Katyal is right. Honor killings are Islamic. But he is, to my knowledge, the first Western Leftist ever to admit that fact.
Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victim was the murderer’s sister, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.
But Katyal is here arguing that honor killings cannot be opposed or restricted because to do so would restrict Muslims’ religious freedom. He apparently understands the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom as a license to break other laws, including prohibitions on murder. This is a vital point that must be clarified: either the principle of religious freedom overrules everything, and even allows for murder, or it stops where other laws begin. This question is going to have to be answered sooner or later.
“Hawaii Lawyer: Trump Exec Order Violates 1st Amendment Because Honor Killings Are Islamic,” by Raheem Kassam, Breitbart, May 15, 2017:
The lawyer representing the State of Hawaii in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today has stated the collection of data with regards honor killings should be removed from President Trump’s Executive Order in order to “pass constitutional muster”.
In his arguments, Neal Katyal stated today that the collection of such data as outlined by the Executive Order 13780 contravenes the Establishment Clause, in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”.
In doing so, Katyal appears to be making the case that honor killings — murder committed in the name of restoring a family’s dignity following discouraged behaviour within fundamentalist homes — is in itself Islamic.
It is an argument often made by anti-Islam campaigners, but to hear such arguments made by the political left might surprise some, especially when honor killings are also found — though to a lesser extent — in other religious groups like the Sikh community.
“What does [the President] have to do to issue an executive order that, in your view, might pass constitutional muster?” asked Judge Paez of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, this afternoon.
Katyal responded at length, stating: “I think there’s two paths that the President could take in order to pass constitutional muster.
“One is the way that our founders thought, Article 1 Section 8 which, as Congress in the driver’s seat with respect to immigration, passes a statute. as Justice Alito said, when Congress passes a statute it’s much less likely to discriminate. It is 535 people versus one, which is why his Mandel point is so problematic. That’s number one.
“Second thing the president could do, or the kinds of things or some of the kinds, removing some of things that the district court found led an objective observer to say that this this discriminates.
“One example would be, what Judge Hawkins said, disavowing formally all the stuff said before. But that’s not it. He could do a lot of things. For example, I’m going to throw out some examples. I‘m not trying to micro manage the President. He could say, like President Bush did, right after September 11th, the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. that’s not what Islam is about. Islam is peace. Instead, we get, quote, Islam hates us. I think Islam hates us.
“I think he could point to changed circumstances from December 2015, when Congress debated the exact same evidence that the President relies on in his executive order and say, you know, we actually need more than just denying people entry without a visa, which is what Congress required. You need to do more than that.
“It could eliminate the text, which refers to honor killings. There’s a bunch of different things that could be done. And our fundamental point to you is that presidents don’t run into Establishment Clause problems and the reason for that is this is a very limited, you know, in a really unusual case in which you have these public statements by the President. if you affirm the district court there’s not a thing that any president has done in our lifetime that would be unconstitutional”.
For Katyal to advance such an argument may also be detrimental to the public understanding of honor killings in the United States….