16 December 2007

Secret funeral held for Aqsa Parvez

The family of Aqsa Parvez, the 16-year-old Muslim Canadian girl who was allegedly strangled recently by her father, moved her funeral on 15 December without informing other mourners of the fact. As a result, when Aqsa's friends and teachers gathered at the Islamic Centre of Canada in Mississauga in the afternoon, they were told that the funeral had already taken place, and that Aqsa had already been buried.

According to an employee of the mosque bookstore, "this was all just set up as a decoy for the media". The bookstore worker said this an hour and a half before the funeral was scheduled to begin, which lends credence to this version of events. Many mourners were left frustrated by the sudden move.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) later held a vigil in honour of Aqsa. According to CAIR-CAN spokeswoman Maryam Dadabhoy,

We're not here to talk about religion or culture – it has nothing to do with it – we're just here based on the fact that she lost her life and we just want to work towards stopping this from happening in the future

Farheen Khan, president of the Toronto chapter of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP), said that "there's a certain stigma attached to reaching out" to victims of domestic abuse within the Muslim community in Canada, and that more needs to be done "to build that awareness that there are services – that this doesn't have to be the way it has to end" (Globe and Mail).

Hiding from mourners certainly doesn't make Aqsa's family look good. May justice prevail in this case.

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