Women are not their possessions
Shaher Bano Shahdady was just 21, a young mother who wanted to live her Canadian life as a free Canadian woman. And for that, she was strangled to death in front of her toddler.From the Baloch region of Pakistan, she came to Toronto as a little girl. [When she was] 14, her father, Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, sent her back to Pakistan to study at a religious fundamentalist madrassa and a few years later she was forced into an arranged marriage with her first cousin.
That would be a forced marriage, not an arranged marriage. If she’s forced into it it’s forced, not arranged.
She was able to get back to Canada though, and she had hopes for her life.
She’d registered at the Adult Learning Centre to work on her high school diploma this fall and was hoping to one day realize her dream of becoming a doctor…
But she had to sponsor her husband here and his arrival in May forced her back into the cage she had struggled so long to escape. He wanted her to wear a burka, to stay away from Facebook, to put aside any plans she had of resuming a secular education.
“She rebelled,” explains Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “With the help of social services, she got an apartment for herself and her son. She was leaving her husband and asking for a divorce. How dare she? It would dishonour everyone.”
She and her son moved out July 1. After just three weeks of freedom, she was dead.
Strangled. In front of her child, age 3 – who was alone with her body for 15 hours.
Her estranged husband Abdul Malik Rustam, 27, turned himself in to police the next morning. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.
“Absolutely, it was an honour killing,” contends Fatah. “This is the fundamental issue here that no one wants to address. Nobody wants to tell Muslim men that women are not their possessions. It’s about women’s sexuality and men who say they own the franchise to it.”
Tarek says that a reporter from the Toronto Star called him today “and spoke like a true apologist for those who say using the term ‘Honour killing’ is akin to being racist against Muslims. If this is how low the Taliban Star has sunk in efforts to appease Islamists, shame on them. I have never net or spoken to a more biased and unprofessional journalist.”