringing shame on their families, perhaps by dressing immodestly, dating non-Muslims or rejecting arranged marriages to men who might be old enough to be their fathers.
The Texas murders, committed late on New Year’s Day 2008, remain unsolved after the father vanished. His name remains on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Meanwhile, honor killings have continued stateside. They include the case of an Iraqi father convicted in Arizona of second-degree murder for mowing down his 20-year-old daughter with his vehicle in 2009 because she acted “too Westernized.’’
But don’t look for this outrage on a government honor-killing database. It doesn’t exist. I expect these awful crimes to continue spreading like cancer.