The latest Islamic “honor killing” has claimed a feminist and YouTube star in Pakistan. Qandeel Baloch who challenged many religious and cultural norms for women in Pakistan was strangled to death by her brother, who has now admitted to the murder. Waseem Azeem told police that he was tired of ridicule by other Muslims for his nonconforming sisters and “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her.” Despite the universal view that the former option would have been far better than the latter, he decided to choke the life out of his own sister to uphold his view of Islamic morality.
Baloch’s real name was Fauzia Azeem and she travelled to be with her family to Muzzafarabad village in central Punjab province for the Eid holiday. He father grieved the loss of his daughter and demanded justice for her murder. He filed the complaint for the arrest of his son.
Despite the international outcry, some Muslims went to social media to herald the murder. One example was a tweet from @JiaAli that: “Someone had to do it. She was a disgrace.”
Baloch said that she was forced to marry against her will at 17 to an “uneducated man” and she had a child with him. She divorced him and defied sexist limits and last month caused an outcry for posing for selfies with a high-profile cleric. When she met with Mufti Abdul Qavi in a Karachi hotel room during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, she took a picture wearing the cleric’s trademark fur-lined hat. The cleric was later denounced by the country’s religious affairs ministry.
What is interesting is that the family had to be involved in the earlier forced marriage. Yet, she reportedly became the financial supporter of the family, including her murderous brother. He proceeded to put sedatives in her drink or food the night before and then strangled her in her sleep. Hundreds of women and girls face the same fate every year in Pakistan — killed to uphold Islamic values.