Councillor Salma Yaqoob Condemns ‘honour Killings’ to Pakistani Consulate

Respect Councillor Salma Yaqoob has written to the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham expressing her outrage at the brutal murder of three women, and two of their relatives who tried to defend them, in a so-called ‘honour killing’. She is urging the Pakistani government to bring the perpetrators to justice and also to take urgent steps to strengthen laws preventing violence against women.

In a case that has shocked the world, 3 women were kidnapped and apparently buried alive as punishment for wanting to marry husbands of their choice. Although Pakistan’s Senate has called for action to be taken against those responsible, the killings were defended by a Senator and the acting Chair of the Senate in the name of ‘tribal customs’.

Councillor Yaqoob said:

“These horrifying murders bring shame on Pakistan. People of Pakistani heritage in Birmingham are shocked that it has taken months for this case to come to light, and outraged that some senior political figures in Pakistan have sought to justify such killings. The murders highlight the most brutal
side of the oppression endured by many Pakistani women. This murderous oppression cannot be dignified by reference to ‘honour’, and has nothing in common with the Islamic faith. Such barbaric tribal customs should be challenged robustly, not re-inforced. The rights of women to choose to marry or not, and to marry a partner of their choice, is fundamental. British-Pakistani women stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters in Pakistan in demanding the government of Pakistan enforces laws to protect women’s rights.”

This is the text of Salma’s letter.

Mr. Arif Mahmood
Consulate of Pakistan
2/26, Constitution Hill
Birmingham B19 3HL

Dear Mr Mahmood

I am writing to express my shock and horror at the reported murder of 3 women, apparently buried alive in Balochistan in a so-called ‘honour killing’. This horrifying case has brought shame on Pakistan, and many people in Birmingham of Pakistani origin are deeply concerned about this case and the damage it does to the reputation of all Pakistanis.

I am aware that action is finally being taken to bring the perpetrators to justice, but I was dismayed to hear that two Senators had sought to justify such brutality.

I would be grateful if you would convey to the Pakistani government the strong feelings of Pakistanis in Birmingham about this issue, and our desire that urgent steps are taken to strengthen laws preventing violence against women.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Salma Yaqoob

Birmingham Council House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B1 1BB

21 comments on “Councillor Salma Yaqoob Condemns ‘honour Killings’ to Pakistani Consulate

  1. I’m glad that Respect have spoken out against honour killings and stabbing gay people recently. This progress is welcome.

  2. This barbarism goes on in Britain, yet almost no politician will say a word about it for fear of being accused of racism, cultural insensitivity and Eurocentrism.

    Even leaving aside the issue of so-called ‘honour killings’, women from certain communities are regularly abused, beaten and treated like chattels. It can’t go on.

  3. SAMREEN on said:

    Its great that as a British Pakistani that Salma is standing shoulder to shoulder with her sisters in Pakistan, how about standing shoulder to shoulder with her sisters and brothers in the uk?

  4. Halshall on said:

    Violence and abuse in the family are commonplace and generalised to all communities.
    It’s usually unseen, behind closed doors and can be truly awful in it’s consequences, not least in very often being passed on as learned behaviour to the next generation.

    Most murders are committed in the family by relatives, and that’s a pattern that has existed for as long as the stats tell us and no doubt long before, in all
    It truly part of the darker side of human family existence.

    Perhaps part of the solution is to raise questions about the negative features of families, both extended and nuclear and provide alternatives. By no means easy of course.

  5. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “I’m glad that Respect have spoken out against honour killings and stabbing gay people recently. This progress is welcome.”

    Is hanging gay Iranians still OK?

  6. salvador allende on said:

    #5 Grow up Dustin… Neither Salma Yacqoob nor anyone else in Respect have argued in favour of “hanging gay iranians”.
    #3 SAMREEN what do you mean?
    #4 Halshall I agree entirely… and one of the extremely brave things that Salma Yaqoob and Birmingham Respect is tackling is the nature of the abuse of power inside family structures which create horrendous acts like the ‘honour’ killings in Pakistan and the act of Christopher Foster in killing his wife and child and destroying all the families posessions before killing himself. There is no other promient public figure that is prepared to raise these issues.

  7. martin ohr on said:

    “There is no other promient public figure that is prepared to raise these issues.” Well when the MP for Keighley raises these she is rountinely denounced as an islamophobe

  8. David Rosenberg on said:

    Re Dustin’s question – I don’t recall Salma Yacoob ever making any comments about how the Iranian regime treats gays – but her fellow Respect leader Gorgeous George certainly has, such as when he stated, apparently without any foundation, that the gay lover of an Iranian asylum seeker was being hanged by the Iranian regime for “sex crimes”. (that may have been the regime’s claim but what was George’s evidence?)

    When he was heckled about this appalling statement at an anti-war rally a few days later, instead of retracting he turned on his hecklers saying: “the khaki war machine now has its pink contingent”, thereby adding insult to injury.

    Salma Yacoob has a consistent record on human rights issues. Can’t say the same for apologists for Islamist regimes, such as Galloway and Yvonne Ridley

    Ed, in comment 1, says that Salma’s view is progress as regards Respect. I will agree when I hear GG and Ridley make similar statements consistently and convincingly.

  9. Well when the MP for Keighley raises these she is rountinely denounced as an islamophobe

    Nope, she’s an islamaphobe as she perpetuates a false myth (along with the nazis and searchlight) that there is a particular problem with muslim men in the area that sees them ‘grooming’ young white girls for sex. which is bollocks.

  10. martin ohr on said:

    #11 Dave, I don’t think that Cryer ever referred to the men involved as being muslims as such. In my experience Cryer was much respected locally among all sections of the community for tackling issues without prejudice. In fact the reform islam movement recently named her “Parliament’s greatest campaigner against honour-violence” adding ‘Since becoming an MP in 1997, she has campaigned tirelessly – and often in the face of opposition from local male “community leaders” – to raise awareness of issues such as forced marriage, domestic violence and honour-killing. ‘

  11. Dr Paul on said:

    ‘Honour killings’, forced marriages, all those sorts of barbaric things, are not in and of themselves Islamic or of any particular religion, but are products of pre-capitalist societies. You will find that peasant societies, be they Christian, Muslim, Hindu or whatever, in which ownership or use of land is central to family life, and in which the marrying of sons and daughters is arranged according to the needs of land use or ownership, are where such practices are considered as normal.

    To protest against such peasant barbarities is not being anti-Muslim. Any Muslim, Christian, Hindu, etc, etc, who wishes to live in a modern, civilised world would condemn such practices, as Salma Yaqoob has done.

  12. She [Ann Cryer} said: “The family and cultural norms of their community means they are expected to marry a first cousin or other relative back in a village in Mirapur or wherever the family comes from. Therefore, until that marriage is arranged they look out for sex.

    “At the point in their lives when they are ready for this sort of activity, Asians cannot go to Asian girls because it would be a terrible breach of the honour of the community and their family to have sex with an Asian girl before marriage.” She said that the reason Asian men targeted very young white girls was because older white girls knew that a relationship with an Asian youth was unlikely to last as the community would seek an arranged marriage with someone from the Asian sub- continent. Police and groups campaigning to protect women insisted that the grooming of youngsters is not segregated along race lines, though there is concern at the attitudes of some young Asian men towards white girls.

    Parents claim that criminal networks are able to prey on young girls because the authorities are reluctant to tackle the issue for fear of upsetting race relations in areas of the North West with large ethnic minority communities.

    However, Ms Cryer added: “I think there is a problem with the view Asian men generally have about white women. Their view about white women is generally fairly low. They do not seem to understand that there are white girls as moral and as good as Asian girls.”

  13. MoreMediaNonsense on said:

    Quite right Martin – she doesn’t mention Islam at all. She must be just a common or garden racist Labour MP then. Perhaps she’s a Blairite as well.

    Do you people ever discuss anything else apart from who is or isn’t a “racist”, an “anti-Semite” or an “Islamophobe” ?

    When will you get it into your heads that criticising a religion or a culture is not a sin ?

  14. Yes what happened in pakistan was bad, but why dosent she(salma yaqoob) do this for the women suffering in this country? i’l tell you? she does not want to upset the muslim community here? remember its on the back of the muslim community that she wins her election. a true polition? her aim is to become an MP thats it

  15. i was one of the white girls that was targeted, i was young and vounerible in a childrens home, where 2 asian men were paying an older girl that lived in the same home to take girls out with them, i was drugged and wraped. i live in keighley and i am more than aware of the way that asian men think towards white women, but i have asian friends who have great respect for me and vice versa,they are not all the same. youre right abou tone thing, they do prey on young girls, but not because they cant get it with asian girls, they are worse than some of us! but the white girls round here that live on the estates etc are not well enough looked after, sllowed to do what they want. fast cars and drugs interest them, and they have nobody to tell them its not right. asians keep there problems behind closed doors, have u ever seen them on the geremy kyle show? now how many shows have you watched where the kids are going off the rsils? we need to look a bit closer to home.