ROME: A Pakistani woman died in Italy after her husband beat her with a brick for opposing the arranged marriage of her daughter, triggering a wave of outrage among Italian politicians on Monday.
The daughter, 20-year-old Nosheen Butt, was hospitalised with a cranial traumatism and a broken arm after her 19-year-old brother beat her with a stick in the courtyard of their building in Novi, near the northern city of Modena.
According to Modena prosecutors’ initial findings, the father Ahmad Khan Butt, a 53-year-old construction worker, threw his wife to the ground and beat her with a brick while the brother Umair attacked his sister.
“The victim did not want her daughter to have an unhappy relationship like the one that had been forced on her,” said deputy Modena prosecutor Lucia Musti, who is in charge of the investigation.
“The mother and the daughter were on the same side and this could be called a ‘cultural’ homicide because in addition to domestic violence there is the issue of the traditions that may have motivated the crime,” Musti said.
The family’s three other children have been taken in by Italian social services.
The Italian political class reacted with indignation at the incident which was highly similar to the cases of a girl of Pakistani origin in 2006 and a Moroccan girl in 2009 who wanted to lead Western lives with Italian boyfriends.
Livia Turco, a senior politician in the Democrats of the Left main opposition party, condemned “arranged marriages and violence against women” on the pretext of “ethnic traditions” that she blasted as “medieval practices.”
Politician Isabella Bertolini in Italy’s main conservative party said that the deceased woman, Beghm Shnez, was a “martyr for freedom, a victim of obscurantism and Islamic fundamentalism”.
She said that the father had been in Italy less that 10 years and was the owner of the local mosque.
Conservative lawmaker Souad Sbai of Moroccan origin said that such “intolerable barbarism” was the “result of failed integration” of the father and brother into Italian society.