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NY NOW President Stands by Statement on Killings

Local Organizations Say Feminist Group’s Statement Is Damaging

March 4, 2009

WKBW Television – Buffalo, NY

“Groups including the Network of Religious Communities, Western New York Peace Center and the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence say a statement by the New York president of the National Organization For Women is damaging to women and to Muslims.”

“Shortly after Orchard Park resident Aasiya Zuair Hassan was beheaded in February, NOW released a statement that criticized the media for its lack of covering the Muslim connection to the murder. Her husband is charged in the crime.”

An excerpt of the statement reads:

“‘This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing,’ a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men. Are we now so respectful of the Muslim’s religion that we soft-peddle atrocities committed in it’s name?'”

“But Elea Mihou from WNY Peace Center says this statement might make women feel that suffering in a violent relationship is partly their fault. ‘To associate something that’s going to happen to 1,300 women this year in this country with one religion not only does a disservice to her faith, but it also does a disservice to women who suffer abuse at the hands of men of many faiths and no faith,’ Mihou says.

“The Network of Religious Communities is calling upon people to focus attention on domestic violence, rather than Islam.”

“‘We must all unite in condemning anyone, of any faith or culture, who harms the innocent and recognize that the causes of domestic violence are not limited to any religion or culture,’ writes the Network of Religious Communities Board of Governors.”

“Still, Marcia Pappas, the president of NOW in New York, says she stands by her statement. She also says Muslim women have sent her messages of appreciation, thanking her for bringing this subject to light.”