Brutal murder of university student Iman Rasheed shakes Jordan
On Thursday, Uday Hassan, a 37-year-old man, approached Rasheed at the Applied Science University where she was a student in the northern governorate of Irbid. He shot at her five times, hitting her in the head. Rasheed was rushed to a hospital, where she succumbed to her wounds.
Hasan then fled the scene, leading to a four-day manhunt before security forces found him on Sunday.
Jordanian security forces tracked down Hassan and surrounded the farm where he was hiding on Sunday afternoon. According to the Jordanian Public Security Directorate, a standoff ensued between Hassan and security forces.
Despite attempts by the security forces to negotiate with Hassan, he shot himself in the head, killing himself.
"She was due to graduate next year… It feels like fire in my stomach," Rasheed's mother said in an interview on Sunday with Al-Arabiya.
"I want to know why. [Iman] didn't hide anything from me, this boy never came to request her [hand in marriage]," she said in another interview.
Jordanian authorities prohibited local media from reporting on Rashid's case and the public security directorate told outlets to only use statements given from official governmental sources.
A lack of reporting on the case led Jordanians to speculate on the causes of her murder and caused a flurry of rumours about the case. Public authorities have yet to release a motive for the crime.
The killing of Rasheed comes on the tail of the murder of Nayera Ashraf at the doors of the university she attended in Egypt by a man whose proposal Ashraf refused. The man, reportedly a fellow student, beat and stabbed Ashraf in broad daylight before being restrained by bystanders.
The string of shocking crimes against women by enraged men caused significant public anger and shock in Jordan.
"If a girl talks with a man, her family will kill her. If she refuses to talk to him, the man will kill her," one social media user said in response to the killing of Iman Rasheed.
Jordan has protection bodies for women facing domestic violence, but critics have alleged that the institutions are often too slow to act.
In July 2020, Jordanian women took to the street to protest the killing of a woman identified as Ahlam by her father. The killing was reportedly a so-called "honour killing" – a term used to describe killings of women by relatives for perceived actions that 'harm a family's honour.'
Friends of Ahlam said that she had contacted the Department for Family Protection multiple times for help, warning that her father wanted to kill her, but no action was taken.
According to a 2020 report by Euro-Med Monitor, "the social reality in Jordan forces battered women to stay silent … Such fear and reluctance may necessarily put them in more danger."
The report added that the Jordanian system of social protection "needs to be radically reformed."