The National Post – October 26, 2012
A lethal warning from Hamed in 2009, who was later convicted of first-degree murder along with his father, Mohammad Shafia, and mother, Tooba Yahya, is revealed in Without Honour: The True Story of the Shafia Family and the Kingston Canal Murders, a new book on the disturbing case by veteran journalist Rob Tripp.
Without Honour presents a striking portrayal of the profound disconnect between Mohammad Shafia and his adopted home after his family immigrated to Montreal in 2007. But the book, like the police investigation and the criminal trial, leaves one crucial question unanswered: How exactly were the women killed? Mr. Tripp said only three people know the true story: the three killers. And none of them have yet broken their silence.
Mr. Tripp delves into details of the family’s troubled life before the four ghastly murders and the investigation that unravelled the elaborate lies. The book shows that despite Mohammad Shafia’s professed embrace of Islam and love of family, he was, above all else, a money-obsessed, cold-hearted man. When his daughter wanted to get married, he turned to a relative to help him find a cleric to perform the service, because he did not attend a mosque. Shafia did not read the Koran, although he often evoked God’s name when berating his children, Mr. Tripp writes.
National Post – October 4, 2012
Ebrahim Ebrahimi’s 19-year-old daughter, her head bloodied from severe knife wounds, had just been rushed to hospital, and his handcuffed wife was under arrest. Two years later, Mr. Ebrahimi is trying to piece that life back together, and he took the stand in defence of his wife at her trial for attempted murder. He acknowledged that Johra Kaleki attacked their daughter, Bahar Ebrahimi — it was his intervention that saved Bahar — but he praised his wife as a gentle woman who was a “best friend” to their four daughters.
Montreal police have described the attack as an honour crime, based in large part on a four-hour statement Ms. Kaleki gave the night she was arrested. In that statement, which has been played in court, Ms. Kaleki described the strict rules she and her husband, immigrants from Afghanistan, enforced in their household. Ms. Ebrahimi and her sisters were forbidden from drinking, smoking, staying out late and having boyfriends, she said.
Ms. Ebrahimi had been rebelling against her parents and their Muslim faith, and on the weekend she was attacked, she stayed out past dawn two nights in a row. Mr. Ebrahimi will continue his testimony when the case resumes on Jan. 21.
The National Post – Feb 24, 2012
Controversial Canadian Muslim preacher Bilal Philips has been deported from Kenya due to security concerns, hours after he landed in the country for a speaking tour, Nairobi newspapers have reported. “We had to turn him away because he easily mobilizes people using his controversial teachings wherever he goes,” said Njiru Mwaniki, chief of the Anti-Terrorism Police. “This is dangerous to our country.”
A Jamaican-Canadian and now a resident of Qatar, Bilal Philips is a contemporary Islamic scholar, teacher, speaker, and author. Philips founded the Islamic Online University as a completely tuition-free institution that is offering an online intensive, undergraduate, and graduate courses in Islamic Studies. The university offers a four year bachelor of arts degree in Islamic studies program.
National Post – October 21, 2011
Crown prosecutors alleged in Ontario Superior Court that a so-called “honour killing,” had been transplanted into the heart of central Canada. Found dead by drowning in a black Nissan Mr. Shafia had bought just eight days earlier – the suggestion implicit that he got it for that very purpose – were Rona Amir Mohammad, the barren wife who had been presented to the children and outsiders both as an “auntie,” and rebellious daughters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and 13-year-old Geeti. Charged with four counts each of first-degree murder are Mr. Shafia, Ms. Yahya and their oldest son Hamid, who was 18 at the time. All are pleading not guilty.
In another snippet recorded by the device police had placed in a family car, Mr. Shafia told Ms. Yahya, “They committed treason themselves. They betrayed humankind. They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion-they betrayed everything.”
The court also heard how the teenagers had rebelled against their parents – once, from a street corner in Montreal where the family lived, they begged a stranger to call 911 for them because they were so afraid to go home. Quebec child protection authorities twice investigated complaints from Sahar’s school, once little more than three weeks before the four bodies were found.
The National Post – September 12, 2011
A majority of Canadians believes conflict between Western nations and the Muslim world is “irreconcilable,” according to a new national survey that revealed a strong strain of pessimism in the country. The survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted over three days for the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, showed 56% of respondents see Western and Muslim societies locked in an unending ideological struggle, while about 33% held out hope the conflict will eventually be overcome.
Another 11% of those polled didn’t answer the question. ACS executive director Jack Jedwab said the finding has “serious ramifications” for Canadian policies aimed at bridging divides between cultures, which are based on the premise that citizens believe significant progress in mending such religious and cultural conflicts is achievable.
The results also confirm the findings of other recent surveys highlighting Canadians’ ongoing anxiety about the state of security in the post-9/11 world and their deep doubts about whether the long and bloody war in Afghanistan has done much to thwart the threat of terrorism.
June 24, 2011
Earlier this month, Jonathan Kay attended a Parliament Hill conference in Ottawa entitled “Terrorism in Canada: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Strategies,” put on by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), featuring prominent terrorism experts from both sides of the border.
In the Canadian context, David Harris, the former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, expressed doubt about whether even limited forms of community “outreach” were viable, given that governments generally have trouble distinguishing radicals from moderates. Naheed Mustafa, a CBC Radio producer and author with extensive knowledge of issues affecting the Canadian Muslim community, also critiqued the current approach – albeit from a different perspective. As she sees it, the constant focus on fixing Islam helps reinforce the incorrect idea “that religiosity is necessary and sufficient to create terrorism.”
The National Post – May 28, 2011
Peter Beyer, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, has conducted a study to gather insights from about 350 second-generation Canadians aged 18 to 30 through 36 focus groups in Sydney, N.S., Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. Muslim young adults attributed the discrimination they felt to racial or cultural prejudices rather than religious issues, saying they felt they could follow their faith unfettered in Canada. “They feel that they’re perfectly free to practise Islam here in Canada, unlike some of the Christians who feel that their ability to practise their religion is restricted in this country,” Prof. Beyer said. “But they did feel Islamophobia.”
Second-generation Canadians are both optimistic and critical of the concept of multiculturalism in Canada, he said. They believe integrating and learning from each other could be a hugely positive experience that too often turns into immigrant communities living in “silos” side by side -and they blame their immigrant parents, not the rest of society, for that.
National Post – May 5, 2011
Geert Wilders has made his name as one of the world’s most outspoken opponents of Islam. The controversial Dutch parliamentarian does not hate Muslims, he’s famously said, but he does hate Islam. Mr. Wilders will bring his message to Canada, a country he says faces the same prospects of being Islamicized as his own. He is the marquee speaker at an invitation-only event hosted by the International Free Press Society and the Canada Christian College.
“Geert Wilders has a warning for Canada, and his warning is about a lack of free speech here and the threat of demographic jihad,” said Charles McVety, president of the Canada Christian College. “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a political and cultural system and we know that Christians, Jews and Hindus don’t have the same mandate for a hostile takeover. Here in Canada there is a real, clear and present danger. And we’re not even allowed to say anything about it. That’s what Geert Wilders is going to talk about.”
Members of the Toronto Muslim community say they were unaware of any planned hostile takeover and dismiss Mr. Wilders as racist and illinformed. Dr Liyakat Takim, Sharjah Chair in Global Islam at McMaster University, said if discussions over radical Islam and multiculturalism in Canada are worth having, a closed presentation by Mr. Wilders is not the way to go about that. Farooq Khan, executive director of the North American Muslim Foundation, said Mr. Wilders and his allies only make religious and cultural tensions worse.
The National Post – March 11, 2011
The report from the 2008 commission headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor was supposed to clarify, finally, the boundaries where secular politics and religious accommodation could reside comfortably in Quebec. But in the three years since making public their “reasonable accommodation” recommendations, things have only grown more tense, leading Mr. Bouchard last week to bemoan to a Montreal reporter the persistence of “division among the people.”
“A lot of the debate has been compounded by the growing presence of non-Christians in Canada,” says Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. “There’s a significant percentage of people who are worried about the threat of non-Christian immigration, and the percentage is not declining.” Worries about hostile Islamists taking advantage of our open society are, he believes, “the dominant issue” hidden beneath the reasonable accommodation debate.
The confrontation doesn’t always look like it’s about Muslims. For decades, the Alberta government was just fine with allowing members of its Hutterite colonies to own special driver’s licences that had no photographs on them, as this conflicted with their beliefs. The province never mentioned any growing concern around Muslim veils, but called it a necessary security measure. But it’s a security measure exactly like the debate over whether veiled women should vote or whether Sikhs can bring kirpans in the National Assembly; post-9/11 any thinking about so-called security measures plainly considers radical Islam top of mind.
National Post – January 27, 2011
A controversial imam who was deported to Tunisia from Canada in 2007 is in U.S. custody after being discovered in the trunk of a BMW shortly after crossing over from Mexico. Said Jaziri, 43, was one of two illegal aliens apprehended on Jan. 11 just east of San Diego, said Steven Pitts, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman.
Canada revoked refugee status and deported the Muslim cleric, who encouraged demonstrations in Montreal against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, after discovering that he had concealed the fact he had served jail time in France for assault.