When Mary Rogan accepted a magazine assignment from Toronto Life, she had no idea it would stir up such a hornet's nest. "The Brief Life of Aqsa Parvez," this month's cover story, is a sensitive portrait of a teenaged girl caught between the wishes of her devout family and the lure of a secular Western culture. The 16-year-old was strangled after her father allegedly threatened to kill her for ignoring his wishes. Her father and brother have been charged with her murder.
"The untold story of Toronto's first honour killing," said the cover line. And then the protests began. The magazine has been fielding a barrage of e-mail denouncing the piece as racist and Islamophobic. "The magazine created a culture of fear in perpetuating negative stereotypes," said one protester interviewed on CBC Radio.
Curiously, the protest isn't being driven by Muslim groups. Instead, it's coming from feminists who insist there is no connection between misogyny and culture. One of those speaking out against the article is Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, which has become highly politicized in recent years. She and others argue that misogyny and sexism are universal. "Violence against women is happening in all communities," insists one.