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Hindu honor killings in the West have been too rare to allow for valid statistical comparisons. The researchers relied on English language media reports for data, selecting the first cases that met the criteria of being a Hindu or Muslim honor killing and about which most of the following seven variables were known: location/religion; gender of victim; motive; the presence or absence of torture; age; number of victims per incident; and whether it was the woman's or the man's family who committed the killing.The average age of all of the victims in this study, both male and female, was 22, with no statistically significant differences among the groups.Although the overwhelming majority of honor killings worldwide occur within Muslim communities, one would not know this by reading the mainstream media.Fearful of being labeled "Islamophobic," the American press has given only glancing attention to the widespread, honor-related ritual murder of Muslim women in the Middle East and South Asia while treating periodic honor killings among Muslim immigrants in the West as ordinary domestic abuse cases.
In such an environment, a woman who refuses to enter into an arranged marriage, seeks a divorce, or fails to avoid suspicion of immoral behavior will be viewed by her family as having dishonored them so grievously that her male relatives will be ostracized and her siblings will have trouble finding suitable spouses.
While the Qur'an preaches the equality of all Muslims (or at least all Muslim males), and Islamic leaders frequently bemoan the evils of India's caste system, vestiges of caste identification are evident among some Pakistani Muslims, who are descended from Hindus who were forcibly converted to Islam in the Middle Ages and were part of India before 1947. It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of honor killings that take place in Pakistan and India as the vast majority are believed to go unreported.
In 2010, there were roughly 900 reported honor killings in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh alone while 100-300 additional honor killings took place in the rest of the country. Also in 2010, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 800 women were killed for honor in Pakistan. Both figures likely represent only the tip of the iceberg.
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Unni Wikan, a social anthropologist and professor at the University of Oslo, observed that an honor killer typically commits the murder "as a commission from the extended family." The lead author of this article documented this in 2009 and 2010 for honor killings both in the West and in Muslim-majority countries.