Justice was done last Wednesday when the Muhammad and Waqas Parvez, the father and brother of Aqsa Parvez, received life sentences for strangling her to death in their home in Mississauga, Ontario, on December 10, 2007, when she was sixteen years old. But denial as to how a father and brother could have been moved to murder what should have been a beloved daughter and sister remains all-pervasive. If Canada, the United States and Europe are not going to be the sites of many more Islamic honor killings, that has to change.
Muhammad and Waqas Parvez murdered Aqsa because she would not conform to Islamic behavior codes for women. The Qur'an commands women to "draw their veils over their bosoms" (24:31), and in a hadith, Aisha, the favorite wife of Islam's prophet Muhammad recounts that he commanded that once a woman "reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands" (Sunan Abu Dawud 32.4092).
Muhammad Parvez was determined to enforce this command on Aqsa, as well as to force her into an arranged marriage, and she was just as determined to resist. Ultimately she ran away, telling friends that Muhammad Parvez had sworn on the Qur'an to murder her if she did so. But on December 10, 2007, Waqas Parvez showed up at Aqsa's bus stop, and took the girl home.