Iraqi YouTube Star Assassinated By Her Father

( YouTube star Tiba al-Ali was murdered by her father in an apparent honor killing in Iraq. The 22-year-old left her native country for Turkey at the age of 17 and began posting videos on YouTube about her new life. She covered topics including her personal independence, fiancé, and cosmetics and amassed a solid following of over 20,000 subscribers. However, when she returned to Iraq to visit her family, her father strangled her to death in her sleep.

Reports suggest that Tayyip Ali was unhappy with his daughter’s independence and that she had chosen her husband and begun living with him in Istanbul.

The practice of murdering daughters who act independently is known as honor killing. The name comes from the notion that fathers who do not control their daughters are dishonored, and killing them is the only method of restoring that honor.

Honor killing is socially, culturally, and even legally sanctioned in many Muslim-majority societies, and as such, Tiba’s father received a mere 6-month prison sentence for her murder.

The sentence prompted protests at the Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad, where people carried placards demanding that Iraqi society “stop killing women.”

Honor killings have become a feature of American society in recent decades. Noor Almaleki, for example, was murdered by her father in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2009. The family moved to Phoenix from Iraq in the 1990s, but her father wanted Noor to return to their native country to marry a cousin. She refused, and he murdered her. He was jailed for 34 years.

Amina and Sarah Said lived in Texas with their Egyptian father and American mother. Yaser Abdel Said did not approve of his daughters dating, and so he shot them both to death. He was jailed for life without the possibility of parole.

The United Nations estimates there are around 5,000 honor killings worldwide each year, but admits this is probably a significant underestimate given the secrecy surrounding the crime.

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