19-year-old Maria Barin Aydin, stabbed to death by
her brother. Photo: Ekurd.net/Youtube.•
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STOCKHOLM,— In April 2012, a Kurdish
woman was killed in an honor killing in Sweden.
Swedish media paid significant attention to the
The case involves 19-year-old Maria Barin Aydin,
stabbed to death by her brother.
Maria was a resident of Landskrona and lived alone.
At the age of 14, her parents arranged a marriage
for her and sent her back to Kurdistan.
A few years later, Maria returned to Sweden where
she asked the Organization Supporting Women of
Multicultural Backgrounds (TANK OM) for protection
from domestic violence.
Through TANK OM, Maria participated in activities to
help raise awareness among women at risk.
Members of the organization say that a few days
prior to her death, Maria visited their office more
frequently and informed them that she was very
worried for her life.
Maria told the organization that she had to keep a
knife under her bed to defend herself from her
family. She told them that her family had become
violent with her and accused her of bringing shame
to the family.
Swedish police have detained Maria’s mother and
brother in connection with the murder. Her mother
has denied any involvement.
Seyran Duran, head of the Kurdish Women’s Union in
Sweden, believes “the role of the mother in such
cases is big.”
“Mothers know a lot of things about the family,”
Duran told Rudaw. “If mothers educate female and
male siblings equally, if they don’t teach them
violence, such incidents won’t happen.”
Duran has been working on women’s issues for years
in Sweden. She says there is no accurate data of the
number of women killed in honor killings,www.ekurd.net
but believes “between 15 and 20 ladies have been
According to Duran, one reason for lack of accurate
data is that “in most cases, families take their
daughters back to Kurdistan and kill them there.”
“Then, here in Sweden, they claim their daughter
married someone at home and stayed there. Thus they
get away without punishment,” she said.
Duran urges Kurdish women in Sweden not to go to
NGOs for help when they face domestic violence.
“Swedish organizations charge money to work on such
cases,” she says. “Whenever they work on a case,
they ask the municipality of the city in which the
victim lives for money. When the city does not
allocate money, the organization ignores the case
and thus the victim is further victimized.”
Duran says Kurdish women’s organizations intervene
directly with the family to settle the issue with
“The Kurdish organizations try to mediate between
the family and the victim,” she says. “In the past,
we have had a number of cases in which we mediated
between the victim and the family and solved the
Last week, people across Sweden lit candles for
Maria. Her portrait was placed in public places.
Kurdish residents were saddened by Maria’s death
that added another name to the list of Kurdish women
who have fallen victim to domestic violence.
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