Death Due to Dispute Over Hijâb? (Updated)

On the way to work yesterday morning, as is usual, I was listening to AM680 News to check on the the traffic situation. There was a report about some domestic incident where a man had called 911 saying that he had killed his daughter. There weren’t a lot of details given, but when I checked the City News website last night after getting home, I was sad to learn that the incident involved a Muslim family out in Mississauga. I immediately thought, “Great. More negative press for Islam and Muslims.” Browsing through the various websites belonging to local news outlets, one can easily see how this incident will bring Islam back into the main spotlight in terms criticisms and debates. Case in point, this morning on the way to work, tuning into today’s John Oakley show on AM640, my ears were assaulted by accusations from an Evangelical Christian that misogyny and abuses against women were something “common” to Islam (this came during Oakley’s 9am segment which featured two reverends—I’m not sure which of the two made the inflamitory comments).

Here’s just a sampling of the various articles I’ve come across this morning:

680 News:

Toronto – A dispute over Western culture may be behind an attack that killed a 16-year-old Mississauga girl.

School officials announced Aqsa Parvez’s death to students at Applewood Heights Secondary School this morning.

Parvez was clinging to life at the Hospital for Sick Children after an alleged attack by a man who told police he was her father.

Classmates at the school said the Grade 11 student lived in fear of her father, who was charged with attempted murder yesterday.

Some of the teen’s friends told Global News there were warning signs she had a troubled life at home.

Read on … Clash of cultures may have led to teen’s death.

City News:

She wanted to be more Western.

He wanted her to be more traditional.

And that clash of cultures may have been what led a father to allegedly choke and kill his daughter on Monday. Police are saying very little about what happened in a home on normally quiet Longhorn Trail in the Eglinton and Hurontario area of Mississauga. But the friends of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez claim she was desperately trying to pull away from the strict traditions of her devout Muslim family.

Read on … Teen Dies After Being Choked In Her Own Home

The Toronto Star:

A 16-year-old girl is dead and her father has been charged with murder after an attack in a Mississauga home.

Aqsa Parvez, a student at Applewood Heights Secondary School, had been on life support in hospital since yesterday morning.

Police went to the family’s two-storey home on Longhorn Trail about 8 a.m. yesterday after receiving a 911 call in which a man allegedly claimed to have killed his daughter

Paramedics found Aqsa with a faint pulse and rushed her to hospital. She was later transferred to a Toronto hospital and placed on life support.

Peel police said this morning that she died overnight.

Friends at the victim’s school said she feared her father and had argued over her desire to shun the hijab, a traditional shoulder-length head scarf worn by females in devout Muslim families.

Read on … Dad charged in teen’s death.

The suggestion of violent disputes between a 16-year-old girl in Mississauga and her father over her desire to show her hair and live a “normal” lifestyle raises questions about tensions between parents and children in the Muslim community.

But members of the community – particularly young Muslim women – say the tension can exist both ways.

Ausma Khan, the editor-in-chief of Toronto-based Muslim Girl magazine, said research into the readership of her publication shows that the decision to wear the hijab – the traditional Muslim headscarf – is almost always a choice the girl makes on her own.

Read on … Hijab can divide families.

The National Post:

A 16-year-old girl has died after being choked by a man believed to be her father, apparently after a dispute with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab, the Islamic headscarf worn by some Muslim women.

Peel Regional Police arrested a 57-year-old man yesterday morning after receiving a 911 call from a suburban home in Mississauga from a man saying he had killed his daughter.

When police and paramedics arrived at the house they found 16-year-old Asqa Parvez lying on the floor without any vital signs, police said. The victim’s 57 year-old father, Muhammad Parvez, was arrested at the scene.

Read on … Were clothes behind attack on teenager?

Checking the Oakley page on the AM640 site, I came to learn that I had been spared from having to listen to his segment with Toronto’s resident retard secular “Muslim” activist, Tarek Fatah; thank God for that. The blurb on the AM640 site states:

8:20 TAREK FATAH – Founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. A 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after being choked by a man believed to be her father, after a dispute with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab. Tarek states that the Qur’an does not require woman to wear the hijab.

Then there’s this piece of trash co-written by Fatah, published by the National Post:

The tragic death of a Mississauga, Ont., teenage girl — allegedly at the hands of her own traditionally minded Muslim father — has sent shock waves across the world. Canadians are justified in raising concerns as to whether this is a sign of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in their own backyard.

Aqsa Parvez, a sprightly 16-year-old, beloved of her friends and peers at Applewood Heights Secondary School, was only trying to be herself, was only wishing for a normal adolescence amid Canada’s rich cultural mosaic. Her father has now been charged with murder, and his son with obstruction, while a young life has been snuffed out — likely in the name of honour and Islam.

Radical Muslim men consider themselves ultimately responsible for the conduct of the womenfolk. This outlook is rooted in a medieval ethos that treats women as nonpersons, unable to decide for themselves what they should wear, where they must go and what they must accomplish in life. If their conduct is seen as contravening this austere religious outlook, they are invariably subjected to abuse.

Read on … The deadly face of Muslim extremism

You can rest assured that whenever Islam and Muslims become a focus in Canadian media, Tarek Fatah will undoubtedly open up his fart-hole and utter some truly retarded stuff. How someone can deny the hijâb’s obligation despite clear Qur’anic and prophetic injunctions is beyond me. But hey, what can you expect from a retard guy like Fatah, right?

The issue of hijâb’s obligation aside, it should be made clear to everyone that a woman’s refusal to don the hijâb should not produce the outcome that it has here. We don’t know too many of the details surrounding the incident or what has actually happened leading up to it, so I’m not going to comment on the wrong or right of those involved. I will say, however, that it’s not inconceivable this could have been an accident: a family dispute that went too far.

As a father with a young daughter, I can say that this is a fear that most of us have to some extent: that our daughters will refuse to fulfill their obligations to their Lord and rebel in the manner that this poor sister did, may Allah have mercy on her. In reading the various media reports regading this incident, a number of questions do come up, however. Just how “devout” were they? Was their devotion more cultural or was it religous? The other reverend on the Oakley show, who seemed to be pretty fair and unbiased, commented that we should make the distinction between the cultural practices and norms of a people and between what the religion allows and calls for. What of the girl’s (Islamic) upbringing, or was there any at all? What of her parents’ (Islamic) upbringing? Was she taught why the hijâb was obligated, or was she told she simply had to wear it without any explanation at all? How much of an influence were her non-Muslim friends? How about her Muslim friends? How much of this was really about the hijâb and how much of it was really about cultural pride or honour?

These are all questions that are relevant to the situation that need to be answered before any of us can justly comment on what happened. They’re also questions that we fathers with daughters need to ask ourselves of our situations. How is our implementation of Islam in our daily lives? How well are we raising our daughters (and our sons) upon Islamic values? Are we teaching them to love Allah and Islam, or are we doing things to cause them to hate it?

Whatever the answers are with respect to the family involved in this incident, I ask Allah to give them strength and patience through their ordeal and ask Him to make it a cause for guidance, reflection, and rectification, for them, and for others.

Anyhow, in other news, Islam isn’t the only religion whose adherents mistreat women:

Toronto – A Toronto pastor was charged with two counts of sexual assault, linked to alleged incidents at his small north-end church.

Two women alleged they were forced to have sex against their will and had babies fathered by 59-year-old Frank Lawrence, a pastor at Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles.

Read on … Toronto pastor charged with two sexual assaults.

Toronto holy man stands charged with behaviour hardly becoming of one.

The congregation at the Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles has long called Reverend Frank Lawrence their spiritual leader, which likely means many were stunned at the news he’ll stand trial for alleged sex assaults and threatening death reportedly in connection with what police allege were bizarre exorcisms.

Lawrence is charged with the sexual assaults of two women, including one of his former parishioners who claims she was promised a spiritual healing in a ritual of baths that involved alcohol, onions and oils. The woman ended up pregnant, and now has a little one-year-old girl.

Read on … Toronto Reverend Charged With Assaults In Bizarre Alleged Exorcisms.

Update:

Brother says dispute was not over hijâb (emphasis added):

The brother of a teen who died after being attacked in her family home Monday denies claims that his sister and their father argued over her refusal to wear the hijab.

Muhammad Shan Parvez wouldn’t elaborate on that statement outside Brampton court Wednesday, saying only that his mother was still extremely upset about the death of his sister, 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez.

“We are upset,” he said. “(My mother) is sick right now. She cannot control, because her daughter died, so she’s bad.”

[Story was edited and rewritten by City News]

The crime, which has made headlines around the world after being picked up by international wire services, allegedly followed an argument over the wearing of a hijab, a traditional Muslim head scarf. Fifty-seven-year-old Muhammad Parvez kept his head lowered as he appeared in a Brampton courtroom on Wednesday. He’s facing murder charges, while his 26-year-old son, Aqsa’s brother, is accused of obstructing justice in the case.

But another sibling – who was in the home at the time of the crime – insists the hijab wasn’t behind what happened. “It was not culture,” Mohammed Shan insists. But he refused to elaborate. “We don’t know, we don’t know nothing what happened.” (sic)

Observers admit there may be too much emphasis on the head scarf and not enough on the dynamics of an apparently dysfunctional family. “People are focusing on the hijab issue,” argues Sumayyah Poonah of Young Muslims of Canada. “And the emphasis really should be placed on the domestic violence issue.”

Read on … Murder Victim’s Brother Denies Hijab Was Source Of Family Controversy Cause Of Death In 16-Yr.-Old’s Murder Revealed, As Brother Denies Hijab Was Source Of Family Controversy.

Update no.2 (Dec. 16, 2007):

From the National Post, friends say hijâb may not have been at the root of Aqsa Parvez’s death:

Some classmates have said the girl’s insistence on not wearing the hijab led to intense family squabbles, but another friend told CanWestNews Service Saturday the traditional Islamic clothing was not a major factor and that other girls in the family did not wear the hijab.

Lubna Tahir, at whose house 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez was staying after leaving her own home in Toronto’s Mississauga suburb, branded as “rumours” news stories that Parvez’s father allegedly killed her for not wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Tahir insisted the girl was religiously observant but mainly had wanted to be more independent and “to get more out of life,” and had asked to move in with the Tahirs in the same neighborhood.

“She was satisfied, she was relaxed that somehow her parents understood that this is what she wanted to do, and they didn’t push her to come home,” Tahir told CanWest News Service.

Read on … Hijab may not have been at root of Aqsa Parvez’s death, say friends.

And another friend is reported to have said, “This whole Hijab culture, religion, it’s nothing to do with that. It’s all, like, child abuse.” (Source).

Update no. 3 (Dec. 18, 2007):

Again from the National Post, I missed this article when it was first posted (on Dec. 15th, 2007), but here’s more from the Tahir family:

The rebellious teenager did not see eye to eye with her parents, so she moved in with a Mississauga family, and last Sunday happily took part in a birthday celebration for the youngest of six Tahir daughters.

The Tahirs describe Aqsa as a girl who embraced her faith by praying five times a day, like a good Muslim, while also trying to emulate the “gangsta” style she admired in rap videos. She knew who she wanted to be one day — a famous fashion designer — but struggled, like most teens, to fit in. Aqsa’s three brothers and four older sisters were more reserved than she, which made her sometimes feel misunderstood.

The Tahirs say that days after she moved in with them, Mr. and Ms. Parvez came over, and both families had a two hour meeting with Aqsa.

Her mother cried. Mr. Parvez calmly implored his daughter in Punjabi to tell him why she left and what he could do to bring her home. Aqsa barely spoke, except to say that she “just wanted change,” according to Ms. Tahir. Privately Aqsa told her that she wanted “to get more out of life”.

She pressed Aqsa many times to tell her why she had run away. The girl claimed repeatedly that she had never been abused.

The Tahirs did not know of any dispute over Aqsa wearing a hijab and said that the older Parvez sisters did not always wear the head scarf.

Amal Tahir said Aqsa still periodically wore the hijab, and sometimes other students picked on her.

“They didn’t accept her as easily as they did when she changed her appearance. I told her, if someone doesn’t like you for the way you are inside, the way you dress won’t influence them,” said Amal, who knew Aqsa through her older sister, Irim.

Aqsa sparred with her father about skipping classes, admitted Amal, but she never thought the girl feared Mr. Parvez.

Read on … Aqsa’s last days. (Thanks to Hidayah, who commented on MuslimMatters.org, for linking the article).

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

9 Responses to Death Due to Dispute Over Hijâb? (Updated)

  1. And the dogs have already begun yelping. Here’s some more retardedness … this time from a Muslim who isn’t even really Muslim to begin with (a member of the Ahmadî/Qadiyânî community).

    It’s called a hijab and it’s a very potent sign of adherence to certain beliefs in the Muslim faith. But despite the tragic case of a 16-year-old who may have been killed over a refusal to wear it, those who practice the faith insist it’s not actually mandatory, and that’s why some Muslim women don’t wear it full time – or at all.

    It’s said to be a symbol of modesty and obedience to God and not related to submissiveness to men, as some believe. But according to one follower, donning it should be a choice – not an edict. “There’s no particular dress that is encouraged,” advises Tanya Khan (top left) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Toronto. “It’s just a modest dress. And that is the rationale and the teaching behind the wearing of hijab is that it is to promote modesty, not only in a physical sense but also in a mind-set.”

    Read on … Hijab Not Mandatory Insists Muslim Women.

  2. Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah
    I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.
    This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on IJTEMA, a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere.
    To find out more about IJTEMA, and how you can further contribute, please click here.
    May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.
    Wa’salam

  3. sacrosanct says:

    but wouldnt you fear for your sons just as much as your daughters if you had sons?

    whats this obsession with being super strict with daughters?
    it’s probably why many Muslim men are going astray, because no1 worries about them?

  4. but wouldnt you fear for your sons just as much as your daughters if you had sons?

    I have two sons. And although the worries are slightly different than the worries I have for my daughter, I worry about their guidance just as much as I worry about my daughter’s.

    The focus on daughters in my post is due to the fact that the incident mentioned concerns one who apparently ended up being killed by the hands of her own father. If you noticed, I did mention our sons when I posed the question regarding raising our “daughters (and our sons)” upon Islamic values.

  5. sacrosanct says:

    oh i actually didn’t notice
    sorry my bad

    But a question to pose as someone that has kids. Especially a Muslim someone. I have no no intention of singling you out so you don’t have to answer.
    I think everyone has entertained the idea of their kids going astray…Do you know what you would do?
    Do you have any idea what you would do if you were in Mohamed Parvez’s situation?

  6. Good questions. I honestly don’t know how I’d react, and certainly pray to Allah that He saves me from having to experience anything like what Muhammad Parvez and his family are going through.

    And the praise is Allah’s, who saved me from what He tried them with and preferred me over many from those He created.

    (The above supplication is one we should learn as if it is accepted by Allah, you will never be tried by the hardship/trial you witnessed which caused you to say it … here’s the Arabic for those who want to memorise it:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَذِي عَافَانِي مِمَا ابْتَلَاهُم بِهِ وَفَضَّلَنِي عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَن خَلَقَهُ

    Transliteration: al-Hamdulillah alladhî ‘âfânî min mabtalâhum bih, wa faddalanî ‘alâ kathîrin min man khalaqah.)

  7. Pingback: Ijtema » Blog Archive » Aqsa Parvez Murder Case: not over Hijab?

  8. Pingback: Obligation or Mere Personal Choice? « Rasheed Gonzales

  9. A day or so ago, Toronto news outlets reported that both Aqsa’s father and brother have pled guilty to second degree murder.

    – The Toronto Star: Father and son plead guilty to murdering Aqsa Parvez

    – City News: Father, Brother Of Murdered Teen Aqsa Parvez Sentenced To Life In Prison

    – The Globe & Mail: Father, brother plead guilty to so-called ‘honour killing’

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