The Family That Murders Their Children In The Name Of Honour Together, Stays Together

Verdict: Guilty, guilty, guilty. From CBC:

Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya and their son Hamed, who had pleaded not guilty, were each handed an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. They were accused of killing Hamed’s three sisters and his father’s childless first wife in a polygamous marriage. The bodies of Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, along with Rona Mohammad Amir, 50, were found in the family’s Nissan, submerged in a lock on the Rideau Canal on June 30, 2009. “It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime,” Justice Robert Maranger said.

So that’s that, at least until the appeal. The son in that photo is one angry-looking convicted murderer.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

18 thoughts on “The Family That Murders Their Children In The Name Of Honour Together, Stays Together”

  1. There’s no indication whether this is a file photo or whether it was taken after the sentencing, so maybe ascription of Hamed’s emotional state is speculative.
    A Canadian tragedy? Not in the least.

  2. It’s true–depending when the photo was taken, he might still be an angry-looking accused murderer!

  3. I agree with the sentence but not with the statement: “It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime.” Ughh…Holocaust what-now? Crimes involving children? Karadashian fame? EEEASY…

  4. #5,7: I don’t understand how a respectful request for clarification is conditional upon disuse of a nom de guerre. Barb, if you don’t wish to express yourself more clearly that’s certainly your prerogative, but I fail to see the equivalency between clarity and anonymity.

    (My guess is that Barb sees the turn of phrase “a Canadian tragedy” as hyperbolical, but hopefully she will chose to comment on this herself.)

  5. It’s “nom de plume”, actually, but we’ll let that go.
    As for my response in #7, I’ve recently had my suspicions that “anonymous” on the dogblog is sometimes a sock puppet, and I don’t care for that.
    Before there”s clarification from me, perhaps we should take a step back and ask Mr. Miliokas why he characterized the story under discussion as a “Canadian tragedy, redefined”.

  6. To my surprise, Anonymous and Anonolous are actually different people. They’re also both regular commentators (thank you!) who for whatever reason are posting under different code names than they have in the past.

    Anonymity is fine on this blog but I wish people would pick a cool nickname and stick with it.

  7. Since I’m the one who initially mentioned “Canadian tragedy,” please allow me to elaborate.
    My understanding is that the victims of this crime sought protection on several occasions from government agencies that exist for that very purpose. For whatever reason(s), they did not receive protection and subsequently were murdered. The system failed them, and because the system is Canadian, this is, in my opinion, a Canadian tragedy.
    Thank you.

  8. One reason for the failure mentioned by Mr. Miliokas (thanks for the elaboration) was that the girls recanted what they had said about their home situation. What then should the government agencies have done?
    Should there be a child-apprehension policy tailored specifically for certain ethnic/religious groups, with more aggressive actions prescribed? Not sure you’d want to go there.

  9. The Moslem religion had as much to do with the murders as Christianity had to do with the Colin Thatcher murder. But from watching CBC News Now, you’d think every Moslem man was capable of committing murder in defence of his family’s ‘honour …

  10. #12 Indeed, a child-apprehension policy that is tailored specifically for certain ethnic/religious groups, with more aggressive actions prescribed is DEFINITELY NOT the direction in which we want to go in our attempt to fix this problem. Again, that’s why I call it a Canadian tragedy. It’s not about “certain ethnic/religious groups.” It’s about all of us, as Canadians, taking a closer look at the system and, hopefully, finding a way that would make it possible for all Canadians to seek protection without the risk of retribution.
    What should the government agencies then have done? I don’t know, Barb. That’s the problem, and also the point. Maybe it’s time we found an answer to this question.

  11. Regardless of news agency or demographic, I find it sad when, following events like this, law-abiding Canadians stand before the cameras to reassure us, “We’re not ALL like that, you know.”
    Are we insulting these people by demanding they provide this reassurance, or are we extending a courtesy by providing an opportunity for them to communicate something they WANT or feel they NEED to express?
    I don’t know. Thoughts?

  12. #13: the CBC coverage I saw specifically mentioned other cases of so-called honour killings which were perpetrated by non-Muslims (having to do with caste differences, etc.); you may have missed that. There was a good deal of rapid-fire and variable commentary yesterday, so that’s a real possibility.
    #14: unless so-called honour killings happen only in Canada and not in other multicultural countries, I’d quibble about this being a Canadian tragedy.
    #15: I choose Door #2. If folks didn’t want to comment, they wouldn’t; obviously they have opinions and want them aired. The law-abiding are taking the opportunity to educate their fellow Canadians, to fight stereotyping, and to send a message to their communities and the generations represented in them.

  13. #16 Light bulb moment: Now I get it. Yes, I see where you’re coming from, and in that context I agree wholeheartedly. I certainly don’t see this as being singularly Canadian. What I meant in my context is that I hope within this country itself we will look at the larger picture and approach this as a Canadian issue, period, as opposed to shrugging it off as being a hyphenated-Canadian thing and therefore a concern to some and not to others.

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