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the Shafia aftermath

We are digesting the verdict, first degree murder and life in prison, of the hideous Shafia trial – a couple accused of murdering three young daughters and the second wife, their son of helping to kill his sisters – a so-called “honour killing.” The concern is that this ghastly event will fan more anti-Muslim prejudice. The fantastic Steve Paikin hosted a show last night on this issue with members of the Muslim community, including an imam and a professor from Boston who lived in Afghanistan for many years.

There is nothing about this kind of killing in the Koran, said the imam, which in fact emphasizes an individual’s responsibility for his or her own actions. He cited an event in the Koran; when Mohammed’s wife is accused of adultery, he takes no revenge, just sends her home to her parents until the issue is resolved – in her favour. A lawyer who grew up in Afghanistan said he had never encountered this kind of “honour killing” until he came to Canada.

The professor said that, rather than a religious issue – in fact, the family were NOT observant Muslims – this is a cultural and geographic issue. He pointed out that the issue of “honour,” like the blood feud, still exists strongly in a swath across the Mediterranean. “This could have happened, and does still, in non-Muslim Sicily or Greece,” he said. And it’s also an immigration issue – parents with the values of the old country, horrified by the behaviour of their children in the new. This is a universal problem; my Russian-Jewish great-grandfather in New York in 1895 hated American values and fought to stop his 11 children, going to school in Brooklyn, from adopting them.

In this particularly dysfunctional family with a violent and viciously patriarchal father, archaic values and extreme fear and hatred of new ways led to murder.
But this case was not about Muslim extremism and is not an excuse for Canadians to judge or fear their Muslim neighbours.
P.S. Friends have been sending me various reports on “honour killings”… including the fact that there are many in Afghanistan. Another sent a link to a wikipedia site on violence against women. What a horrifying list. What an insane world.

Acid throwing · Breast ironing
Bride-buying · Bride burning
Dating violence · Domestic violence
Dowry death · Honor killing
Female genital mutilation
(Gishiri cutting · Infibulation)
Foot binding · Forced prostitution
Human trafficking · Marital rape
Murder of pregnant women
Rape · Sati · Sexual slavery
Sexual violence
Violence against prostitutes



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

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Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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