Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fariba Davoodi Mohajer,
“Bloodshed Stopping” is a custom in some parts of Iran, according to which if a family or tribe member is killed by a member of another family or tribe in a conflict, a girl from the family or tribe of the murderer will be married to a relative of the victim to end the dispute.
Provinces Fars, Kohgiluyeh-o-Boyerahmad, Lorestan and Charmahal-o-Bakhtiari are on their way to recognizing this tradition as a “national custom.” The first authorities who unsuccessfully tried to officially recognize this as a “national heritage” were Fars province officials in 2010. Then last August, officials from the National Heritage office in Kohgiluye-o-Boyerahmad province raised the issue but failed to gain the approval of other officials. Currently, officials from the offices of National Heritage in two other provinces have joined them to officially recognize this violent action which is practiced in specific and limited parts of the country as an Iranian national custom.
The custom bloodshed stopping happens when the family of the killer gives one of their daughters to a boy from the family of the victim as a wife. In fact, the girl is given to the other tribe as “blood money.” In these cases, the “Bloodshed Stopping Bride” is treated as a slave. These girls are harassed, insulted and subject to violence in the home of the victim’s family. Suicide and self-immolation is common among these girls and many of them choose death as opposed to the life they are forced into. In this custom, for the girl the marriage is mandatory; she does not have a choice. Among the Arabs of Khuzestan area, the family of the victim is given four daughters from the killer’s family as blood money or atonement. One of the girls will belong to the immediate family of the victim and the three others will be given to other members of the tribe. The Bloodshed Stopping Bride is called “Fasileh” which has a very low standard of living in the Arabic life style. She is not entitled to anything but food. She will not have a “bride token” or the right to seek a divorce. Her future husband will only consider a dower for the girl.
In bloodshed stopping, if the girl is one year old then her family guarantees to make her marry a boy from the victim’s family after she becomes of age.
Among the Lor nomads, for each person killed, a girl, a piece of land and some money is paid. According to the Dispute Resolution Council in Charmahal-o-Bakhtiari province, seven months ago in a conflict between two tribes in the Dashte Zarrin area of Koohrang, a man called Irat Khodadadi was killed. The custom of bloodshed stopping was carried out with 2,000 witnesses, during which the killer was saved from Qisas (Islamic legal retaliation) and instead gave the other family a girl, some money and a piece of land.
Mohammadreza Asadi, the deputy manager of the office of Cultural Heritage in Lorestan province and supporter of bloodshed stopping as an Iranian national custom, stated, “Bloodshed stopping is practiced to prevent murder and bloodshed, and to expand the precious value of forgiveness. To practice bloodshed stopping, the elders of the tribe and the family of the killer go to the family of the victim to ask for forgiveness. The national recognition of bloodshed stopping is important for reconciliation between tribes and we hope it remains in the minds of Iranians forever.”
An expert from the office of National Heritage in Kohgiluyeh-o-Boyerahmad province told Shargh newspaper that this custom in the future will probably be nationally registered under the name of these four provinces and will be officially recognized.
Meanwhile in a statement, human rights activists criticized the efforts for national recognition of bloodshed stopping as a national custom and request the officials of the Islamic Republic not to register this action as a “national heritage.”

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