Canada: Mother's throat slit in alleged honor killing

Canada: Mother's throat slit in alleged honor killing

Toronto : Canada | Oct 11, 2012 at 5:32 AM PDT
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Toronto is the scene of yet another "honor killing." 65-year-old Peer Khairi is on trial after his wife, Randjida Khairi, was found with several stab wounds on her body and her throat slit.

Pathologists determined that she was stabbed with two knives and that she drowned in her own blood, a process that took between five to 10 minutes.

The victim was married to her killer for 30 years and was found on a cot in Toronto in an apartment on the 16th floor. At issue is not whether her husband killed her, but how her death occurred and what was going through Khairi's mind.

There is plenty of evidence with images of the crime scene and the accompanying pathology report. Peer Khairi is a new arrival from Afghanistan, a country with a patriarchial society, where women obey their husbands. Khariri was struggling with Canadian culture and his wife's permissive nature, allowing their six children to drift from the culture and rules of their country of birth.

In Afghanistan young girls and women disobey the head of the family at their own peril. That is the fact in Afghan society, a fact NATO and UN non-governmental organizations have tried to change, apparently with little success.

The court was told that Randjida Khairi had been thinking about leaving her husband and that she had talked to other people, at times complete strangers, about her dilemma. Peer Khairi felt disrespected and betrayed by his children.

Khari has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and it is up to a jury, composed of four women and eight men, to sift through the arguments and evidence. The jury is multi-ethnic consisting of a mixture of old and young, brown and white and black and all hues in between. Source: National Post

Honor Killings in Canada

This is a more common phenonena in Canada than most Canadians would like to believe. The last high-profile case was concluded in January of this year, when another Afghan man enlisted his son and wife in a "cold-blooded, shameful and twisted' case to drown his former spouse and three teenage daugthers." Source: Guardian

An article in the Vancouver Sun highlights some of these honor killings, which are on the rise in Canada. While honour killings are more prevalent in the Muslim world, the killing of one's child is almost beyond believe for Canadians. Unfortunately, these killings are increasingly popping up in Canadian courtrooms. First generation Muslims struggle with the balance of the old-world ways and that of a permissive, liberal, Canadian society.

On June 16, the father and brother of a slain Mississauga, Ont., teen were sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the December 2007 murder of Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old girl of Pakistani descent who wanted to wear western clothes and get a part-time job like her Canadian peers.

Days ago, an Afghan mother was arrested in Montreal, accused of stabbing her 19-year-old daughter after she stayed out all night in a case that's now being probed as a possible honour crime.

And then there's the case last year of Muhammad Shafia, his second wife, Tooba Muhammad Yahya, and their son, Hamed Shafia, accused of killing Shafia's first wife and three daughters, who were found in a vehicle submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ont. Source: Vancouver Sun

According to a report by Dr. Amin Muhammad, a psychiatrist at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland, there have been 13 such killings since 2002. He says that we are seeing an uptrend in these killings an that these killings are not connected to the teachings of the Quran. He feels that they are most often used as a defence for those who want to take advantage of Canada's cultural sensitivities in order to receive a more lenient sentence.

While honor killings are disturbing and incomprehensible to Canadians at large, this should not bee seen as a crisis. Many Muslims immigrate to Canada each year and integrate into Canadian society. Their children attend our schools, learn Canadian culture and adapt to our way of life.

The problem of suicide killings seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. We, as a society, and those within the Muslim community, have a duty to identify these anomalies and try to intervene before the cruel killings occur.

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Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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