Newly-Immigrated Muslim Women Honor Killed in Sweden

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(Illustrative photo: Flickr/Tsaiproject)

A growing phenomenon of honor killings in Sweden is being reported among newly-arrived Muslim women.  The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published one such report, detailing the murder of a young mother named Bina who immigrated to Sweden from Iran.

Seven months after Bina (not her real name) arrived in Mariannelund, she was killed by her husband after she decided to separate from him and remove her hijab.

Bina was one of six women killed in 2016 shortly after arriving in Sweden.

Gan Heimer, a professor at The National Center for Knowledge on Men’s Violence Against Women based at Uppsala University, said that this is a new situation in Sweden that needs to be monitored.

Bina was just 21 years old when she was murdered. She came to Sweden with two of her older sisters and their families in November 2015. They were all placed in different refugee centers. Bina, her husband – who was also her cousin –and baby daughter were settled by the Swedish authorities in Mariannelund. By the following summer, she was dead.

Her two older sisters told the police that after they came to Sweden they both wanted to separate from their husbands, take off their hijabs. They asked the authorities for help to find a place they would be safe. Their sister, Bina, wanted to do the same.

Bina had tried to separate from her husband even before they left Iran because he was beating her. But her family had prevented her from so doing. In Mariannelund, Bina took off her hijab, a decision which her husband said he accepted. But one of her sisters, as well as other relatives, later said he was lying and felt insulted.

“He thought that other people were making fun of him — it was a matter of honor,” said a close friend of Bina’s during the investigation after her murder.

Bina’s husband was a religious fanatic, said a family member. Yet another family member said, “We came here far from oppression, but some people have difficulty living freely.”

After he murdered her, Bina’s husband put a hijab on her face and neck.

The court sentenced Bina’s husband to 17 years in prison after which time he will be deported from Sweden.

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Ran Meir

Ran Meir is Clarion Project's Arab affairs analyst and a Shillman Fellow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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