On August 24, 2011, we dedicated the Aqsa Parvez Memorial Grove in honor of honor killing victims in American Independence Park in Nes Harim, Israel. This was the first initiative of its kind, dedicated to calling attention to honor killing, the enforcement of the most savage elements of Islamic law against women: wives, daughters, and sisters. One can’t even begin to fathom the lost dreams and ideals and promises and hopes for a full life extinguished by the tyrannical, hatemongering macho Islamic culture.
Demand the world’s condemnation of Islamic misogyny, gender apartheid and the dehumanization of women. This should have been the first of tens of thousands of memorials, but the point of our memorial did not end with the memorials itself. The memorial shows that we have not forgotten and will not forget these girls. The memorial is just a part of a larger determination to show the Islamic world that we simply will not allow this barbaric practice of Islamic honor killing to stand in the West.
Aqsa Parvez was brutally murdered by her father and brother in December 2007 for refusing to wear the Islamic headscarf. But that was only the beginning: the abuse and dehumanization of this girl continued. She was buried in an unmarked grave. Her family refused to acknowledge her life, as she had “dishonored” them. In defiance of her devout father and brother, she had refused to live under the suffocating dictates of Islamic law. The eleventh grade student began taking off her hijab, a traditional Islamic headscarf, when she went to school, and would put it back on when she returned home. Her dad would go to her school during school hours and walk around trying to find her, trying to catch her not wearing Islamic garb, talking to boys or hanging out with “non-Muslims”. “She wanted to dress like us,” said one friend of Aqsa. “To be normal.” For this, her family prefers that she be forgotten — unknown, unloved, unmourned.
In December 2008, when I read that Aqsa lay in an unmarked grave, I was beside myself. I started a memorial fund at Atlas to get her a headstone. But I had no idea how difficult and ugly it would be simply to honor a teenage girl in Canada who just wanted to live free — and how eagerly Western non-Muslims would aid and abet the family’s efforts to dishonor her in death as they did in life.
Readers of my weblog, AtlasShrugs.com, opened their hearts and their wallets, and contributed $5,000 for a headstone for Aqsa. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch joined the effort, and we approved a design for a headstone that read, “In loving memory of Aqsa Parvez, Apr. 22, 1991-Dec. 10, 2007 — Beloved, remembered and free.” All was going according to plan until, after much silence, Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Ontario, where Aqsa is buried, advised me that the family (yes, the family that murdered her) had refused to “sign off” on the headstone. The director of the cemetery said: “The family wants changes and is planning on coming in to see me. They did not book an appointment yet but I hope to see them soon.”
Of course, the family never came, and when we inquired as to purchasing a plot near Aqsa’s body, we could not. Not a tree. Not a rock. Not a bench. All the plots were owned by the Islamic Society of North America. I tried to contact the family at that time, but they would not take my calls — I spoke to the them once, but they pretended not to speak English. And they were adamant: the family refused to allow the headstone to be put on Aqsa’s grave, and according to the cemetery, could remove it if it were placed there by others.
But those of us who had contributed to the Aqsa Memorial Fund were determined to make sure that Aqsa would be memorialized. We checked into other locations, made plans, only to see them canceled at the last minute out of … fear. We checked into the arboretum at the University of Guelph in Ontario, but a university official wrote me to say that “no matter how worthy, a memorial to Aqsa Parvez would draw much public attention and would thus be inconsistent with current use of The Arboretum.”
But not everyone was ready to cower before Islamic anti-woman violence.
Considering the fact that Islamic honor killings were a global problem (over 90% of honor killings worldwide are Islamic), I approached the JNF and worked to plant the Aqsa Parvez Grove in American Independence Park in Nes Harim, Israel, where the plaque before the grove reads: “In Loving Memory of Aqsa Parvez and All Victims of Honor Killings Worldwide.” I loved the idea of a grove of trees that would continue to live and grow for decades in their name.
The memorial in Nes Harim is recognition of this horror and the first indication that in the Free World we are not going to stand by silently while the Islamic world brutalizes women and treats them as property and worthless trash. It is but a small, respectful step toward widespread resistance against honor killing in the West and elsewhere.
Now Muhammad Parvez is dead. But many, many others like him still live. The problem of Islamic honor killing has yet to be confronted. There will be more Aqsas.
“Man convicted of killing daughter in clash over hijab dies in Ontario prison,” CBC News, February 28, 2017:
An Ontario man convicted of murdering his 16-year-old daughter in 2007 has died in prison.
Correctional Services of Canada confirmed Tuesday in an email that Muhammad Parvez died last Wednesday, but did not provide the cause of death. He was 67.
Parvez was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the death of his daughter, Aqsa, in Mississauga. He began serving his sentence in June 2010.
His son, Waqas, 26, was also sentenced to life for second-degree murder. Both the father and the son pleaded guilty.
Aqsa, a Grade 11 student, was strangled to death in her bedroom in the family home. She was attacked after her brother took her home from a school bus stop.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno, who sentenced the father and son, called the murder “twisted and repugnant.”
Aqsa Parvez, 16, of Mississauga, Ont., was killed after she experienced conflict at home over “cultural difference,” according to an agreed statement of facts. ((Facebook))
According to an agreed statement of facts presented in court, Aqsa had been experiencing conflict at home and clashed with her family because she chose to wear Western-style clothing and didn’t want to cover her hair with the traditional hijab head scarf….