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No To Hijab: Honour Killing Is Terrorism

by Taj Hashmi

18 December, 2007

The latest ghastly murder of sixteen-year-old Aqsa in Toronto is another spine chiller; not only because the way her Muslim father killed her but also because she fell victim to a grossly misconstrued belief nourished, promoted and encouraged by millions of obscurantist custodians of Islam. It is shocking that what ignorant Muslims have been doing with impunity in the so-called Muslim World – killing and victimizing weak and innocent in the name of Islam – can also happen in Canada and other civilized countries. This is a wakeup call for everybody who wants to protect life, property and honor of all human beings, everywhere.

Although honuor killing is not unique to Muslims as it is pervasive among many pre-modern communities from Brazil to India, yet countries like Canada where human rights and dignity are unassailable, this sort of barbarity in any name or excuse is simply unacceptable. It is time that the government and people of Canada take some immediate, drastic measures to weed out all forms of monstrosity. Canada should take a bold and timely step towards uplifting Canadian Muslim women by curbing the power and influence of the Muslim clerics and their blind followers. One may, in this regard, point out the Ontario government’s bold decision not to introduce the draconian, un-Islamic Shariah law despite the pressure from obscurantist Canadian Muslims in the recent past.

The Government should proscribe all intolerant publications, including misogynic, patriarchal and subjective interpretations of the Quran and Shariah law. It should closely monitor the curricula of the so-called Islamic schools in Canada as well as the sermons of Muslim clerics, which often justify terrorism and persecution of non-Muslims and women as “Islamic”. Inciting and justifying violence against Muslim women, as some semi-literate Canadian clerics have been doing with impunity in the wake of this terrible murder, should be made criminal offence. Canada does not afford the extravagance of tolerating any violation of human rights and dignity in the name of protecting “multiculturalism”, which has done more harm than benefiting the minorities in the country.

As an active opponent of the outlandish proposal to introduce Shariah law in Ontario in 2005, I strongly feel that any justification of Hijab, let alone honour killing” in the name of Islam, should be treated as an affront to Canadian law and constitution. And there are specific laws against such violations. Further leniency to intolerance of Muslim clerics, which is as grave as denying the Holocaust, will be detrimental to the best interests of Canada. There is no reason to draw a line between incitement / justification of suicide bombing and the not-so-subtle justification of further honour killing by sections of Muslims in Canada. Honour killing is nothing but terrorism in different name.

One who knows Islamic history and culture, the egalitarian and emancipating teachings and spirit of the Holy Quran, knows it well that as the Shariah code is hardly Islamic so are the age-old customs of seclusion of women and Hijab. The Quran only prohibits immodesty and promiscuity for both Muslim men and women. The institutions of seclusion, concubinage, polygamy, harem and female genital mutilation are not Islamic at all. They were later accretions and practices imitated by early Muslims from the Greeks, Persians and Afro-Arabian tribes.

In sum, as there is no room for Shariah in Canada for its un-Islamic and un-Canadian character, it is time that Canada imposes a ban on Hijab and Burqa in public offices and educational institutions as the first step towards eventually banning it for their promotion of patriarchy and misogyny. Meanwhile, the government should take drastic measures against the killer of Aqsa and his ardent supporters both within and outside the mosque.

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