Italy is dealing with a shocking murder after Ahmad Khan Butt, a 53-year-old construction worker and owner of a local mosque in Modena, beat his wife to death with a brick after she opposed an arranged marriage for her daughter. While Ahmad Butt beat his wife, his son, Umair, severely beat his sister Nosheen Butt, 20, with a stick — resulting in her hospitalization for a broken arm and head injuries. The husband and deceased wife, Beghm Shnez, are Muslim and both originally came from Pakistan.
Prosecutors stated that Beghm Shnez was forced to marry her husband and lived an unhappy marriage. She wanted something better for her daughter.
The prosecutors are calling this a “cultural homicide.” We often call these “honor killings,” though usually it is the young women who are killed for refusing arranged marriages or having relationships with men. In a couple weeks, I will be going to Paris to speak about the “cultural defense” issue — cases where defendants raise their cultural or religious motivations for criminal acts. This is part of the International American Bar Association meeting.