Never forget Aqsa Parvez

Aqsa Parvez is another victim of honor killing, She, too has been tried and sentenced to death by her family’s belief, for not honoring the backward culture and traditions which are promoted and guarded by religious movements in particular the Islamist movement globally. Amongst all other girls and women who have been victims of honor killing, Aqsa Parvez, a sixteen-year-old, studying in grade 11 at a high school in Mississauga, Ontario – as well as Heshu from England, Fadima from Sweden and Hutun from Germany – were murdered in so called Islamic communities in Western countries, for not honoring the inhuman tradition. These victims had the desire to live in a modern society, and all wished to determine their own lifestyle and they were not willing to compromise for less.

The death of Aqsa Parvez at the age of 16 is just a tip of the iceberg in Canada, where respect for backward cultures and religions comes before women’s and children’s rights, where cultural ghettoes have become an ideal heaven to crush any desires in women. In the case of Aqsa Parvez, a brave girl who put herself at the forefront of the struggle for a well deserved human life, the Islamic groups that promote Islamic law and Islamic school and are looking for more shares in power should be held responsible the most. They are the ones who push for enclosed and regressive communities in the heart of Canada and who have created little Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia or Pakistan. They are the ones to blame for convincing families and individuals to accept the barbaric rules and regulations, and for not having any mercy for their own children and family members.

This cruelty to our children and women should not be tolerated and must be condemned strongly. Harsh punishment must be considered for those who abuse or victimize children and women as so-called ‘Islamic action.’ The advocates of freedom and secularism should come forward in full force for the principle of the rights of the child. The fact that religion is the private matter of the parents and should not be imposed on the child and infringe on the child’s civil rights is confirmed and established as a social norm.

We need to come forward in full force against any policies that pursue a cultural and social segregation, against any practice that undermines the rights and wellbeing of the child. We need to promote integration. The state needs to take an active part in providing intense education to women and children who suffer from abusive relationships, especially where enforcement of tradition is involved. A very strong support network is needed for the youth and women who are seeking protection from parents and partners; and to prevent honor killing, Canada also needs to stop promoting and funding religious groups.

Homa Arjomand

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