If a father shoots his adult daughter in the head three times while asleep in her bed, then claims it was an accident, it sounds too bizarre to believe.
Something like this could not happen here in America. Or could it?
Authorities say that’s exactly what happened in Rocky River, Ohio, on Sept. 27, leaving the community in shock and disbelief.
Last week in court, Jamal Mansour, 64, pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges, and his attorney reaffirmed the same reason for the shooting: A mere accident.
This despite new evidence entered into court that Mansour was caught on video loading his revolver at a gas station the day before the shooting.
That adds yet another layer to the case. Not only did Mansour shoot his 27-year-old daughter, Tahani, three times in the head at close range, once from just one foot away, while she lie helpless in her bed at 1:15 a.m., but he should have known his gun was loaded, prosecutors said.
The prosecution is not buying the “accident” theory, saying the video of him loading his gun the day before proves he had a “calculated plan.”
Prosecutor Michael O’Shea has described the killing as an assassination carried out “execution style,” but he refuses to say what could have motivated Mansour, leading some to suggest that it was an honor killing.
But the defendant’s attorney, Angelo Lenardo, took issue with that, saying the mere suggestion was “racist and offensive.”
To decipher a motive, the prosecutors may need to consult an expert on Shariah law, which guides Muslim fathers in family matters.
Mansour is a Muslim who migrated to the United States in the 1978 from Jordan. And, according to experts on Islamic law, his execution-style killing of his adult daughter bears the hallmarks of an Islamic honor killing.
Tahani had recently traveled alone on a business trip to Las Vegas against her father’s wishes. They’d reportedly had an argument about that trip.
“Mr. Mansour might have assimilated to Western culture sufficiently to shave his beard and wear jeans but not to accept his daughter behaving like Western girls,” said Daniel Akbari, a former top Shariah lawyer in Iran and author of “Honor Killing: A Professional’s Guide to Sexual Relations and Ghayra Violence from the Islamic Sources.”
Tahani Mansour was educated and successful. She received a doctor of pharmacy degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University in 2013, worked as a clinical pharmacist for University Hospitals and taught at the University of Findlay and the medical school, according to her LinkedIn account.
Yet she still lived at home under her father’s protection, a totally Islamic thing to do for even a grown adult woman.
Mansour, a successful businessman who owns several gas stations and stores in the Cleveland area, eventually became a U.S. citizen. He’d traveled to Jerusalem recently to participate in a family business venture that involved the construction of an apartment complex.
Sharia rules for dress and conduct
Shariah rules for women’s dress and conduct are part of the foundation of Islamic culture, Akbari told WND in an email.
“Any Muslim who has lived in a society with a dominant Islamic culture adopts those laws to some degree and makes them to be a part of his or her belief,” Akbari said.
“Muslim men who immigrate to Western countries bring that sense of jealousy toward their female family members with them and enforce the Shariah rules in their families,” he added.
He said the correct term in Arabic is not actually “honor.”
“Islam has a term for that sense of jealousy, which by mistake has been translated as ‘honor.’ The Islamic term for that jealousy is ‘ghayra,’ which literally means excluding others. Islamic rules for dress and conduct cover all aspects of a Muslim woman’s life, how to dress, how to walk, how to talk, and so on.
“When a Muslim woman violates any of those rules commanded by Islam for her behavior, she violates the Muslim man’s ghayra, causing him to feel he is responsible to take action and stop her,” Akbari said. “Islam provides a hierarchy of actions the man can take, starting with scolding the woman and ending with killing her.”
Tahani Mansour was the youngest of six children.
Senator’s prophetic warning: ‘Murdered for being too westernized’
Ironically, just one day after the alleged murder of Tahani Mansour by her father, a Senate hearing was held on refugee resettlement in which Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., warned that with the importation of Muslim migrants comes the importation of Muslim cultural norms that most Americans would find aberrant and abhorrent. Among those he named were honor violence and female genital mutilation, WND reported.
Sessions said there are an estimated 23 to 27 victims of honor killings each year in America, citing published reports.
“That’s in America, not in Syria. And 91 percent are murdered for being too ‘westernized.’ That doesn’t sound like assimilation to me,” Sessions said at the hearing. “Most are daughters, subjected to physical and emotional abuse all related to fundamentalist Islam.”
More than 513,000 mostly Muslim women in America are also at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. That’s a three-fold jump since 1990.
Muslim dad previously threatened suicide
Records show that Jamal Mansour had previously threatened to commit suicide over Tahani’s work-related trip to Las Vegas.
The station WOIO obtained a police report dated Dec. 1, 2012, indicating that someone had called the authorities saying Jamal had threatened to take his own life if his daughter failed to return home from a conference in Las Vegas by 7 a.m. the next day.
Police performed a welfare check on Jamal, who denied ever threatening to harm himself but confirmed he was upset with Tahani for going to Las Vegas.
Tahani’s brother called 9-1-1 for help at 1:15 a.m. He told the operator his father just shot his sister in her room at the family’s home on Vine Court.
This is how a portion of the 9-1-1 call went:
Operator: “Go ahead sir.”
Caller: “Yes, my sister has been shot. Please send an ambulance, please.”
Operator: “OK, where has she been shot at?”
Caller: “In her room.”
Operator: “OK. Did she shoot herself? Did you see who shot her?”
Caller: “No, my father shot her.”
Dr. Joan Horvath told Fox 8 in Cleveland that the family lived on the street for years but kept to themselves. Other neighbors said the same thing.
“I understand that they have children. I have never seen the children. I would not recognize them. I’ve seen the father cutting the grass and occasionally the mother puttering with flowers, but I have never seen the children,” said Horvath. “The thought to me, of a father shooting a daughter, who is normally the apple of a father’s eye, is so heartbreaking. What drove him to that. What are the dynamics of that family that made him feel that the only way to stop something is to shoot his daughter?”