Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Toronto Life On Aqsa Parvez

A bit of a storm over the Toronto Life story Girl, Interrupted, which chronicles the life of Aqsa Parvez, and her death at the hands of her father. The only problem I have with it is that the TO Life cover -- which contains the words"The untold story of Toronto's first honour killing"--is misleading and unnecessarily inflammatory given that the story itself does not demonstrate that Ms. Parvez's murder was in fact an honour killing, or even really take a stand on the issue. Search it for the phrase and you get:

Was her murder an honour killing or simply a gruesome case of domestic violence? Worldwide, an estimated 5,000 women die every year in honour killings—murders deemed excusable to protect a family’s reputation—many of them in Pakistan, where the Parvez family had emigrated from.


Aqsa’s death got to the heart of a heated debate about women in Islam. Some progressive Muslims, such as Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan of the Muslim Canadian Congress, saw her murder as evidence of rising Islamic fundamentalism in Canada. The majority of Muslim leaders, however, insisted that Aqsa’s murder was not an honour killing. Mohamed Elmasry, who heads the Cana­dian Islamic Congress, and Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, described the death as a teen issue and a case of domestic abuse.

Should it be revealed in court that the death of Aqsa Parvez indeed an honour killing, then arguments like those raised here might be seen as a deliberate attempt to evade the issue.

But, hey, if you're not going to prove it, then you shouldn't splash it across your cover.


Ti-Guy said...

Toronto's first honour killing? That's sounds rather ahistorical. I'm sure a few knocked up umarried Christian girls were dispatched in the 300-year history of this settlement, n'est-ce pas?

bigcitylib said...

Yeah yeah. And there are cases of abuse etc. triggered by Christian beliefs. But there are precise names for things. In this case, to say it must be seen in a more general context is to try and dodge the specific context. Would you say that the Catholic Church's abuse of young boys should really be considered just as a form of child abuse?

Ti-Guy said...

I'm quibbling with the factuality of these types of discussions, as you are: "Honour killing" and "first."

All these traditions and practices that kill, injure or drive women crazy are abhorrent. It goes without saying.

Would you say that the Catholic Church's abuse of young boys should really be considered just as a form of child abuse?

With the application of better science to psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, sociology, history, etc. Yes. Of course. In the context of the time the Catholic Church had political power and abuse of the powerless was normal, probably not.

mblogger said...

Firstly, I'm not sure what Islam has to do with this. Islam strictly prohibits such killings. So, let's separate "honor killing" and "Islam".

Secondly, even mentioning such thoughts in the media is irresponsible, in my opinion, since many of the readers may jump to conclusions.

Thanks for your post mentioning that it is unnecessarily inflammatory.