father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage and honor killings

i took this table from the recent pew survey of muslims

honor killings permissible - pew 2013

…and made a couple of maps (adapted from this map).

the first one is a map of the differences between what percentage of muslims in each country responded that honor killing is never justifiable when a man commits an offense versus a woman committing an offense. a plus number (+) means more enthusiasm for honor killing women — a negative (-), men. here it is (click on image for LARGER view):

map of expansion of caliphate - pew honor killings diffs

what i think we can see is that, the closer you get to the arab expansion epicenter (the arab peninsula), the greater the enthusiasm for honor killing women. so in jordan it’s +47, lebanon and egypt +10, iraq +11. but when you get out to the edges of the caliphate, the differences are not so great, or they are in fact reversed: morocco -1, turkey and afghanistan and tajikistan 0. even pakistan is only +3. when you get way out to uzbekistan and kyrgyzstan, then the numbers are reversed: -14 and -3.

(it should be noted that for some reason the question was worded differently in uzbekistan, afghanistan, and iraq. everyone else was asked specifically about premarital sex/adultery and family honor, while the uzbekis, afghanis, and iraqis were only asked about family honor. see questions 53 and 54 here [pdf].)

i think that perhaps this is a reflection of what korotayev noticed, i.e. that father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage is found in those places of the world that were a part of the eighth century muslim caliphate, because those populations wanted to emulate the arabs, and the arabs practiced fbd marriage. the reason that the populations on the edges of the caliphate are less enthusiastic about honor killing women is that they were arabized less and/or later than (dare i say it) the “core arabs” and so probably have been practicing fbd marriage for a shorter amount of time. (in fact, korotayev and other russian anthropologists suggest that fbd marriage started in the levant and moved southwards into the arab peninsula, so some of the jordanians and lebanese may have started practicing fbd marriage before the arabs down in the peninsula.)

i think, too, that there is a connection between fbd marriage and honor killings, because fbd marriage leads to greater inbreeding, and greater amounts of inbreeding may very probably lead to greater frequencies of “genes for altruism” — and honor killings can be viewed as a sort-of upside-down-and-backwards form of altruism (at least they seem that way to us).

and/or the arabs simply introduced some crazy “genes for upside-down-and-backwards altruism” to these various populations, and less so on the fringes presumably because not so many arabs actually made it that far. edit: also interesting to note is that in fbd societies, all of the men in extended families/clans share the same y-chromosome. if there is a connection between violence and some gene(s) on the y-chromosome (i thought greg cochran said something about this, but i can’t find it now), maybe this is exacerbated by fbd marriage.

here is the other map — the percentage of muslims in each country responding that it is rarely, sometimes, or often justified to honor kill women:

map of expansion of caliphate - pew honor killings women

again, the numbers taper off on the edges of the extent of the caliphate.

previously: father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage and inclusive inclusive fitness and who wants sharia?

(note: comments do not require an email. many, many boobies!)

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17 Comments

  1. Your chart is very confusing. The headline “permissible” is opposite to the percentages given. And is the person who “committed the offense” the killer or the dead?

    Reply

  2. Hmm, interesting. I didn’t look particularly hard, but I was trying to find the ‘methodology’ section for the results. Would be interesting to know the breakdown of respondents by gender, age, social status, education, etc. I think you are right in your theory that Muslims from those regions where Islam arrived later in areas more distant from the Arab ‘core’ practiced fbd marriage less commonly. My impression of the practices of Muslims from such regions is that they are more likely to be adherents of Sufism, or incorporate pre-Islamic elements in to their beliefs or practices (such as elements of Zoroastrianism in Azerbaijan), rather than the stricter Wahhabi or Salafist Muslims as in Saudi Arabia.

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  3. good maps. elite emulation but the proportions of the conquering elite from the core FBD areas diluting with each phase of the expansion. makes sense imo.

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  4. @roger – “Your chart is very confusing.”

    not my chart. (~_^) the chart came from the pew report — see the link at the top of the post.

    @roger – “The headline ‘permissible’ is opposite to the percentages given.”

    yes, it is confusing, which is why i reversed the numbers on my second map. what the folks at pew are showing in their chart is the percentage of people who responded that honor killings are never justified. i suppose that they wanted to put a positive spin on the results: “60% of russian muslims think that honor killings are never justified! yay!” never mind that 40% obviously think that they are. =/

    @roger – “And is the person who ‘committed the offense’ the killer or the dead?”

    the person who committed the offense is the person who is dead as the result of the honor killing. somebody commits an offense (eg. has sex before marriage), and they are murdered in an honor killing.

    (sorry, also, in the delay in getting your comment posted. your comment went into the spam box, unfortunately. wordpress is being very screwy these days with sorting out spam vs. genuine comments. ugh.)

    Reply

  5. @chris – “I didn’t look particularly hard, but I was trying to find the ‘methodology’ section for the results. Would be interesting to know the breakdown of respondents by gender, age, social status, education, etc.”

    appendix c, right here! (^_^) ask and ye shall receive. (~_^)

    there are some … irregularities … when you look through this. for example:

    “Gender Imbalances: In Afghanistan and Niger, the survey respondents are disproportionately male, while in Thailand, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan they are disproportionately female.”

    well, no wonder the uzbekis are so much more strongly opposed to honor killing women than men! maybe azerbaijan, too.

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  6. In the words of the world’s leading expert on consanguinity (from 2008 http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_37983.asp)

    “In the UK Pakistani population, consanguineous marriage and marriage within hereditary social/occupational groups (biraderi) are highly prized as a means of maintaining and strengthening family relationships and honor.

    However well-intentioned, any call for the abandonment of these well-established marriage customs is simplistic and of limited relevance.”

    Cultural differences are interesting aren’t they?

    In the UK English population, figurative rhymes and humor within hereditary social/occupational groups (folks) are highly prized as a means of maintaining and strengthening family relationships and harmony.

    Here’s one of my mother’s favorites:

    She offered her honor, he honored her offer and all night long it was honor and offer.

    However well-intentioned, any call for the abandonment of these well-established verbal customs is simply censorship and of limited reasoning.

    Reply

  7. “I think, too, that there is a connection between fbd marriage and honor killings, because fbd marriage leads to greater inbreeding, and greater amounts of inbreeding may very probably lead to greater frequencies of “genes for altruism” — and honor killings can be viewed as a sort-of upside-down-and-backwards form of altruism (at least they seem that way to us).”

    Consang.net has inbreeding coefficients (but no FBD-data as far as I could see) on their samples so I guess you could get a picture of how inbred this caliphate area is. For instance, it seems that Algeria is much less inbred than its neighbor Egypt.

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  8. “60% of russian muslims think that honor killings are never justified! yay!”

    tra-laaa!!!

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  9. This question makes no sense. Honour-killing involves killing female relatives and male non-relatives; the two are hardly comparable. No one kills male relatives for having sex with female non-relatives! Male relatives may occasionally be killed for having sex with male non-relatives, but this seems rare. They may also be killed for non-sex offences such as converting to another religion.

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  10. “Hmm, interesting. I didn’t look particularly hard, but I was trying to find the ‘methodology’ section for the results. Would be interesting to know the breakdown of respondents by gender, age, social status, education, etc. I think you are right in your theory that Muslims from those regions where Islam arrived later in areas more distant from the Arab ‘core’ practiced fbd marriage less commonly. My impression of the practices of Muslims from such regions is that they are more likely to be adherents of Sufism, or incorporate pre-Islamic elements in to their beliefs or practices (such as elements of Zoroastrianism in Azerbaijan), rather than the stricter Wahhabi or Salafist Muslims as in Saudi Arabia.”

    Don’t make the mistake though of thinking that Sufi Muslims are any more peace and love for the kafir than the Wahhabists. There were a few Sufi Muslim emperors who wrecked complete havoc on South Asian Hindu countries.

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  11. @staffan – “Consang.net has inbreeding coefficients (but no FBD-data as far as I could see) on their samples…”

    no. the only way one might roughly infer from the consang.net data how much fbd marriage there is in any of these societies would be to have a look at how much double first cousin (D1C) marriage there is, since fbd marriage tends to increase the amount of d1c in a population. but that would only be a rough guesstimate.

    @staffan – “…so I guess you could get a picture of how inbred this caliphate area is. For instance, it seems that Algeria is much less inbred than its neighbor Egypt.”

    in many ways, yes, but if you notice, the very high rates of cousin marriage in egypt occur in the south — in nubia [pdf]. amongst the nubians. while the nubians are egyptian citizens, they’re not, strictly speaking, ethnic egyptians (at least not in my book). the cousin marriage rates of ethnic egyptians are more like those of algerians.

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  12. It looks like the reason Christianity never spread much in the Middle East was because its prohibition against cousin marriage was too hard to swallow.

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  13. @anonymous – “It looks like the reason Christianity never spread much in the Middle East was because its prohibition against cousin marriage was too hard to swallow.”

    well, no — not in the early days anyway. the first prohibitions against cousin marriage to come out of the christian church were in 506, so before that cousin marriage shouldn’t have been an issue. christianity should’ve — and did — spread throughout the middle east, but it’s been losing to islam since the eighth century.

    in the middle ages and modern times, yes, certainly the cousin marriage bans wouldn’t attract cousin marrying peoples. the roman catholic church exempted south (latin?) americans and africans from the cousin marriage bans in the 1500-1600s in order to get them to convert. it’s a wonder the church never did the same for the middle east/arab world. maybe it did at some point, i dunno. -?-

    Reply

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