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My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter – Aqsa Parvez’s father

By Muneeb Nasir

(June 16,2010) – “My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult. She is making me naked,” said Aqsa Parvez’s killer, her father.

Chilling words from a father.

The father, Muhammad Parvez, 60, and her brother, Waqas Parvez, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of Aqsa Parvez yesterday and have been given sentences of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 18 years.

And who is ‘his community’ that would have made Muhammad Parvez ‘feel naked’?

It is the community that upholds the feudal and patriarchal culture of male dominance that is not specific to certain religious beliefs but which resides in various diaspora communities in Canada.

This is how Ujjal Dosanjh, the Member of Parliament for Vancouver South and former premier of British Columbia, puts it in a commentary today.

“There is a huge misconception that these crimes occur because of certain religious beliefs. There is no religion that condones the murder of women. It’s the feudal/patriarchal culture of male dominance and control that’s the culprit,” writes Dosanjh.

“For example, in the Indian sub-continent, and in the Indian diaspora, such killings happen among people of many different faiths. The irrationality surrounding the notion of “family honour” provides cover for brutality and inhumanity,” he adds.

While Dosanjh uses the South Asian diaspora as an example, this sort of domestic violence is found in other communities.

There are ongoing debates on whether or not this crime was an honor killing but by any definition it is a dishonorable act to kill one’s child and a despicable one, to say the least.

While religions have nothing to do with condoning this type of act, faith communities must vigorously denounce all forms of domestic violence, most of whose victims are women and children.

“While no particular faith condones honor killings, very little is being done by any faith to use the pulpit to denounce and challenge this horrible phenomenon,” says Ujjal Dosanjh.

“Every other day you hear edicts being issued by different faiths over one aspect or another of the adherents’ lives. Why not edicts against honour killings?” he adds.

Dosanjh has issued a challenge to all levels of leadership in society.

“All of us in positions of leadership, secular or religious, are complicit in the deafening silence on this issue. We have failed Canadians by not expressing robust denunciation of each of these crimes. Attitudes and values must and do change. Only our silence stands in the way.”

Parvez case: Agreed Statement of Facts

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  • Junaid

    The issue of honor killings is so obviously against all religious practices that any practicing muslim with an ounce of intellect will know that honor killing is wrong on so many levels.

    Its useless to discuss this issue in masjids because its hard to imagine that these sort of people attend the masjid regularly.

  • A Mohammad

    Asalaam Walaikum Brothers & Sisters,

    Many of the sermons in today’s Jumaah discussed the topic of this horrible crime. Clearly, for those who know Koran there is no doubt that the treatment of our sisters, wives, and female family members in this manner has been directly addressed by Allah (SWT) in Surah Enam.

    I was at the Brampton Islamic Centre where the Imam stated 2 points which I felt everyone of us should contemplate:

    1. Honour killings are haraam to the highest degree in Islam and this is a culturally motivated psyche, not an Islamic one.

    2. Our daughters, wives, female family members are blaming Islam as the problem instead of recognizing that Islam has condemned this type of activity even from the last few minutes before our Prophet (PBUH)’s death in which he demanded the status and importance of women be recoginzed at the level Islam has prescribed – equal to men with equally important responsibilities.

    3. The problem of domestic violence is a major problem in Canada, not just within our own community. With reference to the Aqsa Pervaiz murder, there was no Islamic influence on the actions of her father and brother. No one can force a woman to cover in Islam unless she choses to do so at her own free will and decision.

    4. When non-muslim men slaughter their children, the media regards it as unimportant and not newsworthy. Once you add a muslim name, the problem becomes more specifically an Islamic one as opposed to a real societal problem.

    May Allah SWT grant Aqsa a place in Junnah inshaAllah and may he instill the sabr and strength needed by her family and the community to solve this heinous circumstance. Allah is All knowing, All Merciful.

    Jazak Allah

  • Anela

    Killing your daughter because the community will say that you weren’t able to “control” her is deplorable. The Quran says that killing one human being is like killing the whole of mankind. Muslims with this kind of mentality need to re-examine their mindset and culture. This is “cultural” Islam, not the real teachings of Islam. Even when the mother said in the newspaper that she thought that the father was only going to “break hands or feet” shows us Muslims as being backward, barbaric and ruthless even to our own. I can’t get over the fact that even the brother helped in the act. Too many times we see that the males from certain cultures are too much in control. Now the (poor) mother has lost a daughter, and now she will lose her husband and son. I hope that this is a wake up call to all Muslims out there.

  • umm thaabit

    Its just some people religiously were taught, learned and supported in cultural ignorances all their lives. When the ideology is fully absorbed, we see its fruits. Not really a Muslim thing, but a general state of mind in many societies/cultures/areas.

    Knowledge is light. If they had actual knowledge of Islaam, it would’ve guided them and prevented all havoc.

  • Fatma Nurmohamed

    It is so sad to see how families are still so backwards. How dare they? They bring shame to Islam and Muslims.

    We are accountable for our own actions, it is disgusting that people still think and behave in this way.

    We need to educate our community and speak out against these horrible crimes. Things will only get worse if we don’t step up and speak loudly against these behaviours.

  • Anam

    I’m completely shocked after reading the Agreed Statement of Facts document. I am an 18 year old Pakistani muslim girl living in Canada and after what happened to Aqsa, I’ve been asked way too many time by non-muslims whether I’m abused and hurt at home for not wearing a hijab (obviously, I’m not). What the media does not pick up on is that culture and religion are two COMPLETELY different things. There is absolutely no concept of honor killings in Islam and it’s insulting to incorporate such a beautiful religion with such a barbaric act. There are numerous verses in the Quran stating the equality of women with men and the degree of respect women should recieve in the religion:

    The Qur’an says:
    “And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.”(2:226)

    This is just one of the MANY verses stating equality of women in Islam to men. I think as Muslims, it is our responsibility to correct those who say something wrong about Islam; our responsibility to let the world see how beautiful Islam truly is.

    The father may have sworn on the Quran that he would kill her (as stated in the Agreed Statement of Facts), but obviously, he hasn’t listened or understood a word of it.

  • just a muslim

    Women need to stand up for themselves and rebel against the chauvinist societies. Overall barbaric.

  • To preserve your reputation within your community you killed the reputation of your moral religion. Kids go out of control all the time, it’s the nature of this society, nature of this world, but what are parents for, brothers for, family for. They are there to protect, to guide, and to save us from the evils of other strangers on the face of this earth. If you felt that you were not able to control your child then you should have stopped having so many of them.

  • Fauzia

    I don’t agree with the comment that it is useless to discuss this issue in the Masjid because these kind of people do not come to Masjid.

    In our community, a man was charged with a long history of domestic violence who lived behind the mosque and attend almost all daily prayers in that mosque. People like him definitely have a twisted version of Islam but many of them attend at least Juma. I think our masajids should be at the forefront of dealing with the issue of domestic violence in our community. The excuse that it happens in all communities does not mean that we should not try to eradicate this evil from our community. We can be the leaders and show other communities how a community can come together to address the issue of domestic violence.

    There are many prevalent traditional views in our community that justify domestic violence.

    1. Man of the house is the guardian of his family and is responsible for the moral conduct of his family. He would be answerable to God about his responsibility for his family.

    This view encourages the man of the family to use all possible means, including violence to keep the family’s moral conduct in line, most of the times to his own understanding of Islam. For me, the man of the family is as responsible for his family as our prophet (PBUH) was for his people. His responsibility is “to convey the message” to his family. He cannot change the hearts, Only Allah can do it. So he will be asked only about what was in his hands and that would be conveying the message.

    2. The other view in our community is that if a child is behaving out of line, it is always parents’ fault. We are too quick to judge and we are guilty of making very judgmental remarks. We need to understand that parents cannot and should not be held responsible for their child’s choices. There are many factors that influence the child’s growing up and of course parental upbringing is a very important one but it is not THE ONLY ONE. We need to make it easy for parents who are struggling with child rearing issues for whatever reasons. Listen with sympathy, do not blame the parent and never gossip or spread rumors about somebody’s child particularly a girl.

    3. Another view is that a person’s level of sincerity to Islam can be judged by the way they look-beard, hijab, niqab-for some reason set the line. A famous scholars in Pakistan once said” Beard is in Islam, Islam in not in beard”. Substitute beard with hijab and niqab and read the sentence again. While I wholeheartedly agree that as Muslim, we should practice modesty in dress and our appearance as it is instructed in Qur’an, I am totally against using the appearance to judge a Muslim by fellow Muslims. This puts a lot of undue pressure on parents. Somehow hijab and niqab become more important that the salat and other pillars of Islam.

    4. Another view that I find very disturbing is that parents have absolute authority in their relationship with their children. Well, I am a parent of four grown up children, and I am telling you that this view creates a lot of issues in the family. We, the parents, want to make every single decision for our children: what they eat, how they dress, what should they study, who should they marry, the list goes on and on. This backfires a lot. We need to share our power with our children and give them the power to make their own choices in matters related to their lives.

    5. Another traditional view is that women, on the whole, are less intelligent than man. What can I say about this view? This is such a big generalization to make about 50% of the world population. This view leaves no decision making powers for women in the family as well as in the community. This view creates a lot of issues in our families as the bearers of this point of view are constantly challenged in today’s society.

    Views such as mentioned above are needed to be challenged in our masajids as well as other places of gatherings if our community wants to take the leadership in dealing with domestic violence issue.

  • Arshad

    Everyone seems to take pride in denouncing as un-islamic. Yes it is un-islamic. Islam came to wipe out such barbarism 1400 years ago. What the community would like to see is that every imam and every religious leader should come out and not only denounce it but issue a fatwa that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are kafirs. That would be true distancing from the act. We as muslims cannot take this in the name of Islam or culture.

  • Fauzia

    I could not agree more with the comment above (Arshad). We, as a community, need to take very strong stand against violence against women (including honour killings). No ifs and buts. No hiding behind the excuse that “it happens in all communities”. If we take pride in our community as the best Ummah and as the community of beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW), then we have to show leadership. All religious leaders should issue fatawas and all political/community leaders issue formal statements against violence against women. As a husband, a father or a brother, if you don’t agree with the choices that your female relatives are making, you have the choice to separate your ways but in no circumstances, you should even be lifting your finger to hurt them.

  • A Mohammad

    On sister Fauzia and Br Arshad’s comments above, I do beleive as they do, that it is the responsibility of the community to take leadership in addressing the problem head on. The challenge in this relates to whether or not we recognize what our leaders are saying. There have been many global condemnations and fatwas issued by very reputable scholars on issues from terrorism, to domestic violence and honour killings to separate these acts from our religion…..even in Arafat during Hajj!

    We “shop for fatwas” as one Imam put it in Toronto, and if it agrees with our cultural doctrine of domination, control, justification of violence etc., then we side with it. We also have to contend with “self-proclaimed” spokespersons of the community who perpetuate Islam’s “influence” within these circumstances which does nothing but confuse and undermine the efforts of the Masajids and Imams who are setting the record straight.

    My only prayer for everyone is to follow the basic tennants of this beautiful Deen the way it is supposed to be (5 pillars). You will feel first hand how Allah SWT provides clear solutions for any difficulty we face in this duniya whether as parents or as children.

  • Arshad

    Thanks for your support, Fauzia and A. Mohammad.
    Our imams have been very quick in the past in issuing fatwas of Kufr against so many thinkers, social activists and poets including the great poet Dr. Mohammad Iqbal for his poem “Shikwah”. What is stopping our imams in issuing the same kind of fatwa against perpetrators of these barbaric crimes. We would like to see our religious leaders on radio talk shows and in the newspapers to control the damage done to our religion.

  • Mirza Ashraf

    This was indeed a barbaric act of murder in the name of family honor. As mentioned in numerous comments here, this has nothing to do with Islam the religion.

    Such medieval fanatics as this dead girl’s father and brother have no place in the modern world. It is shocking that such attitudes still persist among some Muslims in North America. It is high time North American Muslims identified such crazies in their community and rooted them out before any more Muslim girls have to pay with their lives. They should begin by ending their “holier-than-thou” attitude against Muslims sisters who don’t cover their heads. Also, end gender discrimination against women in mosques and other religious institutions. The government should end the tax-exempt status of mosques that do not provide equal space and facilities for women and men.

    This type of honor killing is a vestige of the barbaric actions of pre-Islamic Arabs when they buried alive their girl children. Refer to the Quran (81:9) to read about how this was condemned by Islam 1400 years ago.

  • Nadia ElRahi

    The whole entire family should be executed. An eye for an eye. It is this type of family, that give Islam a bad reputation. They twist the word’s of Allah and the guidance of Allah to advantage themselves and their absurd intentions. They hide behind Islam to protect their fanatical ways. They mock Islam in doing so.

    The murder of ONE human, is equivalent to the murder of the entire muslim nation.