Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Update - Muslims Persecute Christian Minority

An update from the previous post with more information from IsraelInsider.com :

It began as yet another "honor killing," common in the Arab world: a young woman was poisoned, allegedly by her family, over an extramarital affair. But this was had an inter-religious twist.

She was a Muslim, he was a Christian, and 13 of his relatives' homes were burned down by an angry mob, all Muslims from the dead woman's clan.

The roots of the fatal feud lie in a love affair.

Hiyam Ajaj, 30, worked in a sewing shop in the mostly Christian village of Taibeh. She fell in love with her boss, Mehdi Khouriyeh, and for two years they had an affair. About six months ago, she got pregnant, and several days ago, her family found out.

On Thursday morning, the young woman was found dead.

Her family said she was raped but nonetheless welcomed her death -- which they claimed was suicide -- as a just punishment. They defended the raid on Taibeh, aimed at houses of her lover's relatives.

But was the attack religiously motivated?

Some Christians in Taibeh, mostly the young men in the Khouriyye clan, say it was.

"The people of Deir Jreer are known to be racists," said Suleiman Khouriyye, a cousin of Mehdi, weeping and pointing to his burned home. "They did this because we're Christians. They did this because we are the weaker ones."

Malek Khouriyye, Suleiman's father, scolded his son for the sectarian
claims, saying they are not true.

"We've been living together for decades and we've never had a problem," said Malek, sitting at a friend's house surrounded by his three sons and their wives, all of them now homeless.

"These are just some backward troublesome elements in society that are
trying to create a problem between Christians and Muslims," he said.

Last year, more than 30 women are known to have been killed in the name of family honor in the West Bank and Gaza.

However, women's rights groups say it is hard to count the actual number of "honor killings" in the Palestinian territories or in any other male-dominated Arab societies where the practice of killing women for having sex outside marriage, dating, simply talking to men or even for being raped, is still practiced.

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