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Horror Under the Hijab

Friday, December 14, 2007 by Stephen Brown, Front Page Magazine

A Canadian Muslim teenager was murdered this week for trying to establish her own identity by moving out of her family home and for reportedly defying her father’s command to cover her head. Meanwhile, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star, disgracefully hid its own head in the sand. Pakistani-Canadian Aqsa Parvez, 16, was strangled by her father in an honor murder last Monday in the Toronto-area city of Mississauga. Refusing to wear the Islamic hijab, Parvez, who was herself born in Pakistan, wanted to live the normal lifestyle of a Canadian teenage girl, but ran into conflict with her strict, religious father. One friend and schoolmate said the Canadian teenager was afraid of her father and often came to school wearing bruises, the result of his violence.

“She was scared of her father; he was always controlling her,” the friend told the National Post, a Canadian national newspaper. “She wasn’t allowed to go out or do anything.”

Nevertheless, the Grade 11 student, according to friends, would leave home wearing the hijab but arrive at school in western-style clothes, having changed on the way. This was part of her courageous desire to live her own life and overcoming the fear in which she lived.

Despite the Canadian public’s disgust and outrage over this murder and in contrast to Parvez’s courage, the Toronto Star avoided tackling head on the issue of Muslim male intolerance and violence toward female family members who wish to establish their independence and lead their own lives. Instead, the Star published a story that, incredibly, accuses a supposedly racist Canadian society for being equally responsible for the cultural “tension” in Muslim families concerning the issue of head coverings.

In the story, two young Muslim women say some Muslim families do not want their daughters to wear the hijab because it will make them “the targets of racism.” If only Aqsa Parvez could have lived in such a family! Not surprisingly, no Muslim women or girls were interviewed who are forced to wear the Islamic clothing.

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