THE UGLY CRIME of Honor Killing – Part 2
Unfortunately, some media portray any abuse in Muslim families as a result of family conflict over the rules of Islam, as in the case of Aqsa Pervez and Shafia sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti. Media tend to report only the visible, perhaps symbolic, symptoms of a complex cluster of issues that led to their horrible premature death.
For example, the Shafia murders appear to have been the climax of an escalating dispute between rebel teenagers and a strict, inflexible home environment. In addition to a clash of parent-child wills over clothes and dating, there were probably arguments over studies, religious practices, social life, friends and freedom.
But all of those issues are secondary now. These vibrant young women are dead, their potential forever unrealized.
I ask myself how parents could not find mercy and understanding in their hearts for children who only wanted to explore life, as we all did at that age. What was their terrible “sin” or “mistake” that their own families could not reconcile it with their care and responsibilities as parents? Nothing girls may have done, or threatened to do, could possibly excuse what can only have been a horrifically brutal response on the part of so-called “devoted Muslims.” It seems that the mercy disappeared from the heart, as the Prophet Muhammad said, in explaining the actions of people who fail to show kindness, love or acceptance toward their own children. Indeed, nothing in Islam can justify what some of the families are going through today.
These are some things that I do know, feel, and hope for in remembering of such heart-rending tragedies as death of Aqsa Pervez and Shafia sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti:
No one’s daughter – not yours, not mine – should have to experience any kind of abuse and violence. Thus, I call on Canada to advocate, and nationally enforce, a “zero-tolerance” policy toward any act of domestic violence.
For whatever self-considered reasons parents choose to threaten an innocent young life, they have no excuse to follow through on a heinous act that violates all conceivable social and religious norms – Muslim and non-Muslim alike. If they do so, they go beyond all normal and acceptable norms in human society. They repudiate a covenant with the Lord and their homeland of Canada. They cross all lines of acceptability, both religious and secular.
Such individuals must be held fully accountable and serve life sentence, so that others who are guilty of familial abuse and domestic violence will understand that the consequences are severe and uncompromising. And that is why Canadian Muslims must call for the strongest possible judicial sentencing against all those who may be proven responsible for family violence and abuse. If Muslims take a stand and voice their opinion against murders so-called “honor killing” and all domestic violence, the effect will spread like wildfire. It is not only our social responsibility, but a religious responsibility as well.
I urge the 1-million-plus-strong Canadian Muslim community to collectively open its mind to logic and reason. I want all Muslims to open their hearts, to bring compassion and love into the lives of their children and every human being.
In short, I challenge us all to be true Muslims to especially our families, to one another and to all around us. Only when people act in this manner they can be called “true devotees” of our faith – a faith whose actions produce only good and righteous deeds. For that to happen, Canadian Muslim leaders must set standards for more and better social justice education, restorative justice, family counseling and community development.
(…to be continued in the next issue…Part 3)