The Custom Isn’t Always Right

By Bill Maher

In a small village near Abbottabad, Pakistan, a teenage girl helped her friend elope with the boy she loved and they all lived happily after. I’m kidding. According to The Washington Post, village elders heard that the girl had helped facilitate a forbidden “love marriage” rather than a traditional, Muslim arranged marriage, and so they dragged the girl out of her house, tied her up and burned her alive in a van as “a lesson for other girls.”

To the Pakistan government’s credit, the men involved in this honor killing were arrested and I’m sure they’ll all be given a stern talking to. But this just goes to show the ongoing struggle between a government trying to establish some protections for women and ingrained Muslim customs that call for death and/or rape when bitches just don’t listen.

“According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 8,694 girls and women have died in so-called honor killings here between 2004 and 2015. Those crimes involved revenge killings for dishonoring a family, village or local custom. About one-fourth of those cases involved the death of a minor. Although most common in remote areas, honor killings still occur in Pakistan even in larger, more progressive cities.” 

The Post also notes that recently in Punjab, Pakistan, a man was arrested for beating his seven-month-pregnant wife to death with a club because she frowned on the idea of him taking a second wife, and another man was arrested for throwing acid in his aunt’s face when she refused his proposal to marry her daughter.  

Does it make me a bigot to recognize these customs as not just different from ours, but wrong? I’m not saying people here don’t marry their cousins – I’ve been to West Virginia – but when we get mad at our aunts, the most we throw is shade.