By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
EATON, MD (ANS) -- In a groundbreaking episode, SAT-7's "Forbidden" program hosted the survivor of an attempted honor killing -- one of the most gruesome practices targeting women in the Middle East and North Africa.
Imed said, "Honor crimes are seen by their perpetrators as a normal reaction to rid them of some scandal or to cleanse them of shame."
Imed continued, "An honor crime is a crime typically committed against a woman who has had a sexual relationship, or love relationship, outside the tribal framework or outside the conservative culture. Also, there are some societies that practice what are called love crimes, only because the girl has refused a marriage arranged by her family."
The story said Imed asked viewers early in the episode, "Why are the women always the ones to pay? Where are the men?" The controversial discussion of honor crimes provoked heated opinions from viewers.
According to the story about the show, Youssef (name changed for confidentiality), a viewer from Egypt, called the studio to say, "The subject you're discussing is very sensitive. But it is impossible that it (honor crimes) will return the honor again.The Messiah said, when He intervened for the sinful woman, 'Whoever of you who has not sinned, let him throw the first stone.' God forgives, but we are unable to forgive. Why?"
Youssef added that that he does not respect any young man who participates in honor crimes.
Heba (name changed for confidentiality), a survivor, was willing to appear on international television. However, her face was shadowed, and her voice changed, to protect her identity.
The story said Heba told the audience how her family tried to murder her after discovering she had a romantic relationship with a married man. This was their reason for hunting Heba, but the scandals in her life had started long before she was capable of making adult decisions.
As a child, the story said, Heba never felt safe at home in her village. Her father raped her repeatedly, and she did not feel loved by her parents. She would later confront her family about the abuse, but they did not believe her.
There seemed to be a lot of hope for Heba when she moved out of the house and into the city for higher education. Ambitious career goals led her to study law.
At the same time, the story recounted, she was looking for love in romantic relationships, and eventually got pregnant while dating a married man who was ten years older. Heba's family found out about the relationship. Her sister called on the phone to threaten her, saying, "You're going to die. We're going to kill you."
The coming months would change Heba's life entirely.
The story recounted that someone claiming to be a wealthy suitor contacted Heba online and lured her to a meeting place, where he alleged he would rent her an apartment. When her taxi approached the meeting place, another car cut if off. A man jumped out and tried to shoot her, but his gun jammed and her life was spared.
There was a second attempt to target Heba, but a friend warned that she was being watched. She decided to flee the country.
Th e story recounted that Heba ran away from her old life and, soon after, into the arms of Jesus. In her new country of residence, Heba met a Christian who shared God's love. She decided to follow Christ. How did she feel about her past lifestyle?
The story said Heba shared on the show, "I pray, 'Lord, I come to you and consider you my Savior. I confess my sin. I ask that you resolve the matter. I don't consider my son a mistake, but rather the opposite. I want to be a servant.'"
According to the story about the show, Heba plans to have her baby and raise her son without the help of his father, who refuses to claim him.
A viewer in his 70s called the studio from France and offered to adopt Heba, so that her baby could have a better life.
He said, "Thank you, Professor Imed, for this beautiful, practical, humane episode. There is no such thing as 'honor' or 'dishonor' or any such empty speech. We all sin, and we sin every day."
SAT-7 said in the story that its staff have been in close contact with Heb a, encouraging her in spiritual growth and helping to find a safe place to live. Heba is still hiding from her family, but she is no longer on the run. She is at home with a community of Christians in a new country.
SAT-7 noted that honor crimes are not limited to the Middle East and North Africa, but have also been documented in Canada and the United States.
SAT-7 is Christian satellite television broadcasting the hope of Jesus to those in the Middle East and North Africa.