Last Saturday night, my wife and I watched one of the most disturbing documentaries we have ever seen. It left us in tears and extremely angry.
It was about Muslim “honor killing”–in America.
Since that time, I’ve thought a lot on what is behind this practice and what it has in common with the spirit of secularism that is on the rise in America.
I think I know what Islam and Secularism have in common.
But before that: What in the world is “honor killing?”
For two years, Fox News investigated the short lives and violent deaths of Texas teenagers Amina and Sarah Said (pictured above). They were 17 and 18–daughters of Christie and Yaser Abdul Said of Irving, Texas–when their young lives were taken from them.
The story goes like this. Yaser Abdul Said, an Egyptian Muslim immigrant, convinced Christie’s parents to let him marry her when she was fifteen and he was in his late twenties. Christie was from a nominal Baptist home. Early on in the marriage, Said demanded that his children be raised as Muslims. Their first child named Islam, made the demand clear. Christie then bore him two daughters, Amina and Sarah.
This was not a happy home. Yaser ruled it with an iron fist and even molested his daughters early on. During their teenage years he stalked them with a video camera and warned them to not date non-Muslims. When both of them, as typical teenagers, freely chose to “quietly” date some Hispanic boys, Yaser went through the roof–forcing Christie to flee the home with her two daughters. A week later, during the Christmas holidays of 2007, Yaser convinced them to return.
Christie and Sara arrived back first, and Amina followed a few days later. When she entered the home, her father kissed her and told both girls he wanted to take them out for dinner. He told Christie they were going to a local Denny’s Restaurant.
Hours later, the girls bodies were found, riddled with bullets in their dad’s borrowed taxi cab on New Year’s Day 2008. As 911 operators listened in, Sarah appeared to name her father as the killer — her dying words: “Help! Help! My dad shot me… and now I’m dying!”
What kind of spirit is behind a man who would viciously kill his two beautiful daughters in cold blood?
On that fateful day, Yaser Abdul Said, vanished into the night–never to be seen again. There’s is a $10,000 reward being offered to anyone who has information that will lead to his capture.
This kind of crime isn’t supposed to happen in America’s heartland — an honor killing.
Robert Spencer of Human Events wrote a story on the double murders of Amina and Sara Said one week after the tragedy. He said:
“Honor killing, the practice of murdering a female family member who is believed to have sullied the family honor, enjoys widespread acceptance in some areas of the Islamic world. However, Islam Said, the brother of Amina and Sarah, has denied that the murders had anything to do with Islam at all. “It’s not religion,” he insisted. “It’s something else. Religion has nothing to do with it.”
“And to be sure, the Qur’an or Islamic tradition does not sanction honor killing. But these dismissals are too easy, principally because they fail to take into account important evidence. In some areas, honor killing is assumed to be an Islamic practice. There is evidence that Islamic culture inculcates attitudes that could lead directly to the murders of these two girls in Texas.”
He’s right. And now honor killings don’t only happen in the Middle East. The brutal Arizona killing last year of Noor Almaleki by her Iraqi immigrant father was also on home soil. Noor’s father, Faleh Almaleki, disapproved of her American lifestyle (wearing jeans, posting on MySpace) and dreams (marrying for love). He beat her and ultimately ran her over in his SUV, not once but twice, to prevent her from dishonoring the family, equating her with a “small fire” that needed to be extinguished in order to keep the family safe.
He is in jail, awaiting trial for first-degree murder. “For an Iraqi, honor is the most valuable thing,” he said after his arrest. “No one messed up our life except Noor.” Noor’s mother supported him, saying, “You are not a criminal. I know how good-hearted and compassionate you are.”
I don’t think so. There’s a spirit behind these murders. Notice some of the words in both stories: “demanded,” “prevent,” “wouldn’t tolerate,” “force,” “iron fist,” and finally “kill.”
They’re not exactly synonymous with good and compassionate.
We’ve seen another Muslim example of this spirit this week. The Afghanistan Taliban murdered ten Christian doctors in cold blood, execution-style. These doctors, from several countries and church backgrounds had been providing medical services to Afghan villagers. They hiked for more than ten hours over rugged mountains — unarmed and without security — to bring medical care to isolated Afghan villagers until their humanitarian mission took a tragic turn.
Ten members of the Christian medical team — six Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton — were gunned down in a gruesome slaughter that the Taliban said they carried out. The gunmen spared an Afghan driver, who recited verses from the Quran as he begged for his life.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the AP that they killed the foreigners because they were “spying for the Americans” and “preaching Christianity.”
These three tragic losses of human life point to one obvious spirit or attitude.
Yaser Abdul Said wanted to control Amina and Sara. Faleh Almaleki wanted to control his daughter, Noor. The Afghan Taliban wanted to control its territory. And they were all willing to murder to assert that control.
What does this have to do with secularism? In fact, what is secularism?
Secularism or its twin–atheism–is faith in man and his ability to solve his own problems. The faith of secularism usually leads to increased government power which acts as the “savior” of the little people. This power is amassed through strong-armed leaders who say they know what’s best.
We’re learning a lot about secularism in America today because it is militantly on the rise. As Newt Gingrich has rightly pointed out, the current Administration–what Rush Limbaugh calls “the regime” – is totally secular in its outlook and policy positions. Out of its secular faith, the current Administration has taken over car companies (Government Motors), taken control of the large financial institutions (Dodd-Frank), is trying to take over healthcare (Obamacare),and really would like to do the same with energy (Cap and Tax) and numerous other arenas of American life.
What do the faiths of Islam and Secularism share in common?
A spirit of control.
Secularism’s control is not always murderous. But it goes that direction over time. In the 20th century secularism begat Fascism and communism. Both ended up killing millions of people.
The worst form of control is the spirit of murder.
You could see it in the face of Yasser Said. He wanted to control his daughters. That spirit of control led him to even kill his precious girls.
The essence of Obamacare and Wall Street Regulations is also about control. The secularists want to control America, its people, its finances. They want to control what we eat, what kinds of cars we drive, and what types of energy we use. They even want women to “control” their bodies through abortion on demand–the largest form of murder in the world today.
However, it was the Christian faith that built America–not Islam, not secularism.
Christianity is about freedom. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17). You can tell the goodness or evil of a world view by what it demands or controls.
Three religious worldviews are vying for power in the world today. Two operate by control, i.e. tyranny. The other operates by freedom i.e. love and respect.
But let’s go one step further. There is a being that is behind the first two world views. He’s all about control and destruction. His name is Satan.
There’s another Person at the center of the truth. Jesus Christ. He came to set people free.
In November, we will choose which direction to go–more and more controls or a re-birth of liberty.
Choose wisely America. Your future hangs in the balance.