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Honor, the State, and Its Implications: An Examination of Honor Killing in Jordan and the Efforts of Local Activists




Ali, Yazmin

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The topic of honor crimes is a controversial one that has gained a great deal of attention over the years. There are many countries such as Jordan that grants leniency to honor crime perpetrators by providing them with prison sentences that are as little as three months. Even though Jordan has made great strides in woman’s issues, such as combating illiteracy, citizens continue to face many obstacles that prevent women from attaining their rights. This study examined the social context of patriarchy, women’s rights in Islam, theoretical notions of honor, and the perspectives of local activists and their efforts in combating this phenomenon. This research resulted from fieldwork conducted in the summer of 2007 in Jordan, during which the author accumulated qualitative data on honor crimes from interviews of local activists. Data collection ncluded semi-structured interviews with the activists as well as participant observations in local mosques throughout Amman. The leaders of these mosques requested anonymity in reference to the names and locations of the mosque. In addition, there is particular emphasis on elucidating this social phenomenon with excerpts from the author’s transcriptions while integrating sociological theory. The social, cultural, and political ramifications of this study provide a thorough insight into the factors contributing to honor crimes. There are many issues the Jordanian government should address in order to eradicate this phenomenon. These issues include repealing articles 98 and 340 of the Jordanian constitution and educating the public on the issue of women’s rights; local imams need to address this issue and honor crime victims need to be taken out of prisons and placed in shelters away from harm.