Teenagers in Jordan support ‘honour killings,’ research finds

University of Cambridge study shows brutal practice of vigilante justice still holds sway for significant proportions of adolescent population

A new generation of teenagers in the Middle East believe honour killings to be 'justified', according to a new study of young people in Jordan.

The disturbing findings in a study by researchers at the University of Cambridge shows the brutal practice of vigilante justice, predominantly against young women for perceived slights against family 'honour,' still holds sway for significant proportions of the adolescent population.

In one of the first studies of its kind, social attitudes of 15-year-olds in the Middle Eastern country's capital Amman towards honour killings, revealed almost half of boys and one in five girls believe killing a daughter, sister or wife who has 'dishonoured' or shamed the family is justified. A third of all teenagers involved in the research advocated honour killing.

Jordan, like some other countries in the Middle East and Asia has an old tradition of honour killings and a poor record when it comes to criminalising such violence against women.

Researchers from the university's Institute of Criminology discovered the attitudes were not connected to religious beliefs and instead, the main factors include patriarchal and traditional worldviews with emphasis placed on female 'virtue' coupled with a more general belief that violence against others could be morally justified.

One of the researchers, Lana Ghuneim, said she was motivated to carry out the research after she had met someone who she had later found out had been killed in an honour crime.

They found a large proportion of teenagers in Jordan believe killing a woman deemed to have 'dishonoured' her family is 'morally right.'

They found the main demographic in support of honour killings to be boys in traditional families with low levels of education, as well as noticing substantial minorities of girl; including those who were well educated and even irreligious.

The survey suggested there was a persisting, society-wide support from the tradition.

Professor Manuel Eisner, Director of the Violence Research Centre at the Institute of Criminology, one of the researchers, said: “We expected a fair proportion of adolescents of having attitudes in favour of honour killings. But when I saw the numbers, I was really surprised about these very high figures.

”Jordan is quite a modern country in terms of its values held by the political elite, so it is quite concerning to see - especially amongst low-educated adolescents - that these beliefs are very widespread indeed.“ 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?