No sympathy for murdered Pop Star

In most Muslim countries, it’s impossibly hard to be a woman. For starters, men have all the power, relegating women to the role of caretakers and not much else. Men also absolve themselves from any crime or misdeeds; if a husband beats his wife, she is to blame for not having been servile enough or not having been mindful enough of his moods.

It’s so nutty that when a rich Egyptian real estate tycoon paid $2 million to have his former lover killed, public opinion was still on his side. Suzanne Tamim was a Lebanese pop star who caught the attention of Hisham Talaat Moustafa, and when she decided to leave him, he had her killed. For many Egyptian women, her story is a cautionary tale of what happens when you defy the will of a husband:

She made him kill her, and she deserves it,” said Sherine Moustafa, a 39-year-old Egyptian corporate lawyer, an opinion that was echoed by every woman of dozens interviewed. “If he killed her, this means she’s done something outrageous to drive him to it,” reasoned Ms. Moustafa, who has no relation to the convicted businessman. Both her sister and mother, who sat next to her, agreed.

It obviously doesn’t help that Tamim dressed less than modestly and had taken a career most conservative women would disapprove of. Still, this level of callousness is shocking to our Western sensibilities, mostly because we can’t imagine feeling sympathy for the murderer rather than the victim. This is the power and control men have in the Middle East, and it’s not something that will change overnight. Considering how much Iran fears human rights and women’s studies (because these are supposedly “western” ideas that are incompatible with Islam), we can’t expect the situation to change in that part of the world for a long time to come. Fun, isn’t it?

Comments (4)

  • avatar


    Even though we like to think this line of thinking is completely foreign to our “western” sensibilities, this isn’t that different from the view that women here who dress “provocatively” are just asking for it when it comes to rape or sexual harassment. That way of thinking is certainly less common here, but it does still exist.

    It’s interesting that there are women who agree this woman deserved it and made the husband do it. I’m curious if they actually believe that or do they simply say so because it just isn’t safe to have your own opinion in that area. Either way it’s scary. I skimmed the article and there is a quote from a woman saying she doesn’t want her daughter looking or acting like the victim, so she’s glad this happened, it will serve as an example for young women. It’s disgusting, simple as that.

  • avatar

    J.N. Hudson

    I wonder how many of those women that said she deserved it did so out of fear that giving voice to a contrary opinion would only result in placing themselves in danger. Either way this is yet another example of the harm that religious indoctrination inflicts on all societies on a nearly daily basis.

  • avatar


    Is it just me or does it make any of you cringe when you hear anyone making the claim (especially to a newspaper) that someone “deserves it” in reference to being murdered?

  • avatar


    I think the terrible truth that this killing illustrates is that many more women will end up dying in every benighted corner of the world until they finally are able to take control of their lives. No civil rights have ever been “granted,” they can only be seized by those who’ve been denied them. All we white males can do is treat every one as we would be treated, and teach our children to do the same. Hey, Jesus didn’t invent the “golden rule,” right?

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