Honor killing and polygamy in Canada. As I said here, “if the roots of honor killing are never discussed and always ignored, the practice will never stop. Until the Islamic roots of the practice are discussed openly and human rights groups begin calling for reform, honor killings will continue in the Islamic world — and in Muslim communities in the West.”
“Family’s plans to murder daughters, first wife hatched months before: police,” by Paul Cherry and Natalie Alcoba for the Canwest News Service, July 24 (thanks to Pamela, who has much more information on this case here):
KINGSTON/TORONTO — The suspicious circumstances that led to a car, carrying the bodies of three sisters and their father’s first wife, being submerged in the Rideau Canal began to unravel on Thursday, amid allegations of an unfathomable scenario where the girls’ parents and brother conspired in a premeditated murder.
Conspiracy charges filed at the Kingston courthouse on Thursday reveal investigators believe plans to commit the murders were hatched as far back as May 1.
The small detail in the indictment added yet another twist in a tragic story that appears to border on the bizarre — including tearful displays of mourning by those who are now accused of murder, allegations from relatives that it may all have been over honour, and a revelation that the adult initially described as a cousin was actually a first wife.
The bodies of Zainab Shafia, 19, her sisters Sahari, 17, and Geeti, 13, and 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad were pulled from a Nissan Sentra on June 30, after the car was discovered in the canal near the Kingston Mills Locks. Police refuse to disclose how they died.
Mohammad Shafia, 56, his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 39, and their eldest son, Hamed Shafia, 18, all of Montreal, are charged with four counts each of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Police said on Thursday they treated the case as suspicious from day one, even as the apparently distraught parents presented another theory to reporters – that the deaths were the end to a foolish joy ride spearheaded by the eldest daughter, who did not know how to drive but liked to take the car out for a spin without permission.
Police called that scenario false on Thursday and alleged that the three accused were the ones operating the Nissan the night of the deaths. Investigators say they have evidence to link them and a second family vehicle, a Lexus, to the locks….
A relative of the couple has told reporters she believes the murders were carried out as so-called honour killings, but police refused to comment on a possible motive.
“Some of us have different core beliefs, different family values, different sets of rules; certainly these individuals, in particular the three teenagers, were Canadian teenagers who have all the freedom and rights of expression of all Canadians,” Kingston police Chief Stephen Tanner said at a press conference on Thursday. “Whether that was a part of a motive within the family – based on one of the girls’ or more of the girls’ behaviour – is open to a little bit of speculation, but combined with other investigative issues as well.”
Kingston police confirmed on Thursday that Rona Amir Mohammad was Mohammad Shafia’s first wife, and that he was also married to Ms. Yahya. A relative who sent an anonymous e-mail to the Montreal Gazette alleged that Mr. Shafia was “disgraced” by his daughters’ behaviour in Canada, and that he wanted his first wife to return to Canada while hiding the fact they were married. The author of the e-mail said Mr. Shafia married Ms. Yahya as his second wife, because Ms. Mohammad could not have children….