Ahmad O. stabbed his sister more than 20 times because the 16-year-old girl didn't live her life according to his values. Women's rights advocate Seyran Ates is now calling for German society to intensify its efforts to stop honor killings. […] [Morsal O.] was murdered on Friday, May 9. Her 23-year-old brother Ahmad, with the help of a cousin, lured her to a parking lot near a subway station in the German port city of Hamburg under a false pretense and stabbed her 20 times with a knife. […]
"Maybe he did it out of love," Moral's cousin Mujda said, when asked why Ahmad stabbed his sister that night. Mudja O. gave an extensive interview to SPIEGEL TV following the crime, discussing the stabbing and her cousin's possible motives for the killing. "We spoke to him and he told us, 'My sisters are my life. She should be put away before anything happens to her. The last sentence that we heard from him was that he loved his sister." […]
Ahmad thought it was his duty to take care of his sister. He observed what she was doing closely. He was worried, his cousin says. If he couldn’t keep an eye on her, he had some other member of the extended family do it for him. Cousins, second cousins, uncles and aunts, the network of relations was tightknit – and big. […]
According a United Nations report, around 5,000 women fall victim to "honor killings" around the world each year. The true figure, however, is most likely much higher. Between January 1996 and July 2005, 55 honor killings were reported to the police in Germany alone. Yet it is difficult to record the crime because there is no official police definition. […]
Ates says that those who carry out honor killings should also be considered victims. "The men are one part of a system," she says. "A 23-year-old man is driven to brutally stab his sister to death. But he was not born a murder. We have to reflect on what pushed him so far." […]
If a girl turns away from her family, then it is vitally important that she is given protection and that someone accompanies her if she contacts her family. […] Nevertheless, many young women, including Morsal, repeatedly reestablish contact with their families, despite warnings that they shouldn't. "They hope that their families will at some point accept their lifestyle," said the Papatya counseler. […] "They still want to be a part of things," says lawyer Ates. "Many have a very positive sense of the family which they have grown up with. At home they seek security and love. But reconciling a Western lifestyle with closeness to the family is a huge feat to accomplish." Morsal also knew that she was in danger – and she met with her brother and cousin anyway.