TORONTO - Another honour killing in our midst and the silence is deafening.
Shaher Bano Shahdady was just 21, a young mother who wanted to live her Canadian life as a free Canadian woman. And for that, she was strangled to death in front of her toddler.
From the Baloch region of Pakistan, she came to Toronto as a little girl. At 14, her father, Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, sent her back to Pakistan to study at a religious fundamentalist madrassa and a few years later she was forced into an arranged marriage with her first cousin.
But her precious son was her ticket back home.
Complications in her pregnancy allowed her to return to Toronto. Her baby was born with a serious heart defect that eventually required a transplant, but at least she was back in Canada. Shahdady was a devoted mother, her friends say, and while she lived with her strict religious family in Scarborough, she managed to escape through Facebook where she chatted with friends and administered a Baloch entertainment page that had 6,000 members.
She began to change, friends say. Shahdady no longer wanted to wear a burka that covered her face and body but would don just the hijab head scarf instead. She’d registered at the Adult Learning Centre to work on her high school diploma this fall and was hoping to one day realize her dream of becoming a doctor.
“All her friends were finishing college or university and getting good jobs and she felt she was being left behind,” explains family friend Zaffar Baloch. “She wanted to throw away the veil and live an ordinary independent life of a woman.”
But she had to sponsor her husband here and his arrival in May forced her back into the cage she had struggled so long to escape. He wanted her to wear a burka, to stay away from Facebook, to put aside any plans she had of resuming a secular education.
“She rebelled,” explains Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. “With the help of social services, she got an apartment for herself and her son. She was leaving her husband and asking for a divorce. How dare she? It would dishonour everyone.”
She and her son moved out July 1. After just three weeks of freedom, she was dead.
Between 1 and 2 a.m. on July 22, neighbours in the building at 3131 Eglinton Ave. E. heard the shrill screaming of a child that went on for 15 minutes. And then silence. More than 15 hours later, Shahdady’s distraught father discovered his 2-year-old grandson alone in the apartment with his daughter’s dead body. She had been strangled on her bed.
Her estranged husband Abdul Malik Rustam, 27, turned himself in to police the next morning. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.
“Absolutely, it was an honour killing,” contends Fatah. “This is the fundamental issue here that no one wants to address. Nobody wants to tell Muslim men that women are not their possessions. It’s about women’s sexuality and men who say they own the franchise to it.” (Read more.)
Friday, August 5, 2011
Shaher Bano Shahdady Murdered in Honor-Killing . . . in Canada
Of course, it would be racist and bigoted to draw attention to these killings. The "tolerant" thing to do is to ignore all crimes committed by Muslims. After all, Anders Behring Breivik was not a Muslim.