A young Pakistani Muslim who killed his sister for marrying a Christian – even though her new husband had converted to Islam “out of love” – has said he had “no choice”.
Mubeen Rajhu, 24, from Lahore, is the subject of the AP’s “Big Story”. He killed his sister, Tasleem, who was 18, in August after being taunted by his friends at work for the “dishonour” her actions had brought on his family.
“I told her I would have no face to show at [work], to show to my neighbours, so don’t [marry him]… But she wouldn’t listen,” he says. “I could not let it go. It was all I could think about. I had to kill her. There was no choice.”
Amongst his colleagues, family and friends, there have been few voices of condemnation for his actions.
A work colleague, Ali Raza, recalls: “The guys here told him, ‘It would be better to kill your sister. It is better than letting her have this relationship’.”
His father, Mohammed, blames his daughter. “My family is destroyed. Everything is destroyed only because of this shameful girl,” he says. “Even after death I am destroyed because of her.”
A neighbour, Babar Ali, adds: “I am proud of this man that he has done the right thing, to kill her. We cannot allow anyone to marry outside our religion. He did the right thing.”
The widowed husband, Jehangir, fled after the murder. The Christian community in which he lived was then targeted – gunshots were fired, though no-one was hurt.
“We have been scared since the killing took place,” says Shahzia Masih, a Christian. “There are just a few houses of Christians here, but we have nowhere else to go.”
AP reports that so-called “honour” killings are on the rise in Pakistan, with 1,184 victims last year (1,096 of them women), compared to 1,005 in 2015 and 869 in 2013. These figures are the bare minimum because many are thought to go unreported.
Mubeen Rajhu’s father, Mohammed, filed a complaint with police after the murder – something parents have often done, according to AP, “to lay the legal groundwork so they can forgive the culprit: a legal loophole that activists are fighting”.
Just three days after AP’s report, the BBC reported that the loophole is now closed and that killers will receive mandatory life sentences.