Irving, Texas police are hunting for Muslim cabdriver Yaser Abdel Said after his teenage daughters Sarah and Amina were found murdered New Year’s Day in a taxi abandoned outside the Omni Mandalay Hotel in the Dallas suburb of Las Colinas.
A SWAT team surrounded Said’s Lewisville, Texas home January 2. After breaking down the door, they found the house empty. A capital murder warrant has been issued for the Egyptian-born Said who remains on the loose. The hunt for Said was featured January 5 on America’s Most Wanted. According to police, Said should be considered armed and dangerous. His wife and surviving son have reportedly gone into hiding. Las Colinas is a short distance from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
In addition to AMW, ABC News and the Washington Times reported the news January 3. Other than that, the national media have given this case scant coverage.
The Dallas Morning News reports January 6:
Gail Gartrell, the sisters' great-aunt, said Saturday that Mr. Said had physically abused the two girls for years. Around Christmas, the girls' mother – Ms. Gartrell's niece – had fled because of Mr. Said's threats to kill the girls after he learned they had boyfriends, she said.
"She ran with them because she knew he would carry out the threat," Ms. Gartrell said. "This was an honor killing."
She said her niece returned after Mr. Said told her that he would move out so they could reconcile. Within a few days, she said, the girls were dead.
Dallas station KDFW-TV reported:
“A Dallas-area father may have shot his two teenage daughters to death because their Westernized clothes and behavior brought him shame….Sarah and Amina dressed in Western clothes and listened to pop music. They described Said as angry with his daughters for not acting like proper Muslim girls.”
The Star Telegram reports:
The girls were well-liked and made good grades at Lewisville High School. Their father was strict and rarely let them spend time with friends. When Sarah, 17, recently met a boy at her job, she told a friend that her father would kill her if he found out.
One of their boyfriends was so concerned that he reportedly followed the girls after they got in their fathers cab the night of the murder. He called them on their cell phone and they told him that he should leave because everything was OK. They were found dead hours later.
Students at Lewisville High January 3 wore pink — the Said girls' favorite color — and organized a 6 p.m. candlelight vigil in their memory. Memorials poured into their MySpace page.
The Dallas murders come just three weeks after the murder of 16-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, Canada girl Aqsa Parvez. Allegedly Aqsa was strangled and beaten to death by her father, 57-year-old Muhammad Parvez because she refused to wear the hijab while at school. Muhammad has been arraigned for murder in a Brampton, Ontario court. His son Waqas Parvez, 26 stands charged with obstructing justice.
The Toronto Star December 12 reports:
Vivacious and outgoing, Parvez wanted to dress like a Western woman in tight-fitting clothes and show off her long, dark hair by removing her hijab.
She wanted to be "free" and independent of her family's devout Muslim beliefs.
But that was a problem.
This culture clash, her friends said yesterday, led to abuse. While she didn't often come to school with bruises, she said she had been hit on the arms and across the face, her friends said, and that her parents kept her under strict guard.
"She told me many times that her dad had threatened her," her friend, Dominiqua Holmes-Thompson, 16, said yesterday. "She was serious."
In a chilling echo of the Dallas case The Star adds:
When Parvez's home life turned violent this fall, she fled to a shelter, returning home only after receiving a letter from her family. It described how her parents couldn't eat or sleep while she was away and allegedly noted she didn't have to wear her hijab any more if she didn't want to.
The Dallas murders would not be the first “honor killings” in the US. A December 30, 2007 fire killing in Oak Forest, IL is believed to be an honor killing of a pregnant Hindu woman, her husband and a small child who married “beneath” her caste. Her Hindu father is being held by police. Local media have no difficulty calling this an honor killing. Just because other religions have this practice doesn’t mean that Islamic attempts to impose Islamic law should not be resisted.
In 2004 Ismael Peltek of Scottsdale, NY murdered his wife and attempted to kill his daughters after a molestation case involving Peltek’s brother. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle April 24, 2004 reported:
Ismail Peltek, who was indicted Friday on charges of second-degree murder in the April 15 slaying of his wife, Hatice Peltek, claimed he attacked his wife and daughters after learning that his brother had molested his wife and his 22-year-old daughter, according to court documents.
Peltek, 41, said he attacked his 4-year-old daughter because she had been “sullied” by a gynecological exam.
“I was concerned that my family’s honor was taken,” he allegedly told investigators. ...
His 39-year-old wife died after being stabbed repeatedly and bludgeoned on the head with a hammer.
His daughters suffered fractured skulls from hammer blows.
“If you had the opportunity to kill the family again, would you?” he was asked by Rochester police Officer Emre Arican, who was brought in to help investigators because he speaks Turkish.
“My female family, yes. My male family, no,” Peltek allegedly replied. ...
In March, 2007, a Dearborn Heights, Michigan case resembles an honor killing: Ali Hourany allegedly murdered his non-Muslim girlfriend Daniella Erica Munoz and fled to Beirut, Lebanon. In other Dearborn cases, where young Muslim women have been murdered, the local media seem not to know a motive.
Canada also has seen several other “honor killings”. The Gazette of Montreal reports:
* A 14-year-old female rape victim is strangled to death in March 2004 by her father and brother because she has supposedly tarnished the family name.
*In April 2004, a man brutally kills his wife and daughter after finding out his brother had molested them.
* A teenage girl with a Turkish background has her throat cut by her father after he learns she has a Christian boyfriend.
In a 2004 case, a Toronto Muslim and his second wife beat to death his 5-year-old daughter by his first wife and then dismembered the girl in a bathtub allegedly believing that she was fathered by another man.
A Windsor, Ontario cab driver was ritually murdered in 2005 over a land dispute involving a Mosque.
In 2006, the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a Canadian Muslim who murdered his wife in Ottawa in 1999 believing she was having an affair. According to the National Post, Lawyers for Adi Abdul Humaid argued Muslim cultural and religious beliefs in ''family honour'' should be taken into account as justification for receiving a lighter sentence for killing an unfaithful wife. An appeals court had earlier rejected this argument.
Many Muslims, and leftist apologists for Islam, claim that “honor killings” are not part of Islam. But the evidence suggests the opposite. According to the National Post, for instance:
An American scholar, Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, testified at Humaid's trial that many Islamic societies permit men to punish wives suspected of adultery and sometimes even kill them. Under Islamic law, punishment for adultery is usually flogging or stoning, Ayoub said. In some Muslim cultures and rural areas, unfaithful women can be killed.
Ayoub is hardly the only apologist for “honor killings”. Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, head of Arab-American Studies at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, stated at the July, 2006 ""Al Awda" conference in San Francisco: “What you call honor killings would be just called crimes of passion in the West.”
Daily Kos diarist “Amad” condemns the recent Canadian killings, calls them “un-Islamic” and then launches on something “even sadder”.
“But you know what’s even sadder? My condemnation is not purely sorrowful. It is tinged - more than tinged, it is stained - with anger at those who demand such a condemnation from me. Why, why, WHY is it that whenever someone who is Muslim, or has a Muslim-sounding name, does something... it’s automatically blamed on Islam?”
Why? Because in spite of the deceptions which the Islamic doctrine of al-Taqiyyah requires Amad to present to the infidels, “honor killings” are, as scholar Robert Spencer has demonstrated, at the core of the Islamic value system. Now Muslims are attempting to force Western societies to accept this practice. They will use any debates or court proceedings stemming from this case to further that end.
“Amad” saves his worst invective for Tarek Fatah who called the murder by Aqsa Parvez “the deadly face of Muslim extremism” in a column in the National Post co-authored with Farzana Hassan.
“Tarek Fatah, renowned fool and know-nothing who spews rubbish every time he opens his mouth, has caused even more damage in this article published in the National Post. It can be summarized as ignorant, muck-stirring, rabble-rousing, fear-mongering LIES that will only make the situation worse for Muslims.”
What is it that has Amad so stirred up? Fatah and Hassan point out:
Radical Muslim men consider themselves ultimately responsible for the conduct of the womenfolk. This outlook is rooted in a medieval ethos that treats women as nonpersons, unable to decide for themselves what they should wear, where they must go and what they must accomplish in life. If their conduct is seen as contravening this austere religious outlook, they are invariably subjected to abuse.
The Dallas Morning News, meanwhile, reports on Sarah and Amina Said's Christian and Muslim funeral services. Note the choice of emphasis at the Muslim service:
Dr. Yusuf Kavacki, head of the Richardson mosque, alternating between English and Arabic, told mourners that all living things are destined to die. Another imam talked about families being the most important thing in Islam and the need for parents to work to keep their families strong.
According to police, Yaser Abdel Said, age 50, is about 6-foot-2, weighs about 180 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Said was last seen wearing a black turtleneck shirt/sweater, a brown coat and tan pants. He is believed to be armed with a handgun.
Anyone with information is asked to call Irving police at 972-721-2518.