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Killing her is the only way the family can restore its honor, regardless of whether she actually is or can be proven guilty of the alleged offense.
In sharp contrast to other forms of domestic violence, honor killings are frequently performed out in the open, and the perpetrators rarely act alone.
Not even celebrity status can shield Muslim women from punishments related to honor crimes.
Actress Afshan Azad (left), seen here with Harry Potter co-star Rupert Grint, was beaten and threatened with death in 2010 by her father and brother for dating a non-Muslim.
In 2010, there were roughly 900 reported honor killings in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh alone while 100-300 additional honor killings took place in the rest of the country. Also in 2010, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 800 women were killed for honor in Pakistan. Both figures likely represent only the tip of the iceberg.
The spike may also reflect growing media coverage of this crime.
The democratically elected government of India has taken important, if long overdue, steps to combat the practice of honor killing, and some progress has been made.
Unni Wikan, a social anthropologist and professor at the University of Oslo, observed that an honor killer typically commits the murder "as a commission from the extended family." The lead author of this article documented this in 2009 and 2010 for honor killings both in the West and in Muslim-majority countries.
Though neither Islam nor Hinduism directly sanctions honor killing, both play a role in legitimizing the practice in South Asia—if for no other reason than that such societies have not prosecuted this crime, have issued light sentences, or have failed to use their religious authority to punish and abolish it.