Aqsa Parvez had a choice: wear a hijab to please her devout family or take it off and be like her friends. She paid for her decision with her life. When her father and brother were charged with her murder, it raised the spectre of religious zealotry in the suburbs. Is this the price of multiculturalism? By Mary Rogan
Sweet 16: more than 20 Facebook pages devoted to
Aqsa Parvez were created within days of her death
Image credit: Facebook
Over the fall of 2007, Aqsa Parvez shuttled between friends’ houses and youth shelters. She was afraid to go home. Her father, Muhammad, was enraged because she refused to obey his rules. He swore he would kill her.
On the morning of December 10, Aqsa huddled in a Mississauga bus shelter with another Grade 11 student, a girl she had been staying with for the past couple of days. They had plenty of time to make it to their first class at Applewood Heights Secondary School. As they waited, Aqsa’s 26-year-old brother Waqas, a tow-truck driver, showed up at the bus stop. He said that she should come home and get a fresh change of clothes if she was going to be staying elsewhere. Aqsa hesitated, then got into his car.
Less than an hour later, Muhammad Parvez phoned 911 and told the dispatcher that he had killed his daughter. Within minutes, police and paramedics arrived at 5363 Longhorn Trail, a winding suburban street near Eglinton and Hurontario, and found Aqsa unconscious in her bedroom. The 16-year-old wasn’t breathing. The paramedics started CPR, found a faint pulse, and rushed her to Credit Valley Hospital, 10 minutes west. A few hours later, she was transferred to SickKids and put on life support. She died just after 10 that evening. The official cause was “neck compression”—strangulation.
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