ACHXOY-MARTAN, Chechnya — Chechnya's government is openly approving of families that kill female relatives who violate their sense of honor, as this Russian republic embraces a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam after decades of religious suppression under Soviet rule.Over and over again, we here at IBA and elsewhere post stories along this same line of the barbarity of fundamentalist Islam.
In the past five years, the bodies of dozens of young Chechen women have been found dumped in woods, abandoned in alleys and left along roads in the capital, Grozny, and neighboring villages.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov publicly announced that the dead women had "loose morals" and were rightfully shot by male relatives. He went on to describe women as the property of their husbands, and said their main role is to bear children.
In this small Chechen village, residents talk about the teenage girl who was killed in early February after she spent a night at her boyfriend's house.
The 16-year-old's body was wrapped in a traditional rug and returned to her mother's house. Her relatives are suspected of killing her in the name of family honor.
To escape the strict mores, some of the young opt for early marriage, which they view as the gateway to independence, sexual activity and societal respect. That goes for young Chechen men, also.
Abu-Khadzh Idrisov, 20, married in his teens to simply experiment, he said. His first marriage at age 14 lasted barely a year. He married a second time at 18. He spotted his future wife at a park in Grozny and, with the help of his friends, kidnapped her.
"When I married her, I honestly knew only two things: her name and the school she studied at. We talked together once," he recalled. "But we have traditions and extremely strict rules in Chechnya, and you can't just ignore them. I carry my family's name, and if I tarnish it, I will have problems."
My concern grows that we are preaching to the choir and that the rest of the world really is buying into the idea that Islam is a religion of beauty and peace.
Is it even possible to counter the whitewash of Islam before the ground is littered with bodies mutilated or dead at the hands of fundamentalist Muslims?
Yet, we infidels who woke up largely as a result of 9/11 slog on. Until the day that we are censored from sounding the alarm.