Thursday, January 31

Give all women the benefit of advocacy - by Ginette Petitpas-Taylor

The murder in Mississauga last month of Aqsa Parvez, allegedly at the hands of her father, allegedly for reasons of faith, has been touted as an example of irreconcilable conflict between two cultures: the culture of Islam as interpreted by Aqsa's father, and the culture of "The West".

People everywhere reacted to the teenager's death. Between too-faint condemnation and holier-than-thou righteousness, few have hit the right note.

Some sought to blame Islam for the varied interpretations it allows of its teachings, like most religions. Others seek to blame Canada's religious freedoms.

There were 96 cases of family murder in 2005, including 21 child victims. We can't blame Islam for those deaths.

Like human rights legislation internationally, Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms concerns itself in detail with the protection of the rights of minorities against the "tyranny of the majority." That is how we reach a balance in situations that would otherwise threaten social cohesion.

Our job is not to apportion blame, but to seek the justice that is allowed by the laws. Part of this justice-seeking is to question why this young woman did not feel safe enough to seek protection from those institutions designed to help those being victimized. We need reach out to others like her.

Related addresses:
Full Story at Straight Goods
New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status Of Women

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