Oct. 22, 2009— -- Police in Arizona are hunting for an Iraqi-American father who they say ran over his daughter with his car to punish her for becoming "too Westernized" and rebuffing the conservative ways he valued.
Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, was last seen fleeing the parking lot of the Department of Economic Development in Peoria, Ariz., Tuesday after hitting his 20-year-old daughter and her boyfriend's mother with his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Noor Faleh Almaleki is in "life-threatening condition," Peoria Police spokesman Mike Tellef told ABCNews.com today. Her boyfriend's mother, 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf, is also still hospitalized, but with non-life threatening injuries.
"It occured because her not following traditional family values. We've been told that by everybody," Tellef said. "He felt she was becoming too westernized and he didn't like that."
Calls to the Almaleki family weren't returned.
Noor Almaleki had backed out of an arranged marriage about a year ago, police learned, and had been living with Khalaf and her son in a nearby town.
Tellef said the young woman dressed in American clothing and was wearing typical Western attire when she was struck.
The family were all American citizens, though Tallef believes the parents were born in Iraq.
He said it was unclear if Faleh Almaleki intended to kill his daughter, but "it was definitely intentional that he ran them down."
Tallef declined to release the name of the hospital where Noor Almaleki was being treated while her father was still at large.
While Tellef had heard of so-called "honor killings" in other parts of the United States, this was the first such crime in Peoria.
Ibrahim Ramey, human and civil rights director for the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, told ABCNews.com that whenever this type of crime involves a Muslim it can serve to elevate the fears of people who may already harbor misconceptions about Islam.
"It's reprehensible," he said of honor killings. "It's wrong."
Ramey pointed out that a verse in the Koran specifically states that there is no compulsion in religion, meaning that people can not be compelled or coerced into being Muslim or adhering to a certain set of rules.
"People have to obey or adhere to Islam ... according to the dictates of their own conscience," he said.