January 11, 2012

Honour Killings in Canada and the Shame of it

I am a Canadian. My family are immigrants and came to Canada in 1830 - about 180 years ago. We are not new-comers to this Country, which I love. Canada is the True North, strong and free, and always will be - at least to me. 

I have always embraced immigration as a modern way to do the "right thing" by sharing opportunities in my country with others who are less fortunate and who are looking to better themselves or who are political refugees and who are in fear of their lives in their own countries. 

Tooba Yahya,
accused of murdering
her 3 daughters
because they brought
dishonour to the family
However, two issues are in Canadian courts right now involving "honour killings" performed by immigrants to this country who do not embrace the Canadian way of life nor Canadian laws. 

First wife Rona and daughter
Sahar, among the victims
The Shafia Family - from Afghanistan - Tooba Yahya (the mother), Mohammed Shafia (age 58) and their son Hamed Shafia (age 21), were arrested in July 2009 and charged with four counts of first-degree murder of Zainab Shafia, age 19, Sahar, age 17, and Geeti, age 13 and Rona Amir Mohammad, age 52, who was Mohammed Shafia's first wife. He married her in Afghanistan before the polygamous family moved to Canada in 2007 and settled in Montreal. The three younger women were their daughters. The aunt and the 3 daughters were drowned in a canal which the prosecution alleges was staged by the family. 

Prosecutors allege the victims died in an honour killing, plotted by the father, Mohammed Shafia, because he believed his daughters had shamed him by consorting with boys, dressing provocatively and disobeying him. His first wife had asked for a divorce, jurors have been told, though Yahya disputed this evidence during her testimony.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu
accused in India of
arranging the death
of her daughter,
because she didn't
like her daughter's marriage
The Sidhu Family - from India - Malkit Kaur Sidhu, age 63, and Surjit Singh Badesha, age 67, are in Canadian courts in an extradition trial. India wants them shipped back to India to face trial. They are accused by the Indian Courts of arranging the death of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, in 2000 in India. Jaswinder was the daughter of Malkit and the niece of Surjit. 

Jaswinder Sidhu with
her husband, who she
loved before she was
murdered for marrying
Jaswinder Sidhu and her husband Sukwinder Singh Sidhu were married against her family's wishes during a secret ceremony in India. In July 2000, at least seven people ambushed the couple as they rode a scooter in a village near Sangrur, Punjab. After suffering a severe beating, the husband, Sukwinder escaped but Jaswinder was eventually found dead in a canal.

You will note that in both the above cases, the mothers of the victims were charged with being complicit in the murders of their daughters.

What kind of mothers are these, who plot to kill their own daughters due to a perceived breach of honour?  

You will also note that these honour killings always involve women  and never men. Men can get away with just about anything in these societies, but women are in fear of their lives, if they step "out of line". 

This behaviour is not acceptable in Canada. 

Do not murder your wives or your daughters on Canadian soil and while in Canada do not arrange for the deaths of your family members elsewhere. 

God help us all. 

God save us from fathers and mothers who give birth to children and then kill them. Amen

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