In Mississauga Ontario yesterday a sixteen year old girl Aqsa Parvez was murdered, she was allegedly choked to death by her father. According to news reports Aqsa Parvez’s father Muhammad Parvez has now been charged with murder. Mississauga is a suburb of Toronto its a part of the greater Toronto area. The senseless murder is very chilling, depressing, and very sad. Aqsa’s older brother has been charged with obstructing police.
The teenage girl was a Muslim and there was a culture, generational, and religious clash with her family. The story according to Aqsa’s friends is that she did wear the hijab when she left her home for school. However, once the Aqsa arrived at school she removed the hijab . Family members followed Aqas to her high school and found out she wasn’t wearing the hijab.
The mainstream media are framing the young girl’s death as an “honor killing?” What do you think? Do you think the murder was an “honor killing” or is this just mainstream media sensationalism? Or a mixture of both? Will the press be culturally sensitive or paternalistic? Paternalism will not bridge the miscommunication gap between the Muslim communities and the rest of Canada. Will blaming occur and the mainstream press state that Muslim Canadians are not “assimilating” into Canadian culture? Will more finger pointing and blaming take place?
The Ontario government has a critical role here in this case. Once again the question has to be asked, where are the services for women of colour?Some women’s shelters due to inadequate funding have difficulty dealing with the cultural, racial, religious issues that relate to women of colour. Will the Ontario government step up to the plate and address this very important issue or not? Or will Premier Dalton McGuinty provide a politically correct speech and do nothing. The money is available Ontario is a rich province there is no excuse. Premier Dalton McGuinty has a responsibility here and he must act accordingly.
We cannot just sit and watch young women die and say its none of our business just because our cultures are different. We cannot just say we don’t understand Muslim culture and allow another life to perish due to our apathetic attitude and indifference. If we remain silent to misogyny then we are condoning it. I guess the question is now what can be done? What can the public do?
I think there needs to be more studies conducted, more research, and instead of just talking action needs to take place. The Ontario Government needs to realize domestic violence is a top five issue. Why are we so complacent to violence against women?
In Canada we have laws and violence against women. It is clear there needs to be more social services available for younger women and teenaged girls across racial, cultural, and religious lines. I believe not enough money is being spent on domestic violence services for women of colour. Maybe if there was a social safety net available this girl’s life could of been saved?
It is important when these tragic news stories occur to not jump to conclusions or make generalizations. The mainstream media should be careful to not “frame” and make stereotypes about an entire religion and focus on the news. However, I hope “othering” does not take place here and the mainstream media will utilize caution. However, it is well known when tragic news occurs outside of the mainstream community there is a tendency that “othering” may occur. The news here is that a young girl was terrified of her father to the point that she even left her home a few days ago.
My perspective is that religion should not be used as a blanket to conceal misogyny. The teenager obviously wanted to fit in with her classmates. It is normal for a sixteen year old girl to want to belong and be just like her friends. The murder is a tragedy a young life is now lost and a family is shattered.
If you want to voice your concerns to Premier Dalton McGuinty here is his info:
Dalton McGuinty Main Legislative Building, Room 281,
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
Fax: 416- 325-3745