Morning Read: Immigrant family in Kingston Ontario convicted of “honor” murders

The Kingston Whig-Standard is describing the trial as the “one of the most sensational” in the city’s history.

Three Afghan immigrants found guilty Sunday of murdering four family members and dumping their bodies in the Rideau Canal were condemned by the judge for what he called “cold-blooded” killings based on their “twisted notion of honour.”

Justice Robert Maranger sentenced Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their son, Hamed, to life in prison as one the most sensational trials in Kingston history came to a dramatic end at Frontenac County Court House.

The Shafias were convicted of killing four female family members for defying their parents’ strict codes of female behavior, which included a ban on dating.

The murders in 2009 and the trial that followed have rattled Ontario, as the province has moved to become one of the most immigrant-friendly, multi-cultural regions of Canada.  Read the full article here.

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15 Comments on “Morning Read: Immigrant family in Kingston Ontario convicted of “honor” murders”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    People need to know what country they are living in. And isn’t interesting the girls are always the ones being killed to protect the family’s honor.

  2. wakeup says:

    It doesn’t matter what country they are in. These “honor killings” should not be allowed or accepted anywhere.

  3. When Americans and Canadians go abroad, they ought to respect the customs and laws of the countries they are in, even where it differs from their own. Foreigners visiting or especially living in North America have the same obligation. Theocrats of all religions should understand that in the west, “religious belief” does not trump the democratic and secular laws of the land.

  4. Pete Klein says:

    Brian not NCPR,
    I agree but go one step further. We Americans, for our own good and especially American women, should stay out of Muslim countries.

  5. I’d agree that we should not send our soldiers to Muslim countries. I see no problem with anyone else going. The Muslim world is no more monolithic than the “Christian world” (Northern Ireland, Serbia, Canada, Sweden…). I’ve lived in two Muslim countries and found the people very warm and hospitable… on average, for nicer than Americans.

  6. Peter Hahn says:

    Im still not sure what those teenage girls did to deserve “honor killing”. It sounds like being teenagers was enough.

  7. Two Cents says:

    ” Theocrats of all religions should understand that in the west, “religious belief” does not trump the democratic and secular laws of the land.”

    perhaps not for long….

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0111/Landmark-Supreme-Court-ruling-a-resounding-win-for-religious-groups

  8. Mervel says:

    I don’t know if honor killings have anything to do with Islam itself? They happen to be practiced by people who are Muslims does not mean Islam condones the practice. From what I have read even the most conservative Islamic scholars reject the practice.

  9. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    A few weeks ago I read about a man in the US somewhere who dressed up as Santa Claus and went to a family celebration and killed several family members as well as himself. I didn’t hear any discussion afterward about the problems of Christianity.

    A murder in Canada is much more remarkable than one in the US because America is a far more violent society. Still this is a particularly abhorrent story. But it isn’t a reflection on Islam or immigrants in general. It may be instructive of what happens to people when the social fabric around them has been destroyed and they are thrown into an unfamiliar world and are unprepared for it. That may explain all the multiple murders I read about that happen in the US every single day as well.

  10. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Thank you Canada for being a particularly open and tolerant society in spite of the very rare case such as this.

  11. Mervel says:

    Honor killings are not that rare among certain tribal people, lets not whitewash this. Now of course for you guys if a Christian HAD done this indeed you would be talking about the evils of Christianity. But it is not P.C to cut down Islam so it couldn’t be Islam, pretty predictable.

    These honor killings have a societal basis. My point is simply that they probably do not have a basis in Islam, it is more likely the tribal culture itself.

  12. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mervel: “These honor killings have a societal basis. My point is simply that they probably do not have a basis in Islam, it is more likely the tribal culture itself.”

    You are correct in this. The bigger picture is that honor killings in the past– say 40 years ago — were very rare. Self-immolation was practically unheard of- anywhere, and suicide bombing, as far as I know did not exist anywhere.

    It really annoys me when everyone gets their knickers in a bunch over an isolated incident but ignore the constant barrage of violence from within our own culture.
    Every single day I open the paper I can count on seeing a report on a murder/suicide, or a shooting at a school or a McDonalds or a family gathering, or a child abduction or a church/synagogue/mosque burning, and usually there are several of these reports. Usually it is limited to only a couple of sentences because it happens so often it isn’t even a really big news story except in the locality that the crime happened and often it isn’t even a big surprise there.

    Why was a family of Afghans in Kingston in the first place? Probably as a result of a proxy war that has been going on in their own country for over 30 years. Whose interest has been served by the wars in Afghanistan, or Iraq or Iraq the one before? Or Kashmir or Palestine?

  13. Pete Klein says:

    In many Muslim countries it is perfectly okay for men to dress in modern clothing but they want the women to dress like it’s 1800 or something.
    Modesty? Bull! It’s all about the oppression of women.
    As to some jerk dressing up like Santa Claus and killing a bunch of people, Santa Claus has very little to do with Christianity. I’m not defending Christianity or putting down Santa Clause. It’s just that there isn’t a connection.

  14. jeff says:

    By experience, American born doctors have shown more respect to my female family and friends than Islamic foreign born doctors. They have noticed a strong cultural difference with the caveat that not all have been disrespectful. The also prefer to supply less information. “You do not need to know.” Wrong thing to say to the women I know.

    Fear. Insecurity. Ignorance. At all levels they may be ill-educated, by choice or otherwise. Because they have low self-esteem or isolation they hold onto their doctrine. Out of fear of being proven wrong they act by default. Their own pride needs to be defended (they believe). Afraid their manliness will be questioned.

    It can be there in Christianity too but we could all point to other cultures and religions where we’ve seen the same behavior or practices. A cure is communication. The Columbine killers were loners. The shooter in Blacksburg…. Suicides happen most often to people who become disconnected. There in Kingston were the parents isolated due to language barriers or other issues?

    A similarity I could see to this incident and random gang initiation shootings is an individual who acted, at the support of others, under the authority of a code he chose to follow.

  15. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Sometimes cultures collide. That doesn’t mean (necessarily) that people are being dis respectful.

    In many societies it is disrespectful and antagonistic to look someone in the eye, especially a woman. It can be a hard thing to overcome if you are trained one way from birth and then told to act in the opposite way.

    Obviously I have no way of knowing the particulars of any situation you may refer to.

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