Muslim Statistics (Honor Violence)

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This page contains statistics specifically concerning honor violence. For more general statistics covering domestic abuse or danger to women, see Marriage and Women. For physical and sexual abuse of children, see Children.


While statistics are notoriously hard to come by due to the private nature of such crimes and the fact that very few are reported, the United Nations Population Fund approximates that as many as 5,000 women are murdered in this manner each year worldwide. Undoubtedly that's a low estimate, as reports from Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories, among other locales, are filtering in at an alarming rate. Add to the list Germany, Sweden, other parts of Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, and it's clear that young Muslim women in the West are becoming increasingly vulnerable.[1]
January 2008
Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year.[2]
September 2010
This study analyzes 172 incidents and 230 honor-killing victims. The information was obtained from the English-language media around the world with one exception. There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe. There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world. Most of the perpetrators were Muslims, as were their victims, and most of the victims were women.

The perpetrators and victims in this study lived in the following twenty-nine countries or territories: Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Gaza Strip, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the West Bank.

In general, statistically significant interactions were found for age, geographical region, the participation of multiple perpetrators (mainly members of the victim's family of origin, including the victim's father), family position, multiple victims, the use of torture, and the stated motive for the murder. Between 1989 and 2009, honor killings also escalated over time in a statistically significant way.

Worldwide, the majority of victims were women; a mere 7 percent were men. Only five men were killed by their families of origin whereas the rest of the male victims were killed by the families of the women with whom they were allegedly consorting or planning to consort with either within or outside of marriage. The murdered male victims were usually perceived as men who were unacceptable due to lower class or caste status, because the marriage had not been arranged by the woman's family of origin, because they were not the woman's first cousin, or because the men allegedly engaged in pre- or extramarital sex. Men were rarely killed when they were alone; 81 percent were killed when the couple in question was together.

Although Sikhs and Hindus do sometimes commit such murders, honor killings, both worldwide and in the West, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. In this study, worldwide, 91 percent of perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, most killers (84 percent) were Muslims, with only a few Sikhs and even fewer Hindus perpetrating honor killings; in Europe, Muslims comprised an even larger majority at 96 percent while Sikhs were a tiny percentage. In Muslim countries, obviously almost all the perpetrators were Muslims. With only two exceptions, the victims were all members of the same religious group as their murderers.

In the West, 76 individuals or groups of multiple perpetrators killed one hundred people. Of these perpetrators, 37 percent came from Pakistan; 17 percent were of Iraqi origin while Turks and Afghans made up 12 and 11 percent, respectively. The remainder, just under a quarter in all, came from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guyana, India, Iran, Morocco, and the West Bank.[3]
Spring 2010


Despite the fact it is hard to find accurate statistics on honor killings in Egypt, it is estimated to be in the hundreds every year.
. . .
The [Association of Legal Aid for Women] report indicated that causes of [domestic] violence were honor crimes (42 percent), leaving the house without the husband’s approval (7.5 percent), wives asking for divorce (3 percent).[4]
February 2012


This year, within just six months more than 30 women have sought refuge from honour violence at the facility. That is as many as during the whole of last year. As the coordinator at Monika House, Nasima Razmyar has the impression that the rise can be explained by growing numbers of women of marriageable age.
. . .
One problem is that the police do not keep statistics on honour violence... However, police believe that only a small fraction, probably less that 5% of all honour violence incidents come to light. The seriousness of the phenomenon is not understood, even by the officials dealing with it.[5]
October 2009
Helsingin Sanomat reported on Sunday that according to the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, thousands of girls particularly in immigrant families with a Muslim background are afraid of their immediate relatives, while being subjected to physical or mental violence.

The reason for the control is the fact that the Muslim family honour is equated with the virginity of their daughters.[6]
February 2011


At least 27 women have died in so-called “honour killings” over the past four months in northern Kurdish Iraq, an official from the regional government said Monday.[7]
November 2007
In a recent interview with the Arabic daily Asharq-Al-Awsat of 9th December 2008, Suzan Shihab, a member of the parliament in Iraqi Kurdistan, speaks of the alarming increase in the level of violence against women in Iraqi Kurdistan and the laudable laws passed by the Parliament to limit or curb this violence. She speaks of a very sombre reality; of 100 deaths a month due to violence, a half of which were due to “honour” killing and the rest was due to fatal burning, some of which were self-inflicted.[8]
The United Nations estimates that at least 255 women died in honour-related killings in Kurdistan, home to one fifth of Iraqis, in the first six months of 2007 alone.[9]
May 2008
According to statistics provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government, 59 women were murdered in the first six months of this year. But local non-governmental organizations say the rate is much higher.[10]
October 2010
However, between September and December 2007, twenty seven(27) women were reported murdered in alleged honor killings, and ninety-seven (97) tried to commit suicide for similar motives in Iraq. The number of reports of women attempting to kill themselves increased from thirty-six (36) in 2005 to one hundred thirty-three (133) in 2006; the number of women murdered for honor offenses went from four (4) to seventeen (17) for the same period (IRIN 2007, 2). The UN estimates that violence against women in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan has increased by eighteen percent (18%) between March and May of 2007 (United Nations 2007, 9).[11]


Last year, eight women were victims in Israel's Arab community of 1.4 million people, women's groups said.[12]
July 2007


In Jordan, an average of twenty-five to thirty women are killed each year in the name of honor[13]
January 2006
Women, who constitute 49 percent of the 4.6 million population, have little say. Official statistics show that 25 women--the majority of them teen-agers--are killed each year in so-called "honor crimes," which constitute 25 percent of the annual homicides in Jordan. Most are buried in unmarked graves, disgraced even in death.[14][15]
January 1999


In Morocco, Article 418 of Penal Code grants "extenuating circumstances" to a husband who murders or injures his wife for "flagrante delicto". About 200 women are killed each year in such fashion in the country, as per private estimates.[16]
July 2010


50% of honor-violence victims have been sexually abused

Honor-related crime victims are sexually abused more often than previously thought. That is one of the most remarkable conclusions of a study Nethe social services organization Fier Fryslân.

Of the 89 women who turned to Fier Fryslân between January 2008 and March 2010, 45 were sexually abused by family members, sometimes by several people.
. . .

Of the 45 sexually abused girls, 52% were abused by a cousin, 22% by a brother and 20% by an uncle. 8% were abused by their father, 2% by a stepfather, and 2% by an acquaintance.[17]
October 2010


Fifty-eight people, both men and women, lost their lives in 2005 only because they had married on their own will. They were among 1015 people murdered in the name of honour in the same year, said a report issued by the Madadgaar Help Line database recently.

The report, based on news clippings from twenty-six newspapers of Urdu, English and Sindh languages, says that despite the enactment of a law to curb violence against women, cases of karo kari or honour killing are still going on unabated.

The report says that the data does not necessarily presents the real picture. According to an estimate, only 10 percent cases of honour killing are reported in the media.

The report says that more than 473 incidents of honour killing were reported from Sindh, 337 from Punjab, 129 from Balochistan and 76 from NWFP during 2005. Those killed included 563 married women, 75 unmarried women, 373 men and six children.

In 380 such cases the perpetrators were never nabbed. In most of the cases, the killers were close relatives of the victims. The report says that 146 married women were killed by real brothers, 240 by husbands, 60 by in laws, 11 by real sisters, two by stepsons, one by stepbrother, one by former husband, one by mother and 71 by other relatives. Whereas newspaper reports about unmarried women show that fathers were the perpetrators in 49 cases, paternal uncles in 33 cases, real brothers in 16 cases and real sister in one case.

Total 618 of the victims were killed on the charge of indulging in zina and 337 for allegedly maintaining illicit relations.

The report said that when attacked, 901 of the victims died on the spot while 5 received serious injuries. 91 of the victims sustained murderous attack. According to the report, in 17 cases victims were found dead but it could not be ascertained how they were killed.[18]
April 2006
A total of 428 Pakistanis comprising 260 women and 168 men were brutally killed across Pakistan in the name of honour between January 1 and August 31.

The number of honour killings in Pakistan are estimated to be around 2,500 to 3,000 cases every year. However, the report states that a good number of such cases still go unreported or are passed off as suicides and only 25% of these are brought to justice.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 260 women and 168 men have already been killed in the first eight months of 2008. Honour killings are treated as murder under Pakistan's penal code; however, the relevant law states that the family of the victim is allowed to compromise with the killer who is a close relative in most of the cases. Provisions of the Pakistani law also allow the next of kin of the victim to forgive the murderer in exchange for money. And most of the offenders continue to use this clause to escape punishment.[19]
September 2008
Every year more than 1000 women are killed in the name of honour in Pakistan alone.[8]
December 2008
Although statistics on honor killing’s victims in Pakistan are incomplete and difficult to obtain, they indicate that at least one hundred and eighty-three (183) women were killed for honor in 1998, more than one thousand (1,000) in 1999, and at least two hundred and forty (240)in the first six months of 2000 (Amnesty International 1999, 14; Gonzalez 2000/2001, 2). These reports are only of female victims, even though there is evidence of males being subject to honor killings.[11]
Nearly 1,000 women and girls in Pakistan were murdered in 2011 in honour killings, worrying figures have revealed.

A new report by Pakistan's leading human rights group has revealed at least 943 women were killed last year by their fathers, husbands or brothers for damaging their family name. Ninety-three of those killed were minors.

However, the true number of those killed is thought to be far higher. Many cases are thought to have been covered up by relatives and sympathetic police officers, the report revealed.

The figure of 943 was an increase of more than 100 the previous year in 2010.[20]
March 2012

Palestinian Authority Area

More than two-thirds of all murders in Gaza Strip and West Bank are honor killings.[13]
January 2006
In the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, it is believed that three-four women are killed every month in the name of saving honour. The Palestinian Authority follows the Jordanian law, which gives men reduced punishment for killing wives or female relatives if they have brought dishonour to the family.[16]
July 2010


Honor killings are considered part of Chechen tradition. No records are kept, but human rights activists estimate that dozens of women are killed [in Chechnya] every year.[21]
March 2009


More than 4,000 teenagers in Stockholm are exposed on a daily basis to cultures of honour that involve traditions which run counter to Swedish law, according to an estimate based on a new official study.

Violence and repression are regular occurrences for a large section of 16-year-old school goers in the city centre and suburbs, according to a study commissioned by local politicians.

Ulf Kristersson (Mod), Commissioner of Social Services, is one of a number of politicians surprised and outraged by the findings.

"It's not permitted for adults, not even parents, to prevent children from living full, independent lives," he told Sveriges Television.

The results come from a survey of a cross section of more than 2,000 pupils.

Almost a quarter of female respondents, 23 percent, said they were expected to retain their virginity until marriage and were not allowed to have a boyfriend. Sixteen percent of girls were not allowed to have male friends or decide whom they would marry.

Seven percent of girls and three percent of boys said they were exposed to serious violations in the form of threats and violence.

And ten percent of girls and four percent of boys said their lives were limited to the extent that they could not live in the same way as other people their own age.

The majority of teenagers who matched the honour culture profile have parents born outside Sweden.[22]
April 2009


The Syrian Women Observatory [SWO] has stated that between 200 and 300 honour killings are committed in Syria every year, the majority of which occur in rural and Bedouin communities. The SWO stated that half of the annual murder cases committed in Syria are cases of honour killing.[23]
August 2009


These are the elites of Turkey

A survey carried out among university students on honour killings showed that in two universities around 30 percent of students thought such crimes were normal. In other universities the rate ranged from 3 to 19 percent.[24][25]
October 2006
A June 2008 report by Turkey's Human Rights Directorate says that in Istanbul alone, there is one honour killing every week and over 1,000 were killed during the last five years.[16]
June 2008
A study titled "Honor Killings in the Media and Their Impact on Students and Parents" conducted by the Ministry of Education has revealed that parents believe the media play a role in increasing the number of honor killings. The study was conducted in the provinces where the most honor killings in the country were taking place
. . .

13 percent of the parents and 9.9 percent of students had witnessed an honor killing
. . .

the study also showed that 26.2 percent of the parents and 25.9 percent of the students said they support such killings[26]
March 2009
According to governmental statistics, at least two hundred (200) die in the name of honor each year; this number constitutes half of all murders in Turkey (Navai 2009, 1). In Istanbul alone, at least one person dies as a result of honor killing weekly (Black 2008, 3).[11]

United Kingdom

Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to "honour" related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs.
. . .
Almost all victims of the most extreme crimes are women, killed in half of cases by their own husbands. Sometimes murders are carried out by other male relatives, or even hired killers. The fear that many thousands are left to endure honour violence alone may be supported by the disturbing details of the incidence of suicide within the British Asian community. Women aged 16 to 24 from Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds are three times more likely to kill themselves than the national average for women of their age.[27]
February 2008
The number of murders, rapes and assaults on people who dare to break strict religious or cultural rules is doubling every year, police figures show, with up to two violent “honour crimes” being committed every day. But charities which help victims of honour crimes say the true extent of the problem is far worse than the statistics show, as every year hundreds of vicitms - normally women - are too frightened to report attacks or to give evidence in court.
. . .

Figures released by the Metropolitan Police show that in London alone there have been 129 honour-based crimes between April and October this year, compared with 132 in the whole of 2008/09, which in turn was double the number of the previous year. The Home Office has estimated that there are an average of 12 honour killings each year in England and Wales.

But Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, described the official figures as “the tip of the iceberg” and suggested there are more than 500 honour crimes each year nationwide.

She said: “It’s not just the detection of honour crimes which is increasing, but the number of crimes which are committed. The rise of fundamentalism is the reason these crimes are increasing. The Government has also been turning a blind eye to the problem, which only makes things worse.

“We need to change the mindset of the communities where these crimes are happening - mainly people from South Asia, the Middle East and Muslim communities - and hopefully the religious leaders will think about how we can stop this.”[28]
December 2009
Nearly 3,000 so-called honour attacks were recorded by police in Britain last year, new research has revealed.

According to figures obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (Ikwro), at least 2,823 incidents of 'honour-based' violence took place, with the highest number recorded in London.

The charity said the statistics fail to provide the full picture of the levels of 'honour' violence in the UK , but are the best national estimate so far.

The data, taken from from 39 out of 52 UK forces, was released following a freedom of information request by Ikwro.

In total, eight police forces recorded more than 100 so called honour-related attacks in 2010.

The Metropolitan Police saw 495 incidents, with 378 reported in the West Midlands, 350 in West Yorkshire, 227 in Lancashire and 189 in Greater Manchester.

Cleveland recorded 153, while Suffolk and Bedfordshire saw 118 and 117 respectively, according to the figures.

Between the 12 forces able to provide figures from 2009, there was an overall 47 per cent rise in honour attack incidents.

Police in Northumbria saw a 305 per cent increase from 17 incidents in 2009 to 69 in 2010, while Cambridgeshire saw a 154 per cent jump from 11 to 28. A quarter of police forces in the UK were unable or unwilling to provide data, Ikwro said.

The report stated: 'This is the first time that a national estimate has been provided in relation to reporting of honour-based violence.

'Honour' attacks are punishments usually carried out against Muslim women who have been accused of bringing shame on their family and in the past have included abductions, mutilations, beatings and murder.

Ikwro director Diana Nammi told the BBC that families often deny the existence of the attacks.

She said: 'The perpetrators will be even considered as a hero within the community because he is the one defending the family and community's honour and reputation.'[29]
December 2011
The number of women from Britain's ethnic communities stepping forward to report honour- related violence has more than doubled in three years, new figures have revealed.

Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that in the 12 months to April 2011 there were 443 incidents reported as cases of honour violence or forced marriage in London alone, more than double that in 2007-08.

A separate recent survey of all police forces, using Freedom of Information Act, revealed that there were nearly 3,600 reported cases nationwide in 2010, The Telegraph reports.

Police figures have also revealed that a significant proportion of victims drop their cases after initially coming forward.

Campaigners warn that recorded cases may be just the "tip of the iceberg" with thousands of incidents going unreported each year because of fear of reprisal, family pressure or inconsistent police recording.[30]
December 2011
A large number of young British Asians support violence against women who 'dishonour' their families, a Panorama investigation will claim today.

The hard-hitting BBC documentary reveals more than two thirds of Asians between the ages of 16 and 34 say communities should live according to 'honour' or 'izzat'.

Research carried out for the show found nearly one in five – 18 per cent – said certain acts thought to shame families were justification for violence.
. . .

Honour attacks are punishments usually carried out against Muslim women who have been accused of bringing shame on their family[31]
March 2012


In Yemen, with an estimated population of 16 million, Mohammed Ba Obaid, who heads the department of Women’s Studies in Sana’a University, said his surveys found that more than 400 women were killed for reasons of “honor” in 1997.[13]
January 2006

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  1. Cinnamon Stillwell - Honor killings: When the ancient and the modern collide - The San Fransisco Chronicles, January 23, 2008
  2. Robert Fisk - The crimewave that shames the world - The Independent, September 7, 2010
  3. Phyllis Chesler - Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings - Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2010, pp. 3-11
  4. Manar Ammar - Two honor killings hit Egypt’s Alexandria - Bikya Masr, February 26, 2012
  5. "Honour Violence" - A Threat To Immigrant Women - YLE, October 19, 2009
  6. Thousands of girls reportedly being subjected to honour-related violence in Finland - Helsingen Sanomat, February 28, 2011
  7. 27 Kurdish women die in ‘honour killings’ - Dawn, November 27, 2007
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dr Talal Alrubaie - Honor Killing and Deficient Men - Center For Women's Equality, December 11, 2008
  9. Patrick Cockburn - How picture phones have fuelled frenzy of honour killing in Iraq - The Independant, May 17, 2008
  10. Soran Bahadin - Blame on Clerics for Prevalence of Honor Killing in Iraqi Kurdistan - Kurd Net, October 9, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Diana Y Vitoshka - The Modern Face of Honor Killing: Factors, Legal Issues, and Policy Recommendations - University of California, 2010
  12. Diaa Hadid - `Honor' killings norm for one clan - Associated Press, July 8, 2007
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Elham Hassan - Women victims of honor killing - Yemen Observer, Jan 28, 2006 - Vol. IX Issue 03
  14. WE News correspondent, Jamal J. Halaby - Jordan Honour Killings of Women - Dhushara, November 14, 2000
  15. Lisa Beyer - The Price of Honor - TIME, January 18, 1999
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "'Honour' killing: It's a global phenomenon", The Times of India, July 11, 2010 (archived), 
  17. Karin Sitalsing, "Slachtoffers eerwraak vaak misbruikt door familie", Volkskrant (Dutch), October 11, 2010 (archived), 
  18. Honour killing claimed 1,015 lives in 2005 - The Daily Times, April 28, 2006
  19. Amir Mir - 428 killed in the name of honour - Daily News & Analysis, September 3, 2008
  20. Kerry Mcqueeney - Nearly 1,000 Pakistani women were victims of honour killings last year... but true number could be far higher - Mail Online, March 22, 2012
  21. Lynn Berry, "Chechen President Kadyrov Defends Honor Killings", The St. Petersburg Times, Issue No. 1453, March 3, 2009 (archived), 
  22. 'Honour' culture common in Stockholm - The Local, April 14, 2009
  23. Saad Jarous - Syria Increases Penalty for Honour Killings - Asharq Alawsat, August 7, 2009
  24. PRESS DIGEST - Turkey - Oct 27 - Reuters, October 27, 2006
  25. Christoph Schlingensief - Türkische Studenten halten Ehrenmorde für legitim - Welt Online, October 27, 2006
  26. Ibrahim Asalioglu, "Media help escalate honor killings, study reveals", Today's Zaman, March 24, 2009 (archived), 
  27. A question of honour: Police say 17,000 women are victims every year - The Independent, February 10, 2008
  28. Gordon Rayner and John Bingham - Tulay Goren murder: 'honour' crimes doubling every year, figures show - The Telegraph, December 18, 2009
  29. Alarming rise of Muslim 'honour attacks' in the UK as police reveal thousands were carried out last year - Mail Online, December 3, 2011
  30. 'Honour' violence against women from ethnic minorities in UK doubles in three years - ANI, December 28, 2011
  31. Leon Watson - 'Honour' violence is acceptable, say one in five young British Asians - Mail Online, March 19, 2012