Teenager Celine was found stuffed in a fridge with her throat slit at a house in south-west London after being kidnapped, bound and gagged, raped and murdered.
Mujahid Arshid, 33, of no fixed address, stands charged with the murder, attempted murder and two counts of rape and kidnap; while Vincent Tappu, 28, of Acton, west London, stands charged with kidnapping both women.
The police and press are defining this murder as an “honour killing” but there is no honour in killing. This is a case of domestic violence and murder, committed by cowards with no sense of honour or respect for others.
Dookhran was exercising her right as an individual to pursue a relationship, something she should have every right to do so as an independent woman. Her personal faith and religion, although repeatedly mentioned in mainstream news articles, does not endorse or encourage violence towards women to maintain any kind of honour.
Islam encourages Muslims not to harm others. It is very much against the spirit of Islam to protect vulnerable individuals from harm and to instill the values of respect and care towards others.
“Honour killings” are not an Islamic concept, they have no place in the religion. Forced marriages, extreme nationalism, xenophobia and racism also have no place in Islam and are not condoned.
This tragic incident should not be reported through the prism of religion, but as an act of domestic violence, as part of which 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner, 1 woman is killed every 3 days, and 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
These are shocking statistics and we need to, as a community, deal with domestic violence head-on, for what it is and not allow it to be dressed up as some kind of special culturally sensitive form of violence. Violence against women is just that, and it must stop.
The men who murdered Celine Dookhran bound and gagged her, then raped her before brutally killing her. They were not attempting to maintain her honour or their own. They wanted to humiliate her, to shame her, to reinforce their control of a woman through a despicable and disgraceful act of patriarchy.
The term “honour“ attempts to mask the horror of the violence inflicted by men, to soften the nature of the crime, to make it difficult for authorities to investigate cases of abuse in particular communities.
This has to stop. This must stop. Domestic violence affects women from all backgrounds and there is simply no honour in the endless deaths of women across the country at the hands of abusive men.
We cannot distance ourselves from the physical and often violent abuse of women because of perceived cultural baggage. It’s time we call it what it is and deal with it as we would any other case of domestic violence.
Shaz Manir, CEO or domestic violence charity Amirah Foundation