About Those So-Called "Honor Killings" in Canada

By the Web Editors 2-01-2012
Front Page of Canada's National Post announcing the Shafia Murder Convictions.
Front Page of Canada's National Post announcing the Shafia Murder Convictions.

According to the Associated Press:

A jury on Sunday found three members of an Afghan family guilty of killing three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor," ending a case that shocked and riveted Canadians.

Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and using the Internet.

The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia's childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.


Here is a roundup of the ongoing coverage of the Shafia trial and the religious, political and social issues related to the so-called "honor killings."

National Post (Canada): No honour in ‘cold-blooded, shameless’ murder of Shafia girls

Toronto Star: Inside the Shafia Murder Trial (Special section)

From the moment the trial opened on Oct. 11, the public was transfixed.

Al Jazeera: Canada jury finds family guilty of murder

Court convicts Afghan immigrant couple and their son for 2009 killing of four female relatives in Ontario.

NPR (All Things Considered): Hayward Discusses 'Honor Killings' in Canada

This weekend, a Canadian jury convicted three members of an Afghan immigrant family of killing four of their relatives. The deaths at first appeared to be accidental, but prosecutors argued it was a cold-blooded murder. Melissa Block speaks with reporter Justin Hayward of the CBC.

Globe & Mail (Canada): How arrogance and mistakes led to Shafia’s murder conviction

Mohammad Shafia, wife and son found guilty of first-degree murder for killing four female relatives


Christian Science Monitor: Mistreatment of Afghan women caused by far more than Taliban

The recent conviction in Canada of wealthy Afghan immigrant Mohammed Shafia, who murdered three of his daughters for not following his strict rules, was another reminder of such traditions.

Toronto Star: Were Shafia murders ‘honour killings’ or domestic violence?

Canadians are debating how to correctly describe the Shafia murders, representing a fundamental divide in the way the trial is being interpreted.

Guardian (UK): 'Honour killings': Shafia trio jailed for life in Ontario - video

Three members of an Afghan family living in Canada have been sentenced to life in prison for the murders of three teenage sisters and the ex-wife of one of the defendants

International Business Times: Honor Killings - Guilty Afghan-Canadian Family Will Keep its Millions

Mohammad Shafia — found guilty of the "honor killing" murders of his three daughters — will get to keep his millions of dollars in real estate holdings and personal wealth while serving a life sentence in prison.

BBC: Family guilty of 'honour' murders

BBC's Lee Carter: "Investigators say they believe the victims were killed before they were placed in the car."

Huffington Post Canada: How to Honor the Victims of 'Honor Killings'

Ms. Magazine: Are 'Honor Killings' in Canada a 'Muslim' Issue? [from June 2010 regarding earlier "honor killings" in Canada]

As one commenter noted, Canada sees several hundred women victimized and even killed by their spouses every year. Another, a Muslim woman, noted that sensationalized treatment of these crimes and deflects attention from the far more prevalent, routine incidents of family violence that affect immigrant communities.

GetReligion.org: Canadian Honor Killings and Islam

An Ontario jury has convicted three members of the Shafia family — father, mother and son of an Afghan family living in Quebec — of murder in what has become Canada’s most notorious “honor killings” case. There has been some great crime and court reporting in the Shafia case, and the articles in the major newspapers are really quite good. But some of the analyses have fallen short and in a few cases come across as special pleading that there is only one legitimate view in Islam on these issues, when experience tells us that there is not a single view on the morality of honor killings in Islam — just as there is no single Islam.


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