There is a misconception in the Western world that Islam and the Middle East are one and the same. Therefore, there is a belief that everything that happens in Middle Eastern countries can be blamed on the Islamic faith, including honour killings. However, this belief does not take into account cultural influences that existed prior to the spread of Islam in Arab society and that continues to exist today. To show that honour killings are not an inherent part of Islamic religion, it is necessary to examine cultures that are at the same time connected to and separate from mainstream Islam such as the Bedouins and the Kurds. By showing that honour killings are and have always been a part of their culture and that it is not part of the Quran or the hadith it proves that external cultural factors have blended with Islam to create beliefs and traditions that do not coincide with Islam. By also looking at the texts of Western traditions such as Judaism and Christianity it is possible to show that honour killings also existed in the religions from which Islam was developed. This show that there is nothing inherently Islamic about honour killings and that it may have roots in Jewish and Christian teachings. Finally, by taking Islam out of the context of the Middle East and examining how women are treated in the United States, in can be seen that there is nothing inherently oppressing about Islam.


Religious Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2008 Kristen B. Cox