Expert: Honor killings on rise in Canada

June 17, 2010 at 11:51 PM
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ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, June 17 (UPI) -- A Canadian psychiatrist said the number of honor killings among Canadian Muslims is on the rise.

The father and brother of Aqsa Parvez Wednesday received sentences of life in prison after pleading guilty to the December 2007 murder of the Mississauga, Ontario, 16-year-old, the Canwest News Service reported.

Parvez, who was of Pakistani descent, who wanted to wear western clothing and find a part-time job like her Canadian contemporaries.

Dr. Amin Muhammad, a psychiatrist at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, said there have been 13 cases of honor killings in Canada since 2002.

"We are seeing an upward trend. More cases are coming to the forefront in the legal system," Muhammad said.

Honor killings are not condoned by the Koran, Islam's holy scriptures, Muhammad said.

Muhammad said more people are invoking honor killings as a defense for killings by people trying to take advantage of Canada's sensitivity to cultural behaviors to get lighter sentences. He said he thinks mental-health issues are a factor most cases.

There is "nothing Islamic" in taking a human life, said Imam Zijad Delic of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Delic said Muslim immigrants trying to integrate into Canadian culture may be hesitant about talking openly about the issues they may experience at home with their children but the issues are being discussed in mosques and community centers.

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