The FBI has removed the term "honor killing" from the wanted poster of an Egyptian man wanted for the murder of his two daughters in a move meant to appease American Muslims offended by the implicit link of such a crime with Islam.
According to family members and the FBI’s 'wanted' poster, the Egyptian cab driver Yasser Abdel Said was obliged to kill his 17 and 18-year-old daughters because of their immersion in Western lifestyle and their relationships with non-Muslim American men.
Honor killing controversy
On New Year's Day, Said took his daughters Amina and Sarah in his car, allegedly to buy food, then shot them dead and ran away. He has been at large for almost a year.
Prior to the change the 'wanted' sign read: "The 17- and 18-year-old girls were dating American boys, which was contrary to their father's rules of not dating non-Muslim boys. Reportedly, the girls were murdered due to an 'Honor Killing.'” The last sentenced was removed Tuesday.
Said's American wife held a Christian funeral for the two girls in Irving, Texas where the family lived. They were buried in a Muslim cemetery.
According to FBI files, Said married his wife when she was 15. They had an unhappy marriage, but she could not divorce him because he always threatened to kill the daughters.
Label is legal designation
Ahmad al-Akhras, vice chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told AlArabiya.net in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi that Said’s crime was like any other crime and there is no evidence that it was an honor crime since there had not been a trial to determine this.
“Only through investigation and questioning can the truth be discovered - whether he wanted to 'defend his honor' or for any other reason,” said Akhras “But the FBI is defining this crime as an honor crime before making sure of the kind of crime committed.”
"We are against all crimes whether it is honor killing or otherwise. And certainly we are against linking honor crimes to Islam,” he said. “Plus, this is very rare in the United States.”
He noted that (CAIR) has been involved in working with law enforcement agencies and presented them with educational material about Islam and Muslims.
In an interview with Fox News special agent Mark White, media coordinator in the bureau's Dallas office, said that the person who used term did not understand the misunderstanding it would create and that the FBI was not responsible for labeling crimes unless specified by law.
“It is inappropriate for us to create [a term] like that by labeling a case,” he was quoted as saying, noting that there is no legal definition of an honor killing.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)
The FBI is defining this crime as an honor crime before making sure of the kind of crime committed
Ahmad al-Akhras, CAIR vice chairman