Aqsa—A Tragic Catalyst for An Overdue Argument

Chances are, you have never heard of 16-year old Aqsa Parvez. Our Canadian and Muslim Parlouristas may have though. Aqsa was a beautiful girl and tried her best to be a typical western teenager, but she was also the victim of (arguably) Toronto’s first honor killing. Aqsa refused to wear hijab (her head scarf) and tried, unsuccessfully, to break away from her Islamic family’s strict rules—resulting in her dying by the hands of her father and brother.
After reading many articles about her case, the argument that seems prevalent is if this was an honor killing, or rather, a tragic case of domestic abuse? Honor killings/attacks are not unusual in Muslim societies around the globe, but Aqsa wasn’t killed by her father because she went against Islam, she was killed by her father because she went against him. Using the “Islam” attack is just too easy, but tackling issues of modern and evolving female expression, control, identity and sexuality in traditionally patriarchal/religious societies-now that’s a doozy for many. Even for Michelle Malkin, but she’s has a penchant for ignorance, besides being a bit “touched”, so I’m not surprised.

The bigger argument overall is how one society adapts to immigrant culture (and vice versa) and what is acceptable concerning violence and abuse when cultural/religious views apply. If one society chooses not to full incorporate itself into the larger society due to religious or social differences, what is the correct mode of process to deal with the situation? This is not to defend the killing of a young girl, but to probe how a western society will evolve into something more multicultural, which is inevitable.

I just came back from Toronto and probably met more immigrant Canadians than native-sons who will eventually have children that will have been raised with a dual, even triple mindset. They are Canadian, yet Trinidadian or Pakistani or Ethiopian, and hopefully, they will never have to choose between being one over the other. Aqsa wanted nothing more to be a “regular” girl, and the western idea of normalcy conflicted with her family’s idea of “proper” and she paid for it with her life.

-JBaker thinks that no one represents all, and all doesn’t represent one

Girl Interrupted, Toronto Life

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington