“Honour Killings” and “Canadian Values”

Three family members have recently been charged in the deaths of three teenage sisters and a female relative.  The three girls--Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti Shafia--and their father's first wife, Rona Mohammed, were found dead in a car that had been submerged in the Rideau Canal.  Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji`oun (to God we belong and to God we will return.)Because the three accused of the murder are the parents and older brother of the girls, and because the family, although currently l … [Read more...]

A Collection of Statements Concerning the Murder of Aasiya Hassan — Updated 3.3.09

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Sandeela Kanwal: “Honor Killing”, Race and Religion

NPR did a piece on the "honor killing" of Sandeela Kanwal on January 26, 2009. Kanwal was the daughter of Chaudry Rashid, a Pakistani immigrant who lives in a suburb of Atlanta. The police in Clayton County (where Kanwal and Rashid lived) say that Rashid killed his daughter because she wanted to divorce her husband and Rashid felt that this would bring shame upon his family. They also say that he confessed to the crime. Rashid's lawyer points out that Rashid had no access to an interpreter in p … [Read more...]

How Tarek Fatah got it wrong on both “honor” killing and domestic violence

Recently, there has been much discussion in the media over the use of the term "honor killing". Is the term racist? Does it implicate Islam for killings that are not religiously sanctioned? Are "honor killings" really domestic violence that is no different from domestic violence that occurs in every society?The National Post published a feature this past weekend that looks at these questions. The story itself was balanced, getting a variety of viewpoints and presenting the issue in a … [Read more...]

How to Use a Murder Victim: The Exploitation of the Aqsa Parvez Tragedy

A recent Toronto Life magazine article regarding Toronto teenager Aqsa Parvez's murder, entitled Girl, Interrupted, has sparked outrage in many circles in Toronto and beyond. And for very good reason. Journalist Mary Rogan has simply perpetuated stereotypes about Muslims, South Asian culture, and immigrant communities.The disrespectful treatment begins with the front cover, where you see a full page picture of Aqsa's face, posing seductively with only a hint of a strap on her bare shoulder. … [Read more...]

How to make a killing in veiled cliches

This was written by Amal Awad and originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.As I spot one veiled cliche after another in the bookshop, I realise that when it comes to Muslims in print, if kidnapped children and enslavement were the flavour of the '80s and '90s, honour killings are the leitmotif of the Noughties.Every Muslim-related book must have a beginning, an honour killing, and an end. And if there's one thing Dan Brown's success demonstrates, it's that mediocrity … [Read more...]

Mouth to Mouth: How Pakistani Senator’s Comments Overshadow the Real Story

Ramadan Mubarak everyone! I spent the first day of Ramadan at the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities protesting the 2,342,343,253 ways (roughly) that our lovely ruling party has screwed over the world. But maybe that's another story for another blog. This post might be a little shorter than usual because, honestly, marching all day and holding up signs ('Stop Hating Brown People!!!') in the hot sun with robocops on the sidelines definitely takes a lot out of me.My country of … [Read more...]