Culture not behind girl's death: brother
Muslim father remains in jail
Natalie Alcoba, National Post, with files from Agence France-Presse
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2007
Facebook profile photo of Aqsa Parvez.
BRAMPTON - While a devout Muslim family struggled yesterday to make sense of an incident that left a daughter dead and a father and son under arrest, one relative denied that the teenager's death resulted from a clash between Western and Islamic cultures.
Mohammad Parvez is accused of killing his youngest daughter, Aqsa Parvez, after the family allegedly argued over the girl's refusal to wear the traditional Muslim head scarf called a hijab.
But the girl 's brother, Mohammad Shan Parvez, told reporters yesterday that what happened "is not [about] culture."
He said his mother is sick with grief. "She cannot control, because her daughter died, so she's [feeling] bad," said Mr. Parvez, shortly after he saw his 57-year-old father make a brief court appearance in an orange prison jumpsuit.
"It's bad to see him here," Mr. Parvez said.
"My dad is alive, but my sister passed away, so I feel bad for my sister."
Joseph Ciraco, lawyer for the father, said family members "are torn."
"I mean, you've got a sister that's gone and your father and brother are in jail. I don't think it's a big surprise that they're distraught and trying to cope as best they can."
Police have not speculated on a motive behind the killing, but indicated for the first time yesterday that the 16-year-old girl died of a "neck compression."
Police were called to the Parvez home in Mississauga minutes before 8 a.m. on Monday by a man who told 911 operators that he had killed his daughter.
Paramedics found the girl lying motionless on the floor of her bedroom, and rushed her to hospital with a faint pulse. She died several hours later.
Friends have said that Aqsa left her home about a week before the attack because she had been fighting with her father and brothers about her refusal to wear the hijab and other traditional clothing. The teenager would often change into Western clothes when she got to her high school, then put the hijab back on before she went home, friends said. One classmate said the girl had been threatened by her father.
Investigators later charged her father, a taxicab driver from Pakistan, with murder. Her brother, 26-year-old Waqas Parvez, is accused of obstructing police, allegedly at the family home on Monday. He will make a court appearance tomorrow.
His father cast his eyes on the ground as he stood before Justice of the Peace Darlene Florence in a Brampton courtroom yesterday and was remanded into custody.
A diminutive man with thinning grey hair, he clasped the hands of his cuffed wrists, and remained expressionless in the prisoner's box.
He mumbled "yes" when asked if he understood the justice's order not to communicate with Waqas.
Mr. Ciraco said his client will likely face a charge of second-degree murder, although that has not been finalized. As a matter of course, bail hearings for accused murderers are usually remanded, Mr. Ciraco said.
Mr. Parvez will next appear in court on Jan. 29, at which time his defence may decide if it wants to apply for bail.
Meanwhile, Canadian Muslims continued to decry Aqsa's killing, with a mosque in Newmarket sending out a news release that called her death "a tragedy beyond reason."
A spokesman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said he is dubious of opinions that the girl's death resulted from a clash of cultures.
"Teen rebellion is something that exists in all households in Canada and is not unique to any culture or background," CAIR-CAN's Sameer Zuberi said in an interview. "Domestic violence is also not unique to Muslims."
The death of Aqsa "was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to color or creed," echoed Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association.
The two groups and 18 other Muslim groups in an open letter to prosecutors asked for the strongest possible prosecution of her killer, and "zero tolerance for violence of any kind against women or girls."