Shafelia Ahmad- Victim of Eastern &Western Culture

By Majed Iqbal- After years of investigation, a court today found the parents of Shafelia Ahmed guilty of murdering their 17-year-old daughter. Both parents colluded in the cold-blooded murder, suffocating their daughter to death and threatened their children to remain silent or else face the same fate.

The heinous crime and savagery that these parents displayed with no remorse, lying to the media and silencing their own family was beyond belief.

Unsurprisingly, the media attacked the concept of honour and questioned its applicability in modern Western Societies by minority communities.

Reportage on the case focused on how Shafelia was caught between Eastern and Western Values and how the 17-year-old aspiring lawyer had a bright life ahead that was finished by defending the honour of the family for her increased ‘Westernised’ behavior.

No sane person can defend this calculated murder and has been said time and time again ‘There is no Honour in Honour killings’. Despite this stance, the blame continues to fall on Islamic culture, dubbed as treating women as second class citizens and denying them equal status.

Whilst Islam is diametrically opposed to many practices found in Eastern Culture like forced marriages, equally, Islam is opposed to many aspects of Western Culture which commodify ideas like freedom to be the sole ideal to be sought for, which includes girl friend- boy friend relationships, pre-marital sex and homo sexual relationships.

Shafelia became a victim of both cultures, East and West, a far cry from what Islamic teaches and promotes.

No parents should ever resort to physical harm with their children. Teenagers need to be engaged with, reasoned with and a dialogue should be opened to exchange ideas whilst providing good atmospheres and avenues in which this can take place. In the worst case scenario, Teenagers must be given the option of moving out and amending their ways whilst keeping the option of the parent’s home open at all times.

Teenage life is riddled with difficulties and with the explosion of Social networking sites, Society and Technology have taken over the role of parenthood, no matter what background you come from. Secular values have destroyed morality, respect for the elderly and the social fabric of family life yet these are quoted as our saviours, as in this case!

Many other cultures also suffer from the same diseased practice of honour killings. These include Sikh, European, Hindu and African communities. However, this discussion will not be at the forefront of this news coverage.




  1. She was a victim of eastern honour-culture….her death has nothing to do with western culture as you know well

  2. The case of Shafilea Ahmed’s murder is much more complex than a tale of backward parents and progressive children.

    Actually it is the question of identity in the modern world. 2nd and 3rd generation economic migrants often struggle to understand who they are.

    False identity are often formed based on superficial understanding of the modern world , the identities tended to rational and materialistic.
    Unfortunately the rural migrants are unable to differentiate or give any moral or spiritual understanding of the modern world to their off spring – leading to cultural schizophrenia – often many young muslims lead double life , pious at home and partying at university.

    My view is if you have chosen to live in this country instill in your offspring a moral frame work with spiritual under pinnings.
    Let them make their own mistakes and come to appreciate there is no point reinventing the wheel.

    As for the claim West is best this is a hollow claim until the west can reconcile it liberal democratic outlook with its self serving foreign policy.

    Anti Islam propoganda in the Western media for the past 20 years, which accellerated after the 911, is having the opposite effect. Some educated people in the West mainly out of curiosity want to learn what Islam is about. When they approach their research with an open mind, probably most of them form positive impressions about Islam and some of whom rightfully convert. In the USA after the events of 911, convertions to Islam pheonominally increased maily in amongst the educated white community and a large majority of them were females.

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