In Memory of Aqsa Parvez

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22 Jan, 2008

A Muslim teen dies, a nation asks whyIn the name of religion ?One imam in Waterloo Region says he will discuss the Parvez case at his mosque this week.His Friday sermons to parenting issues because he gets calls from frustrated parents who say their children don't listen to themBut the teen years, replete with rebellion, lies and questionable social choices, can be doubly torturous in strict religious households, where parents are desperate to hold onto their moral authority, and used to being the ultimate arbiter of their children's lives.She was in constant conflict with her family because she was abandoning some of their conservative Muslim ways and embracing the more freewheeling lifestyle common to so many Canadian teens.Many Muslim girls in Canada lead something of a double life when it comes to reconciling religious traditions while living in a secular, Western society, says a researcher at Wilfrid Laurier University.Combine this with a gnawing fear of losing one's culture and it is possible to see how the tension between parents and teenagers that is common in North American can spin out of control.How many thousands of other Aqsas hate the hijab but wear it without complaint because they fear their fathers' and brothers' wrath?The hijab in particular has become a thorny issue among Muslim families. It has been elevated as a sort of "sixth pillar of Islam" among militant sects.These practices include misogyny, forced veilings and forced marriages.His issue brings back stories of the French government disallowing hijabs in schools.the Muslim tradition of "honor killings," prevalent in some unassimilated European communities, had migrated to supposedly-homogeneous North AmericaHowever, it is also true that many of the 250,000 immigrants who come to Canada each year arrive from dramatically different cultures.Canadians should follow the case with care, searching for any lesson it can teach. It may be that the Muslim community and society at large need to be better equipped to offer mediation and counselling for Muslim families in crisis. It may also be necessary for the federal government and groups that assist immigrants to do a better job of educating newcomers in what they and their families can expect in Canada.How are we going to help anyone else?"Ms. Parvez's tragic story appears to be about being a teenager in an ethnic community that often doesn't seek the help it needs in dealing with teen issues,we need to be alert - there are always people who will go beyond borders of justice and understanding."