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.