For the first time, FBI admits Texas murder was a case of honor killing
Austin (Texas), Oct.15 : The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has finally admitted after almost a year that the murder of two teenage girls by their father is a case of "honor killing."
Sarah Said, 17, and her sister Amina, 18, were killed on New Year's Day, and were found in the back seat of a taxicab in Texas.
But for nine months, the FBI deflected questions about whether their father - the prime suspect and the subject of a nationwide manhunt - may have targeted them because of a perceived slight upon his honor.
According to Fox News, the girls' great-aunt, Gail Gartrell, says the girls' Egyptian-born father killed them both because he felt they disgraced the family by dating non-Muslims and acting too Western, and she called the girls' murders an honor killing from the start.
But some Muslims say that calling the case an honor killing goes too far.
"As far as we're concerned, until the motive is proven in a court of law, this is [just] a homicide," Mustafaa Carroll, the executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations in Dallas, told FOXNews.com.
He said he worries that terms like "honor killing" may stigmatize the Islamic community.
"We (Muslims) don't have the market on jealous husbands ... or domestic violence," Carroll said.
The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women are killed worldwide every year in honor killings - mostly in the Middle East, where many countries still have laws that protect men who murder female relatives they believe have engaged in inappropriate activity.
A U.N. report includes chilling examples of such cases.
Their friends and classmates knew many of the threats against Sarah and Amina. High school friends told the Dallas Morning News that the girls sometimes came in with welts and bruises, which they confided were inflicted by their father.
After Yaser Said threatened to kill one daughter in December 2007 - documented in text messages Sarah Said sent to a friend - the girls and their mother, Patricia, fled from their home in Lewisville, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
But the mother soon had a change of heart and went back, leading to the tragedy on January 1. Some, including Gartrell, believe the mother may even have been complicit in the murders.
An FBI spokesman played down the significance of the listing, saying that the change on the wanted listing was simply due to more information coming out about the case since it was first listed and that it shouldn't matter what the case is called.