Permitting her to go ahead would have been a disgrace, the 56-year-old Pakistani immigrant and a pizza joint owner told the police and maintained he had done nothing wrong. After all he was a Muslim and his religion forbade extramarital affairs.
Sandeela Kanwal, 25, had argued with her father as they drove home from her job at Wal-Mart last Sunday night, according to the Clayton County arrest warrant. He was angry about her extramarital affair and her desire for divorce. Kanwal had married Majid Latif in an arranged marriage in the Punjab province of Pakistan in 2002.
But Kanwal filed for divorce July 1 from her husband, who lives in Chicago, according to court records. She had not seen her husband for three months nor had she spoken to her father in two months because of their disagreement on the matter, Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
When Kanwal said she would not reconsider ending her six-year marriage, Rashid became enraged. He took a bungee cord he had carried from the car into the house and strangled his daughter in her bedroom. The warrant says he had hid the cord in his pocket .
Islam allows for divorce if the husband and wife cannot live peacefully together, said Zahid Abdullah, imam of the Al-Farooq Masjid mosque in Midtown. "Killing anyone is not allowed," Imam Abdullah said. "A daughter is a daughter."
Arranged marriages are a custom that stems from a time when people married within their tribes, said Fazi Khan, owner of Al Hamrah, a Pakistani store in Lilburn.
"The majority of the arranged marriages work out better than the love marriages," said Khan, whose second marriage was arranged. "It's not so much the boy and the girl who get married, it's the families that get married," he said. "It is the pressure of the family that keeps the marriages together," Khan said.
On the other hand, if the parents took an active role in arranging the marriage, they cannot blame the children entirely if it does not work out, Khan said. "They were a part of it," he told Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Rehan Khan, no relation to Fazi Khan, lives in Henry County and says he was surprised by news of the murder.
He supports arranged marriage and plans to help his children choose spouses when the time comes. The Pakistani immigrant, now a U.S. citizen, will check out a young man and if he's satisfied with his potential will introduce him to his daughter and encourage a friendship. No dating will be allowed, he said.
When problems arise, fathers usually take the side of their child, Fazi Khan said. "Fathers would generally do anything to defend the daughter," he said.
Honor killings are more common in Muslim countries, but have also been reported in Latin America and other regions. A Canadian man of Pakistani origin was accused of killing his daughter last year in relation to her reluctance to wear a Muslim head scarf.
As many as 5,000 females each year worldwide are victims of honor killings, according to a 2000 United Nations Population Fund report.