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June 17, 2010

The troubling truth of integration

Unfortunately, Aqsa Parvez’s tragedy in 2007 is understood and felt by many other Muslim girls. This week, the Aqsa Parvez’s father and brother pleaded guilty to her murder in their home. The killing was deemed as a rare honour killing, and their culture and belief system is not rare in Canada. Aqsa fought to wear western clothing, go to the mall, and wanted to apply for a part-time job, something her father refused to allow. Aqsa consistently rebelled against her father’s absolute rule, and ran away from home. Aqsa’s father and brother both told people they were justified in killing Aqsa simply because she was embarrassing the family in front of the neighbours. Aqsa’s older sister, Shasma, told police that Aqsa disrespected both her father and her religion, and that whoever did this to her sister should not go to jail. In Aqsa’s local community, what had been done was understood. At the local mosque, where kids of Aqsa’s age attend Islamic class, the kids agreed that she’d largely brought it on herself. The imam did not disagree with them. The troubling question of whether time will allow for the smoothing of differences is casted in doubt. Large groups of newcomers cling to values and beliefs diverged from the mainstream. This case is among the first so-called honour killings to gain widespread attention in Canada, and will cast a spotlight on generational strains that can tear at families adapting to a new culture. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brave critic of Islam, comments that Western democracies understand better how to integrate the newcomers into the society – and how to turn them into citizens. Click here for the full article

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