Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Looking to Prevent "Honour" Crimes Chicago-Style (Just Don't Mention the "I" Word)

At first glance, this (from the Globe and Mail) looks like a brilliant idea:
At first glance, gang crime in a U.S. city would seem to have little in common with the family conflicts that led to the killing of several women in Canada in recent years.
But one Canadian group is taking ideas gleaned from the streets of Chicago to tackle the troubling phenomenon of so-called honour crimes.
The Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration in London, Ont. will announce Tuesday that it has a partnership with the renowned Chicago anti-violence group CeaseFire to develop the Family Honour Project, which its creators hope will soon spread to other communities.
The initiative, the first of its kind in Canada, is based on the work of epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, whose public-health approach to violence reduction has been credited with contributing to a significant reduction in gang shootings in Chicago.
Although gang shootings and family honour crimes seem quite different, at their core they share one important cause: Both are driven primarily by the fear that a person’s reputation or image will be harmed if he or she doesn’t respond violently to being treated with a perceived lack of respect.
The CeaseFire approach suggests that if conflict can be identified and calmed before it spirals out of control, casualties can be avoided. Ultimately, it aims to teach those prone to react violently to change the way they think...
But what if the way they think comes from verses in the Koran which the devout consider perfect? With all due respect to epidemiologist Slutkin, how can you change thinking that's deeply rooted in Islam without ever mentioning Islam? More to the point, how can you turn a religo-cultural problem into a matter of "public health"?

I maintain that you can't, and that this effort, sincere though it may be, is thus doomed from the outset. That said, in severing the connection between Islam and these crimes, it may well succeed as a pro-Islam PR effort.

BTW, you'll never guess who spearheaded this project. None other than occasional Globe and Mail opiner and CAIR-CAN founder Sheema Khan.

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