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Morality and Ethics of Honour Killing

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By 1990joeyg
Words 1282
Pages 6
Recently, there have been numerous reports on “honour killings” the papers, with coverage of stories not only from Canada but from countries all over the world. Honour killings are the killing of women by her husband or family members when she has, or is suspected of, having dishonoured the family by adultery or other acts deemed inappropriate by the cultural values of the family. While the practice of honour killing has been in practice for some time, it has lately become more visible as cases that deal with honour killings have been appearing in Canadian courts. The Vancouver Sun reports that honour killings have been on the rise in Canada, or at least brought to the forefront of legal courtrooms and the media, as “first generation Muslims struggle to balance strict, old world ways of their parents with a desire to fit into a more liberal society (Cohen).”
Problems arise when people charged for murder plead for leniency on account that the killing was done to defend their family’s honour (Massinon). For many “honour killers,” the act of killing in defence of family honour allow for a “full or partial defence against criminal ruling” in their countries of origin (Cohen). If honour killing is indeed considered a moral and ethical behaviour in one’s culture, to the extent that such actions are supported by a country’s law, could such an action then be considered moral? Using the approaches of utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics, this paper attempts to determine the morality of honour killing and argues that the practice is immoral.
The tradition of honour killing exists to deter the behaviour of adultery by women. In cultures that condone or encourage honour killing, when a woman is found adulterous, the families of both the woman and the husband feel a deep sense of anger and shame, and their suffering cannot be alleviated until family honour is restored...

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