Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crying Hijabs

This morning I followed up on a news story that a 16 year old girl in the region of Peel, Ontario, was taken to the hospital after a domestic assault that left her fighting for her life in hospital. Her father made a call to 911 that he had killed his daughter. Today it has been confirmed that Aqsa Parvez has died. I grieve for her; and her family and friends. Violence against women enrages me; but the media is enraging me more in this case. The family is Muslim and the Globe and Mail, CBC, the National Post, the Toronto Star; all major media sources are crying "Muslim, Muslim Muslim!" and smearing this tragedy with religious undertones. If you Google some murders, if you feel up to it, it's a challenge to find any news stories that highlight the subject families' religious beliefs. The Globe and Mail writes, "Students at nearby Applewood Heights Secondary School in Mississauga said the teen had recently clashed with her family after ceasing to wear a hijab and adopting a more Western style of dress." I'm curious, because with the recent and ongoing hijab debates in Canada (burn victims are not required to show picture ID but Muslim women are required to remove their headscarves in order to vote; and soccer associations are kicking girls off the fields for wearing hijabs), that here we have more racial profiling and politicizing of a "hot-topic" religious practice. The articles around Aqsa's murder are pointing fingers at the family's religion making an underlying assumption that Aqsa was murdered over her hijab. There are no facts being reported about the lead up to Mr. Parvez killing his daughter, just a quotation from a grade 11 student: "her family was really religious, and I think her dad was angry because she never wore religious clothing." The National Post headlines, "Friends believe Aqsa . . . was the victim of a dispute over the teenager's desire to be more western."

Aqsa was strangled to death by her father. Muslim or Buddhist or Christian religion aside, this is a horrific example of domestic violence and whether the argument really was over her hijab is irrelevant. It could have been over a channel change or allowances or doing the dishes or eating too many cookies out of the cookie jar for shits sake. It doesn't matter WHAT the argument was about, no one should be killed at the hands of our own family. It wouldn't matter if it was a Christian girl who didn't want to wear her wooden cross necklace anymore or a girl attending a school with a uniform and wishing to wear striped socks. These small side notes are not the issue we need to be focusing on when there's a body to bury.

Our media wants us to think that all Muslim women are oppressed by men and need to be rescued. Maybe that's what the writers actually believe themselves, I don't know. But Muslimah Media Watch has a brilliant piece on Danielle Crittenden's recent blog project "Islamic Like Me" at Huffington Post. Read the review; it's a smart and vicious attack on Crittenden's niqab 'experiment' and her Islamophobia.

Update: "Canadian Muslim girl not killed over hijab: report"
Update II: Listen to CBC's "The Current" program covering all sides of this tragedy.


Anonymous said...

wow, you're as crazy as Muslims who believe it's okay to murder wives and daughters for not following their religion.

Anonymous said...

You're in denial if you think the father's Muslim beliefs had nothing to do with this girl's death. You're saying that you were more angry about the media pointing fingers at Muslim beliefs than violence against women pretty much says at all--that political correctness is more important than human rights.

Zeynab said...

Thanks for the name drop, and your analysis of Aqsa Parvez' situation is an excellent one: this will be used to fan the flames of the culture wars, while the real issues (domestic violence) are ignored.