Honor Killings in Canada

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 21st Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Crime

The psychology of honor killing is a topic that is slowly infiltrating the Western World. Normally, one would think of honor killing as something that is done in the Middle East or Africa somewhere. Now more and more countries such as Germany, UK, USA, and Canada are experiencing this new type of murder.

The Shafia Honor Killing Trial

Honor killings are about honor of the family. The concept of honor is slowly depreciating in the West but is still very much alive in Eastern countries. Honor of the family to these cultures is as important as life and love itself. Family honor can be important in many situations but it is often used against females and relates to sexual activity or perceived sexual activity and many times it is often a reaction to the introduction of Western living.

The Shafia Honor Killing Trial

The Shafia court case had all Montrealers upset and frantic over the deaths of three young girls and a 52-year-old first wife. The trial began o2012 when a Afghani Montreal family from St. Leonard were accused of killing their three daughters, Geeti, 13, Sahar 17, and Zainab 19 and first wife Rona, 52 over what is called an honour killing. The trial ended on Sunday Jan 29, 2012 when the judge deemed the crime to be a "cold-blooded" and "heinous" crime from a family with a twisted view of honor.

The police investigation began in 2009 when the family car was found at the bottom of the Kingston Locks wiith all four family members inside. The alleged suspected at the time were Mohammad Shafi, his second wife, Tooba Yahya and their 21-year-oldson, Hamed.

This trial was a high profile trial as the thought of honor killings is quite new to Canada. According to Dr. Amin Mohammed when emigrants from other countries come to Canada they bring their customs with them. The prosecution has been dubbing this trial an honor killing trial since the get go. Expert witness for the crown, Shahrzad Mojab said that honor killings were connected to a girl or woman’s sexuality particularly in the Middle East.

The Shafia family portrayed in court

Montreal Family: The Shafia Honor Killing Trial continued

The girls had tried to tell the authorities at their school that they were being abused. Montreal Batshaw Youth and Family services as well other social services did investigations after going to the home and interviewing the girls there.

The social worker for Batshaw, Jeanne Rowe who did the investigation in 2008, said she closed the case because Sahar said she wanted to stay with the family. We now find according to CTV News that Geeti said she wanted to be placed in a foster home. It is unclear whether this statement was before or after the visit to the home

Of course when at home, the father was always present and the girls changed their stories. Who wouldn’t? Once the investigators left and they were alone with their enraged father they would suffer the consequences. The girls told Montreal authorities such as teachers and social workers that their father and brother beat them quite frequently.

The people responsibility for the community’s welfare failed these children and did not heed their cries.

The crown did not portray a great home life for any of the women in the Shafia family. Rona the first wife was also a victim at the hands of Mohammad while the girls were subject to abuse from the father and son. Rona tried to protect the girls all she could be she was even abused by the second wife Tooba who ridiculed her for not being able to have children of her own. The crown went out to portray this polygamous family including the both wives vying for their husband’s attention. The family had seven children in total and the ones who are still alive have been placed in foster care since the beginning of the trial.

Thank God for that, as their wire tappings of the father saying, "God's curse on them … May the devil sh*t on their graves."

Of course Tooba and her husband maintained they were innocent all along and that the deaths were a tragic accident. Mohammad painted himself as a loving and devoted father throughout the court proceedings. Tooba portrayed herself as the loving and devoted mother who loved Rona the first wife so much that she took pity on her; offering her her third child to raise as her own. Sahar was the third child and Rona was especially close to her.

Tooba Yahya’s account of what happened that infamous night

Tooba first said father and son were at the Kingston locks the night of the murders, then retracted saying they were not. Since she had been caught in several lies during the cross-examination, she finally admitting she lied to save her son Hamed. Furthermore, Hamed who never took the stand admitted to a private investigator that he was indeed at the Rideau Canal at the time of the murders.

Hamed later admitted he had followed the girls in the second car and rearended them. He was outside of the car and checking for damage of his car when he heard a splash. He went to the river and called the name of his sisters and dangled a rope but there was no respond.

One has to wonder about the defense attorney’s excuse for Hamed’s behavior by saying, while his client was "stupid" to make such a "terrible" mistake, he was no murderer.

What ever happened to being so upset and calling for help? How could a brother just walk away?

Jail sentence

The results came in the Shafia family received 25 years for the part in the plot to murder the girls and Rona Amir.

Here is some comments from the Montreal community as seen on CTV News

From Montreal activists

Kinda Jayoush, activist says there is mental illnesses in the community just like any other community in Montreal.

Femhida Khan, a Quebec Muslim women group leader reports that honor killings are not sanctioned under Islam. They are crimes against women and children. She upholds the Canadian verdict.

Saima Ishaq who studies honor killings at McGill in Montreal, hopes that this landmark trial will send a clear message that honour crimes are not tolerable in Canada or anywhere else in the world.


All photos taken from the public domain


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Tags

Honor Killing, Honor Killing In Canada, Honour Killing, Honour Killing In Canada, Shafia Family Trial

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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Comments

author avatar Stella Mitchell
21st Sep 2015 (#)

Every crime against women and children for the so called lie of ' honour ' should never be tolerated anywhere.
Bless you Carol
Stella ><

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author avatar M G Singh
23rd Sep 2015 (#)

Excellent post, but as Canada has abolished death sentence , the killers in my view were not deterred and will now at least live on. Sad justice.

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author avatar Carol Roach
23rd Sep 2015 (#)

no the opposite honor killings is a thing of the east not west. And Canada has one of the lowest rate from murder in the world.

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