It is only in these honor murder cases that we get a rare glimpse of the horror and brutality of the lives of Muslim girls (and women) living under the sharia here in the West.
Reading through the testimony, I am reminded of Amina and Sarah Said and Aqsa Parvez, whose stories prior to their Islamic honor murders are strikingly similar. They lived their lives filled with terror and fear in homemade concentration camps. It is an Islamic pattern under the sharia to utterly subjugate, oppress and control female members of devout Muslim families. A willful girl with her own dreams and aspirations is tantamount to a death sentence. And there are few avenues open to them for help.
These girls went to the police, begged to to put in foster care. The even when we sued and won).
KINGSTON, ONT.—The secret life of dead girls: A biography in cellphone pictures.
Boldly, even sensually, the Shafia sisters posed to document their own brutally shortened existence.
Here is Zainab, stunningly beautiful, looking out coyly from under long eyelashes. She was the eldest daughter at 19, with a one-day marriage in her past, an engagement in her immediate future. The one who ran away from home, to a women’s shelter, complaining of an abusive family, and then, fatefully, returned home two weeks later.
Sahar, perhaps even more striking at 17, smolders in panties and bra. She was the one who, 40 days after entering the world, was given by her mother to another woman — the first, barren wife in a polygamous marriage — told, here, raise her as your own.
Geeti was only 13, the littlest rebel, a handful, failing in most of her school subjects, caught shop-lifting, sent home from school for dressing inappropriately. Geeti pleaded with anyone who would listen that she wanted to be placed in a foster family. The youngster scowls from a yearbook photo.
And then there was Rona Amir Mohammed, 53, a handsome woman and appendage to the marriage, introduced by the girls as their “aunt’’ but called Mother Rona. She poured her aching heart into a diary.
All dead, their bodies discovered June 30, 2009, in a Nissan Sentra submerged in the Kingston Mills locks of the Rideau Canal, floating gently in their vehicular coffin, long hair wafting.
An opening statement is not evidence, merely a preview of the case the prosecution will mount in coming weeks based on testimony, forensics, wiretaps, documents and a plethora of photos. The crux of it: That parents and 18-year-old brother planned and executed the murders from outrage over the intolerable, the defiance of daughters and the alliance with them of a woman treated for years as a burden and a slave.
A disgrace and shame to their family, though, for behaviour unbecoming to Afghan [Muslim] females — the boyfriends and the disobedience, the brazen disrespect for traditions and refusal to wear the hijab — violations of decorum so grievous that they needed to be killed, eliminated, to purify family honour, their “treachery’’ insupportable.
Mass murder committed, a court heard Thursday, by the mother and father and brother of the sisters, homicides staged to look like an accident during a family vacation, with Zainab at the wheel, on one of her furtive joyrides.
Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their son Hamed Mohammed Shafia have all pleaded not guilty to four counts each of first-degree murder. Their jury trial began here Thursday with a 90-minute opening statement from Crown Attorney Laurie Lacelle that left observers in the courtroom stunned over details finally revealed and allegations of a diabolical plot that defy imagination.
From a wiretapped conversation Shafia had with Tooba and Hamed, 20 days after the bodies were discovered, Shafia in a fury recalling the revealing cellphone pictures of Zainab and Shahar: “Curse God on both of them. Is that what a daughter should be? Would a daughter be such a whore? May the devil s–t on their graves.”
And later, not long before the trio was arrested in Montreal, Shafia tells Hamed, as Lacelle quoted from another wiretap transcript: “Even if they hoist me up on to the gallows, nothing is more dear to me than my honour.”
To his wife, Shafia allegedly assured that the right actions had been taken: “I say to myself, you did well. Were they to come back to life, I would do it again. No Tooba, they messed up. There was no other way. They were treacherous. They betrayed us immensely. There can be no betrayal worse than this. They committed treason on themselves. They betrayed humankind. They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion. They betrayed everything.”
From the sisters, there appears no words were left behind. But Rona wrote in her diary, the Crown told the jury, what she was thinking, fearing, in the weeks, even years, before her death, anxieties she also shared with siblings overseas when she was able to get out of the house and make phone calls.
“She described her life, how Shafia’s treatment of her deteriorated after the second marriage,” said Lacelle.
Rona wrote bitterly that Tooba had separated her from their co-husband, took her money, gradually limited the nights Rona and Shafia were permitted to sleep together, threatened to throw her out of their triplex Montreal apartment. “Miserable me, who wouldn’t question Shafia about anything,” wrote Rona, “who swallowed everything because I had no choice.’’
Tooba allegedly told her: “You’re not his wife. You’re my servant. Your family got rid of you. Who would want a dead weight around its neck? Your life is in my hands.”
The family emigrated to Montreal in 2007 after spending about a decade in Dubai, Pakistan and Australia. By then, Tooba had borne Shafia seven children. But there was deep friction in the household, with the daughters claiming to police, teachers and child welfare authorities that they were abused by their father and Hamed. Even their younger brother, a 12-year-old child, scolded Sahar once when discovering her in a restaurant with a boy. The males of the family, regardless of age, felt entitled to discipline the girls.
Zainab, when it was found she had a boyfriend, was kept away from school for an entire year. And when Sahar, after an argument with her mother, apparently made an attempt at suicide, Tooba told a worried Rona, court heard: “She can go to hell. Let her kill herself.’’
At one point, somebody called 911 and four of the children were discovered on the street near their home. Police responded and were told by the children that their lives were in danger. Child welfare authorities came to the house but, when Shafia arrived during the interview, the girls changed their story. The file was shortly thereafter closed.
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