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Old 12-13-2007, 09:23 PM   #1
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Muslim girl who snuck out of her scarf killed by father

http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/6...121307.article

Was Muslim girl killed for refusing scarf?

December 13, 2007
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRAMPTON, Ontario — Aqsa Parvez would leave home each morning wearing track pants and a Muslim head scarf. Once the 16-year-old got to school, she would remove the scarf and change into close-fitting jeans.

But, her friends said, her parents got wind of what she was doing. Parvez soon began showing up at school with bruises on her arms. It was a struggle that may have led to Parvez’ death this week at the hands of her father, who was denied bail Wednesday after being charged with strangling her.

The killing has ignited a debate in Canada about the conflict between first- and second-generation immigrants who struggle to maintain traditional Muslim values and their children’s desire to fit into Western culture. Canada has about 750,000 Muslims.

Parvez, whose familiy is of Pakistani origin, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition Monday after her father made an emergency call in which he claimed to have killed her, police said. She later died.

Police spokesman Wayne Patterson said authorities were working to determine the motive and refused to confirm it was over the hijab, the traditional Muslim head scarf. A lawyer for the father said there was ‘‘more to the story than just cultural issues.’’

But friends said Parvez was planning to leave home in Mississauga, Ontario, because of tensions with her family over her decision to stop wearing her head scarf at high school. They said she often had bruises and that she predicted days before her death that her father would ‘‘kill her.’’

‘‘Her dad would want her to be about Muslim this, Muslim that, but she was more about living her life to the fullest. She just wanted to show her parents that you could be religious, but also be who you wanted to be,’’ said Alex Prasad, a friend and fellow student at Parvez’s suburban Toronto school, Applewood Heights Secondary.

According to her friends, Parvez wore the hijab when she started school at Applewood Heights last year. But after getting teased about the head scarf, she stopped wearing it a few months ago.

‘‘Her parents would follow her to school or her sisters would and then go home and tell her parents what she was wearing,’’ said Joel Brown, 17. ‘‘They’d come to the back doors, just to spy up on her. Aqsa was always afraid of them, especially her brother who she’d sometimes see walking towards her, and she’d have to scramble to put her hijab back on.’’

Brown said he was getting worried because Parvez would show up at school with bruises on her arms, possible signs of abuse at home that other friends had noticed as well.

The tension with her family had become too much for Parvez, who left home on several occasions. In the days before her death, she had been staying with a friend, Krista Garbutt. She was returning home last weekend to collect some belongings to move out for good, said Brown.

Brown said Parvez told him she was afraid of going home Friday because her father would ‘‘kill her.’’ He said he thought she was speaking figuratively.

‘‘She was scared,’’ Brown said. ‘‘But students often talk like that so I thought I’d see her the next day. I didn’t expect her never to return to school.’’

An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was ‘‘neck compression,’’ or strangulation, police said Wednesday. Muhammed Parvez, a frail 57-year-old cab driver, appeared unemotional during his brief appearance at a Brampton court. He was ordered not to communicate with his son Waqas, 26, who was charged with obstructing police in connection with the girl’s death.

A publication ban was imposed on the court proceedings. But outside the courtroom, the father’s other son, Sean Muhammed Parvez, told reporters he was not sure what exactly led to his sister’s death.

‘‘We don’t know so far, we are upset,’’ he said, adding that his mother was ‘‘sick’’ because of what happened.

Muhammed Parvez’s lawyer, Joseph Ciraco, said the family is distraught.

‘‘It’s clearly a tragedy,’’ he said. ‘‘You’ve got a sister that’s gone and a father and brother in jail.’’

‘‘We’ve heard what’s being said in the newspapers and her friends about the cultural problems at home. From my brief discussions with the family, there’s more to this story than just the cultural issues, which could play a part,’’ Ciraco said.

Selma Djukic, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, called it a case of domestic abuse. ‘‘This is a tragedy. This another woman that has succumbed to domestic violence and we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework,’’ Djukic said.

Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, also called it a domestic violence issue.

‘‘To say it was about her not wearing the hijab, I think that’s an oversimplification. All we’ve heard is from her peers saying that,’’ Siddiqui said. ‘‘Many of us who have teenagers or had teenagers know this is a very difficult time. Their hormones and emotions are raging and they are trying to assert their independence.’’
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:28 PM   #2
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I just hate to hear things like this. I can't believe how barbaric some people still live.
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:06 PM   #3
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Selma Djukic, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, called it a case of domestic abuse.
That sounds about right, especially given the background story here (previous beatings, multiple episodes of having run away from home to escape violence). And perpetrators of domestic violence are often very controlling.
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

That sounds about right, especially given the background story here (previous beatings, multiple episodes of having run away from home to escape violence). And perpetrators of domestic violence are often very controlling.
I don't think it is that simple in this case. It goes beyond your classical domestic violence, because of the cultural undertones and notions of what is and is not acceptable socially. I think it does an equal disservice to these women to suggest it is a pure domestic violence issue as it does to frame it in a culturally intolerant way.

There is a considerable difference in the attitudes of the perpetrator who is a wife beater than the one who has potentially been socially conditioned to believe his actions are sanctioned.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:13 AM   #5
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I should have clarified, I meant as opposed to the presumption of a "religiously sanctioned" killing, which is what most of the headlines I've seen for this story appear to suggest. I think the sentences following the one I quoted, from the same person ("...we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework") are probably to the point. But at the same time, I don't think there are easy black-and-white distinctions to be drawn between "pure" domestic violence and the "socially conditioned" kind, especially when you're talking about fathers using violence and threats against adolescent daughters whose sexual self-expressions they find unacceptable, which happens in many cultures, including our own. It might be easy enough to compare where exactly two given cultures deem such behavior to have crossed the line into the pathological (and it seems all commentators here, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, agree that strangling your daughter for not wearing a headscarf crosses that line) but that doesn't show where the line between "pure" and "socially conditioned" domestic violence is.

The story actually reminds me somewhat of a (thank God) much less finally tragic series of incidents involving a girl, somewhat of a friend, who lived in the neighborhood I grew up in. Their whole family was, so far as I could tell, fairly devout Southern Baptist. Her father had always been "mildly" physically abusive--if I can call it that--towards all his children (shaking and slapping them over any number of "misbehaviors"). When this girl hit her teenage years, she became fairly rebellious, which she often expressed sexually (both in the literal sense, with boys from school--which I'm sure her parents guessed even if they didn't know per se--and also in terms of pushing the envelope with clothing and makeup), and this led to an escalation of conflicts with her father. She'd call him an asshole and a jerk; he'd punch or smack her, hard, and on more than one occasion called her "slut" "whore" etc. Like the girl in the story, she also ran away from home multiple times, and finally left for good when she was 16. Nothing on the order of what happened to Aqsa Parvez ever occurred, but if it had, God forbid, I can pretty much guarantee you the headline wouldn't have been "Christian kills daughter for unchastity" or what have you, even though one way or another such "socially conditioned" attitudes surely played into his abuse. I doubt that he at any time felt he'd done anything not "justified" by her behavior.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:11 AM   #6
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This is terribly sad. I don't know how parents can do something like this or even think they have a right to do this in a country like Canada.
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

I don't think it is that simple in this case. It goes beyond your classical domestic violence, because of the cultural undertones and notions of what is and is not acceptable socially. I think it does an equal disservice to these women to suggest it is a pure domestic violence issue as it does to frame it in a culturally intolerant way.

There is a considerable difference in the attitudes of the perpetrator who is a wife beater than the one who has potentially been socially conditioned to believe his actions are sanctioned.
I don't know much about the case, but what you say sounds right.

It's awful how Islam is practiced in certain parts of the world. My parents have always been relatively liberal Muslims, and their parents, too. My father used to be hit by his dad (as corporal punishment), though, and that upsets me because he has quite an emotionally violent temper and I think it's partly rooted in this.

I do think that culture can change, though. In the same way, we might not see the actions of Christian fundamentalists, whether Evangelical or Mormon, as inherent to how Christianity must be practiced. I'm not saying that you're saying otherwise. I'm just clarifying my position.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
I should have clarified, I meant as opposed to the presumption of a "religiously sanctioned" killing, which is what most of the headlines I've seen for this story appear to suggest. I think the sentences following the one I quoted, from the same person ("...we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework") are probably to the point. But at the same time, I don't think there are easy black-and-white distinctions to be drawn between "pure" domestic violence and the "socially conditioned" kind, especially when you're talking about fathers using violence and threats against adolescent daughters whose sexual self-expressions they find unacceptable, which happens in many cultures, including our own. It might be easy enough to compare where exactly two given cultures deem such behavior to have crossed the line into the pathological (and it seems all commentators here, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, agree that strangling your daughter for not wearing a headscarf crosses that line) but that doesn't show where the line between "pure" and "socially conditioned" domestic violence is.

The story actually reminds me somewhat of a (thank God) much less finally tragic series of incidents involving a girl, somewhat of a friend, who lived in the neighborhood I grew up in. Their whole family was, so far as I could tell, fairly devout Southern Baptist. Her father had always been "mildly" physically abusive--if I can call it that--towards all his children (shaking and slapping them over any number of "misbehaviors"). When this girl hit her teenage years, she became fairly rebellious, which she often expressed sexually (both in the literal sense, with boys from school--which I'm sure her parents guessed even if they didn't know per se--and also in terms of pushing the envelope with clothing and makeup), and this led to an escalation of conflicts with her father. She'd call him an asshole and a jerk; he'd punch or smack her, hard, and on more than one occasion called her "slut" "whore" etc. Like the girl in the story, she also ran away from home multiple times, and finally left for good when she was 16. Nothing on the order of what happened to Aqsa Parvez ever occurred, but if it had, God forbid, I can pretty much guarantee you the headline wouldn't have been "Christian kills daughter for unchastity" or what have you, even though one way or another such "socially conditioned" attitudes surely played into his abuse. I doubt that he at any time felt he'd done anything not "justified" by her behavior.
Excellent points, yolland. I hadn't thought of it that way.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:48 AM   #8
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to yolland's post. Scary story about that girl you shared, too, I'm glad she was able to get out.

What a horrible story this is. I understand older generations wanting to stick to their traditions, but if the younger ones want to break away from them, there's ways to discuss and deal with that issue without resorting to violence. There could've been room for compromise, there could've been a chance for this father and daughter to talk about the tradition and hear each other out, but no... I feel bad for the family.

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Old 12-14-2007, 06:09 AM   #9
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I am deeply upset with the event, regardless of the initial cause of violence.

Again, this seems to be a case of a Muslim misunderstanding hijab, too - because it's not a fundamental piece of clothing to any Muslim.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:14 AM   #10
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Horrible. Abuse like this has no place in a civilized society.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
There is a considerable difference in the attitudes of the perpetrator who is a wife beater than the one who has potentially been socially conditioned to believe his actions are sanctioned.
This is what frightens me so much in this case. I have heard that among some extreme fundamentalists, it's a matter of family honor for a male family member to kill a girl who has shamed the family in a sexual way. While this usually means promiscuity or adultry (though that's not grounds for murder either) this man may have percieved his daughter's actions that way. (she had posed in glamorous pictures on her myspace) On the CNN news report, one man had said that some fundamentalists consider any girl who refuses to cover her head a 'sexual object.' It would be heinous if this father would attempt to use his cultural and religious beliefs to defend his actions.
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Old 12-16-2007, 04:48 AM   #12
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Yolland, once again your post sums up what I want to say. Although a horrendous crime, since the eons of time some fathers are hell bent on keeping their children with usually some religious beliefs, under the thumb, thinking what they are doing is the "right" thing.

I am tired of people getting all up in arms over some of the islamic ideas. There are millions and millions of muslis living in happy peace with these ideals, just as there are plenty of white christian abusers and horrendous shithead people.
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:39 AM   #13
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Not all Muslims are like this. In Turkey, many women don't wear the scarf. There's no obligation to do so. Some do, but it's by choice. Turkey is a secular state with freedom of religion. Christians, Jews and Muslims are all free to practice their religion. If you don't have a religion, that's OK too.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:53 AM   #14
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy


I am tired of people getting all up in arms over some of the islamic ideas. There are millions and millions of muslis living in happy peace with these ideals, just as there are plenty of white christian abusers and horrendous shithead people.
That doesn't make it okay. I am tired of people disregarding stories like this just because it's not PC. It's abhorrant that archaic cultural practices can be this extreme. Every religion and culture had old fashioned ways at one time, but they had the intelligence and reason to change with the times. This is what the girl was trying to prove, that she could still be religious and good regardless of what she wore.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:07 PM   #15
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Great post yolland.

Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch


This is what frightens me so much in this case. I have heard that among some extreme fundamentalists, it's a matter of family honor for a male family member to kill a girl who has shamed the family in a sexual way. While this usually means promiscuity or adultry (though that's not grounds for murder either) this man may have percieved his daughter's actions that way. (she had posed in glamorous pictures on her myspace) On the CNN news report, one man had said that some fundamentalists consider any girl who refuses to cover her head a 'sexual object.' It would be heinous if this father would attempt to use his cultural and religious beliefs to defend his actions.
I've read of a few cases like this in UK, where the daughter, normally in late teens has been killed for an honour killing, as she has shamed the family, or she has had to run away for fear of her life and with the help of the police or organisations set up to help women in this position.

Although these cases happen to a tiny minority of the muslim population, its sad these things happen in these days.
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Old 12-16-2007, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
That doesn't make it okay. I am tired of people disregarding stories like this just because it's not PC. It's abhorrant that archaic cultural practices can be this extreme. Every religion and culture had old fashioned ways at one time, but they had the intelligence and reason to change with the times. This is what the girl was trying to prove, that she could still be religious and good regardless of what she wore.
Exactly.

And even so, I'm fine with Islam having its traditions just like any other religion/culture, they have things about their faith that make them very unique and fascinating, and it's cool. But when a clash of opinions leads to people getting killed over it...there's a problem. And I'd say that no matter what religion or culture we're talking about.

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Old 12-16-2007, 06:44 PM   #17
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Here's a similar story. Its about how some Muslim girls in the UK go under surgery to reconstruct their hymens so they would be "born again" virgins on their wedding night.

Quote:
If my husband cannot prove to his family that I am a virgin, I would be hounded, ostracised and sent home in disgrace. My father, who is a devout Muslim, would regard it as the ultimate shame.

"The entire family could be cast out from the friends and society they hold dear, and I honestly believe that one of my fanatically religious cousins or uncles might kill me in revenge, to purge them of my sins. Incredible as it may seem, honour killings are still accepted within our religion.



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1879
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
I am tired of people disregarding stories like this just because it's not PC.
I think you're confusing questioning certain assumptions about the specifics of the perpetrator's mindset with questioning the condemnation of the act itself. The two have nothing to do with each other.
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch


That doesn't make it okay. I am tired of people disregarding stories like this just because it's not PC. It's abhorrant that archaic cultural practices can be this extreme. Every religion and culture had old fashioned ways at one time, but they had the intelligence and reason to change with the times. This is what the girl was trying to prove, that she could still be religious and good regardless of what she wore.
Who's disregarding stories like this because it's not PC?
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:32 PM   #20
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I'd also be wary about slapping the label 'honor killing' on this case without knowing a lot more than has yet been reported about the precise trajectory of what happened, the specific subculture within Pakistan Mr. Parvez comes from and its customs, and how extensive his personal history of committing domestic violence is. Honor killings do occur with some regularity in numerous regions of the world--specific areas of South and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa--among (primarily) clan- or tribe-based, patriarchal societies. While their incidence does tend to be concentrated in certain particular areas and/or among ethnic group(s) native to those areas, the practice is neither unique to, nor original to, any one particular religion or nationality--Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in the Punjab have all committed it; Christian, Druze and Muslim Arabs have all committed it; Christian and voudun Haitians have all committed it. Islam per se has no such concept as 'honor killing'--the closest thing in sharia law would be the allowance of capital punishment specifically for married men or women who commit adultery, though most Muslim states' constitutions forbid that--and I know of only one Muslim state, Jordan, which legally permits 'honor killings' in the usual sense (i.e., execution of a woman by male relatives for premarital sex), based on a rationale called al-urf--i.e., legitimacy of traditional local customs as sources of legislation in situations where the Koran and Sunnah don't provide clear precedents.

In Pakistan specifically, since that's where Mr. Parvez is from, there are several ethnic groups among whom karo kari (Urdu/Sindhi for 'honor killing'; Pashto tur) has some cultural sanction as a punishment for zina (illicit sexual intercourse--adultery, premarital sex, homosexual sex). Karo kari is illegal in Pakistani law proper but, nonetheless, by government estimates about 1000 Pakistanis (roughly 80% women/20% men) are killed in the name of karo kari annually. I've never personally heard of karo kari being committed for not wearing a headscarf, and am not at all sure whether Pakistanis of Mr. Parvez's specific ethnic group would even recognize such a concept. Not saying it doesn't exist, just that I've never heard of it, and lack sufficient information about his particular subcultural background to knowledgeably address that possibility. [ETA: I should qualify that zina is often a flagrantly trumped-up charge, particularly in cases where the woman's family wishes to prevent a marriage that would entail transferring valuable property to her new family.] It's also possible that Mr. Parvez is simply a violent man with a history of using beatings and threats to enforce his will in the home as well as a poorly assimilated immigrant who could not and would not accept the reality that his children are growing up in a different cultural world than he did, one with different sensibilities about what constitutes proper attire. If something more like the latter is the case, than 'honor killing' would definitely not be an appropriate label; that's far too arbitrary a use of the term. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Parvez and his lawyer choose to articulate his motives in court (as well as how other members of his ethnic cohort in Canada react to that) but at any rate, that hasn't happened yet.
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