Honour violence is a terrible crime. I noted here that it needs to be discussed openly, not brushed aside because of any misplaced sensitivities. But if some sections of the media shy away from the topic, others more than make up for this omission.
As reported by Tabloid Watch, the Mail has changed a headline which gave a wildly inaccurate account of a survey into British Asian attitudes towards honour violence. It claimed that more than two thirds of British Muslims believe that honour violence is acceptable. This is completely misleading – in fact only 6% of British Muslims assented to this proposition:
In certain circumstances, it can be right to physically punish a female member of the family if she brings dishonour to her family or community.
A slightly larger proportion of Asian Christians, 8%, agreed.
The ‘two thirds’ claim was not plucked quite out of thin air. It was prompted by the fact that 69% of respondents believed people should live according to the code of ‘izzat, or honour. But, clearly, most of these people do not think this code should be enforced using violence.
There are some apparent inconsistencies when other responses are scrutinised. When faced with specific scenarios, a greater proportion of respondents imply they think these might justify violence. But, once again, this increase is identifiable among other religious groups as well as Muslims.
I think something about the way these more specific questions were framed might have encouraged respondents to acknowledge all scenarios which might be perceived to justify violence, rather than those which they personally felt might justify such a response. But, even if the higher figures are taken at face value, rather than the 6% response to the rather clearer question, the Mail’s original report was still a real slur on British Muslims.
*To quote Dan and Dan