Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Ban Hijab for Aqsa Parvez

On 11th of December, in Mississauga, Canada, Aqsa, a 16 year old Canadian girl was choked to death by her Pakistani father, Muhammad Parvez, for not wearing hijab. “She wanted to live her life the way she wanted to, not the way her parents wanted her to,” her classmates told the reporters. “She just wanted to be herself, honestly she just wanted to show her beauty, and not be pushed around by her parents telling her what she has to be like, what she has to do. Nobody would want to do that.”
Yes, nobody would want to do that, but sadly many girls born in Islamic families are forced to do that.

One day after the death of Aqsa, I received an email from an 18 year old girl from UK. She said that she has been reading about Islam and she has decided not to follow that religion. However, her Muslim parents force her to wear hijab and her sister told her that if their mother learns about her views, “she would either kill you or she’ll kill herself”.

I sent her the story of Aqsa and what her father did to her. She wrote back and said, “What an animal! Anyways, I don’t think my mom cares about my beliefs, as long as I don’t have a boy friend, [and don’t] take off my hijaab.”

The truth is that Aqsa’s father was not an animal either. He was just a devout Muslim, who had worked hard and had built a nice home for his family in an upscale neighborhood. He was an ideal immigrant, a true “success story.” However, he had no choice. He did what he had to do. As one friend wrote, “In a way there are two victims in this case. This man like any other father must have loved, nurtured and cared for his daughter for years. It is so unfortunate that he finds himself turned into a monster that ate his own progeny.” Then this friend asked “What kind of ideology was it that turned a simple hard working family man into a revolting image of himself?”

What the westerners do not understand is that Muslims have different values, which are diametrically in contrast with western values. Western societies are guilt based. In guilt based societies individuals base their conduct on “right” and “wrong”. They try to do the right thing and if they do something wrong, they feel guilty. Muslim societies are shame based. In shame based societies individuals base their conduct on the opinion of others about them. What really counts is to look good. In shame cultures, if you do something wrong, as long as no one sees it and knows about it, you are okay. You can still keep your head high and act as an honorable member of the society. It is the image that you project of yourself that matters. You must do everything to protect that image. It is all about keeping the appearances.

In guilt societies, how you dress or don’t dress is your business. You can practice nudity and even promiscuity and have no shame. As long as you don’t violate someone else’s rights you can do whatever you like. Such a thing is inconceivable for Muslims who come from shame societies and where everybody's life is the business of everybody else. This makes the western and Islamic cultures essentially incompatible. If this problem is not resolved soon, it will result is a major clash and dire consequences.

In a subsequent email my young British friend wrote, “My mom has noticed a change in me, ..and she said today, ‘I hope you haven’t done anything because so an so aunt will laugh.' Jesus! Who cares about so and so aunt who doesn’t even care about us?”

This is the crux of the problem. In Islamic societies people live in function of the opinion of others about them. That is the only thing that really matters to them. Muhammad Parvez was devastated by the fact that her 16 year old daughter wanted to dress like her classmates and show off her beauty. How could he look into the eyes of his Muslim friends with such a daughter? Muslims call western women “sluts” for not covering themselves. For Mr. Parvez his daughter’s western clothing was a major source of shame and dishonor. He had no choice but to kill her. There is hardly anything for which we humans are willing to die for like our honor. This is far truer in shame based societies, where guilt plays virtually no role and everything is based on shame and honor.

Millions of girls living in Muslim families in the west are abused, beaten and face death by their own loved ones because of honor. Don’t assume that these girls are the only victims. Their families are also victims. They are left with no choice, but to kill the apple of their own eyes. Everyone in this tragedy is a victim. It’s the government that is guilty!

The government is guilty for letting down its Muslim citizens and particularly its most vulnerable members. There was no need for Aqsa to die. If hijab is banned, no Muslim can look down at other Muslims for not observing it and no one will have to feel shame. Muslims hardy wear hijab or observe any Islamic custom when they live in places where there are few Muslims. This problem arises only when they congregate together and build their shame based communities.

The 20th century Pahlavi ruler Reza Shah knew how to handle this problem. He banned the chador (Iranian style of veil) in 1936. He ordered the police to arrest woman wearing chador and forcibly remove it. Although this policy outraged the mullahs, the average Iranians were relieved. The ban allowed them to be free without having to deal with the burden of shame. The historian Mir-Hosseini writes, “this move was welcomed by Westernized and upperclass men and women, who saw it in liberal terms as a first step in granting women their rights." She continues, 'between 1941 and 1979 wearing hejab [hijab] was no longer an offence, but it was a real hindrance to climbing the social ladder, a badge of backwardness and a marker of class. A headscarf, let alone the chador, prejudiced the chances of advancement in work and society not only of working women but also of men, who were increasingly expected to appear with their wives at social functions. Fashionable hotels and restaurants refused to admit women with chador, schools and universities actively discouraged the chador, although the headscarf was tolerated. It was common to see girls from traditional families, who had to leave home with the chador, arriving at school without it and then putting it on again on the way home'." (cited in El-Guindi 1999 pp. 174-175)

Despite his flaws, Reza Shah is hailed as a hero and the father of modern Persia by many Iranians because he banned the hijab. He was a Muslim and was keenly aware of the Muslim mind. He knew that only with the fist of the law Muslims can be rescued from their backward traditions. He broke down the power and prestige of the clergy, discarded the Islamic law, closed down Islamic madrassahs, forbade religious processions, and replaced the Islamic calendar with the old Persian-Zoroastrian solar calendar. He prohibited the Islamic call to prayer and discouraged the pilgrimage to Mecca. He even forced the clergy to shave and take off their robe and engage in honorable professions. The majority of Iranians welcomed his reforms. He was seen as a liberator. He set Iran free from the oppression of the culture of shame. It is this shame that inhibits Muslims to take the first step and stand out of the crowd.

Western governments have a duty towards their Muslim citizens and particularly their women that traditionally have been the most disadvantaged members of Islamic societies. If hijab was banned in Canada Aqsa would be alive today and a hard working good father would not have had to become the murderer of his own beloved daughter. The government failed both Aqsa and her father.

There are millions Muslim families who share Parvez’s predicament in western countries. The girls in these families are under greater pressure and bigger danger than those living in Islamic countries. In Islamic countries everyone wears the same clothing. It is much easier for Muslim girls to conform and comply there than in western countries. It is here that they need to be protected.

Aqsa is dead. Her beauty will be devoured by a cold grave. That bud was nipped before blossoming into a full flower. Will we let her death go in vain or will we ban hijab and set millions of Muslims free in her memory?

We must ban hijab, save innocent lives, end this abuse, and absolve the poor Muslim parents from their unbearable burden. Muslim parents are not animals. They are torn apart between their love of their children and their honor. Only the government can take that burden away. The only people who would not welcome this ban will be the mullahs who will see their power reduced. The average Muslims will be grateful and relieved from the oppression of their peers’ scornful eyes.

Now that Muslims are living in the west in such a large numbers, politicians must make an extra effort to understand the Muslim mind. Only the hand of law can put an end to this culture of shame and force Muslims to integrate. If we let this division stand, a clash between these two cultures will become inevitable.

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Ali Sina is the editor of He is has contributed in 'Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside Islam'.  His latest book is Understanding Muhammad: The Psychobiography of Allah’s Prophet will be published soon.

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Comment Notes: Keep comments short. Our system cannot separate paragraphs. Comments must be relevant to the topic of the article. We did not regulate the comments but if irrelevant comments, materials, adds of other websites etc. are being uploaded, we will have to regulate the comments and even ban the IP addresses of such nuisance posters.

Name: Kat
Date: Tuesday December 18, 2007
Time: 11:32:36 -0700


What a great article! This is truly a big step toward an answer for the problem. BAN THAT HIJAB! Keep America free for all.

Name: good article...ban hijab everywhere
Date: Tuesday December 18, 2007
Time: 22:56:15 -0700


good article, ban hijab everywhere.

Name: hijab and vulgarity obsenity
Date: Tuesday December 18, 2007
Time: 22:58:31 -0700


ban hijad. vulgarity and obsenity is not in the woman's body it is in the eyes who look at woman's bosy and decide. so muslim mind set needs to change. mother nature evolved man and woman,and woman's body is one of the most beautiful art of mother nature....why muslim men want to ban it ? bcoz they falsely believe some non existant allah created man,but truth is man is evolved by nature and its our birth right to be free.

Name: U.K. TODAY.
Date: Wednesday December 19, 2007
Time: 07:16:19 -0700


Is it possible to link the vast oils of "Mecca" to a brutal strangulation on a distant continent?. If the "Black gold" of modern day necessity had been abundant elsewhere, would their be such a thing as "Radical Islam"?. Isn't it likely, Saudi Arabia and its abhorrent "cult" would still be lodged firmly in the Stone Age, a backwater of total insignificance, derided as the civilisation that refused to move on, or grow up?. Perhaps the Saudis see crude oil as their one chance of historical meaning and (to the detriment of the mankind), are willing to "revert" the world back in time to some 1500 years ago. If so, does this mean our forefathers blood, sweat, toil and tears, let alone beliefs can be traded in to a gas guzzling Chevy?.How many innocent lives to a gallon of premium?. "Fate" can be viewed as a series of random chances or occurrences. where as, War, incitement, Murder, Indoctrination, and a stubborn refusal to "update" the human struggles and achievements of mankind can be found in but ONE tract of our worlds subversive teachings. No surprises its that of Islam. When a teen-age girls life is barbarically taken away by a "zombie" of this insidious cult, we shake our heads, yet in some ways except it as part of "stone age" life. Shockingly though, this "cult" now "slithers" around the very fabric of our futures and dreams, YET WE DO NOTHING. Islam, Saudi Arabia and the Muslims that walk among us have but one dream. To induct us, as lifelong members of the stone age hall of fame. The fragmentation of our many dreams may be the secret of their success. Oh! that and oil.

Date: Wednesday December 19, 2007
Time: 13:39:17 -0700


Salvation in Islam vs. Salvation in Christianity:

Name: jade
Date: Thursday December 20, 2007
Time: 03:48:07 -0700


my friend wears the hijab because she wants to. and she is really happy that shes free to do that in the West. surely if they are banned everywhere we are taking away her freedom too. i think a person should be FREE to dress in whatever manner they chose in a non- muslim (christian)country, even if that means wearing the headscarf.

Name: Samir Haddad
Date: Thursday December 20, 2007
Time: 09:16:15 -0700


Islam is a religion of piece...of shit!

Name: Mehul Kamdar
Date: Friday December 21, 2007
Time: 06:27:22 -0700


Canada's so-called "Liberal" politicians are as responsible for Aqsa's death as her father and brothers who killed her and the mad mullahs who goaded them on. The previous Prime Minister Paul Martin and Ontario's current Premier Dalton McGuinty both tried to bring Sharia Courts in in 2004 to adjudicate in Muslim personal law. The two slick Canadian politicians, facing a national election over corruption and severe mismanagement, tried this ploy to gain the votes of the 600,000 strong Muslim community in the country in the country. When secular and liberal Muslim activists created an uproar, they dropped the plan with winks to each other hinting that their purpose might have been achieved. For Martin, this didn't work as he found himself consigned to the trashcan. Mc Guinty still rules over Ontario. It is time for truly liberal people as opposed to crooked politicians who claim to be liberal while they ally themselves with the most recalcitrant illiberals to call crooks like Martin and Mc Guinty to account. By their indirect endrsement of fire and brimstone imams they managed to cause a little girl's death. And, mark my words - they have opened a PAndra's box by allying themselves with these propagandists of murder - there will be more Aqsas. The human disease from Iran, Arabia and AFghanistan has come to stay in North America as surely as it has in Europe.

Name: will
Date: Saturday December 22, 2007
Time: 17:33:46 -0700


RIP Aqsa... Islam failed you... Your parents failed you... And we failed you.... MAKE ISLAM ILLEGAL!

Name: Muslim
Date: Saturday December 22, 2007
Time: 18:02:03 -0700


Your articles are biased and full of hatred towards islam, more like you fear islam. Well as jade said by banning hijab you will take freedom from those who want to wear hijab. Mr. Parvez 's story is unknown to me, but if he did so then a true muslim will never agree on killing a human soul he will be accountable for this in God's eyes as God forbids to kill (on name of religion, honor or anything). Anyway this comment is not in support of my religion, by Allah grace it is already the most wide spreading religion in the world, there is no sword to spread it then why is it spreading because its the true Word of Allah. bye

Name: Voice of Reason
Date: Friday December 28, 2007
Time: 09:24:11 -0700


I think we should ban ignorance. I do not completely comprehend what banning a piece of fabric is supposed to resolve?!? Its the meaning and respect of the scarf that makes it religious. By banning all the ignorance in the world, most of which is present on this dumb site--that would definitely be a start..

Name: Peace
Date: Saturday December 29, 2007
Time: 14:08:35 -0700


“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 Is banning the Hijab, a step forward for Muslim women’s rights - or more racist discrimination against the entire Muslim population?

Name: to the one that signed Muslim
Date: Tuesday January 08, 2008
Time: 07:17:13 -0700


to the one that signed muslim, I have begun to read the koran and I do find that the killing of people if fully allowed. If the language that you normally speak isn't arabic, you need to read it in a language that you can understand. Then you will know the truth. I am learning it, not just from this site, but from the koran it's self. And it is the most hate filled, intolerant, back stabbing, vile, and to boot, it makes people afraid that if they don't do what they are told to do, that they will go to hell. Read the koran in a language that you can understand, then you will know the truth yourself. Unless you have been so brainwashed to believe that if you read it in a language you can understand that you'll be turned into stone.

Date: Thursday January 10, 2008
Time: 18:15:12 -0700


LOL ali sina ur a stupid fuck! its like saying ban judaism because they killed jesus christ! go blow ur dad u iranian piece of shit! go to hell sucker!

Name: Nour
Date: Sunday January 13, 2008
Time: 06:30:23 -0700


When the oil wells dry up, there will be no Islam. Western nations are addicted to the Saudi oil, and the Saudis are using every petrodollar to corrupt the western politicians and spread their godless paganism of hatred and intolerance by building Mosques and Medersas, and paying imams and propagandists around the world. I agree, with MR. Sina, ban Hijab and close these entire brainwashing establishments. No freedom for the enemies of freedom. It makes me laugh when some fanatics, like the guy who calls himself Muslim, that Islam is spreading. It’s the opposite that is a true. If one Christian converts to Islam, his name will be on the first page of all Arab Newspapers, but when thousands of Muslims convert to other region or become agnostic, nobody will report the news. Don’t worry; this religion with its today’s version will go no where. It will shrink; as a matter of fact it’s already shrinking, and in a few years, not decades, will disappear. Like every totalitarian ideology, it begets its self-destructive ingredients.

Name: nichelle
Date: Tuesday January 15, 2008
Time: 07:26:23 -0700


it does not matter what belife you are, aney man who hits his doter or wife is NOT A MAN HES A MONSTER i dont think islam is bad the peple who abuse it is

Name: indonesaian man
Date: Tuesday January 15, 2008
Time: 22:16:49 -0700


islam must be prohibited. This religion brings calamity, teach dislike. this religion is very danger.

Name: indonesian man
Date: Tuesday January 15, 2008
Time: 22:16:55 -0700


islam must be prohibited. This religion brings calamity, teach dislike. this religion is very danger.

Name: RS
Date: Friday January 18, 2008
Time: 06:49:58 -0700


very well written artcile.A sina has hit the nail on the head. I live in UK and simailar case has occured with in Pakistani community in recent months. Parents apparently killed and the dumped their daughter in river about 100 miles away. Her sin was that girl would no go to Pakistan to be married according to her father's wishes. These are purely a local custome based practiced forces through with coating of Islam because such actions are sanctified in Quran. Remember salvation, the paradise and every thing else, no matter how henious the act might be, if carried out on the basis Quranic teachings. "Allah the merciful!, knower of all"ends up creating two victims out of one tragedy born out total ignorance lack of commonsense. Does knower really know it at all? I wonder. History tells that other communities had similar henious practices but they abandons them however,in 21st centuray, in Islam people embrace them with great enthusiasm and then go at length to justify it.

Name: Ananda
Date: Saturday January 19, 2008
Time: 19:14:18 -0700


To Ali Sina - Banning Hijab is a modest start, all modern nations must find ways for doing it soon. But Muslim women are degraded in Quran, humiliated by Muhammad, and unfairly treated under Sharia. Any idea how to correct these problems?

Name: saira ashraf
Date: Wednesday March 26, 2008
Time: 12:29:51 -0700


Hi i am a twelve year old girl i dont wear a hijab.I agree he shouldnt of strangled his daughter but that dosent give no right for any body to band the hijab. Hijab is part of a muslim womens life and i would hate to see anyone to band the hijab what the heck do you lot think your playing at.No one disses my religon no one. MUSLIMS ARE THE BEST.And we know that what we are doin is brilliant.

Name: tariq shah
Date: Monday May 19, 2008
Time: 09:02:09 -0700


it is so sad story ...... i mis you aqsa but ... you know that ..........aubt hijab is must for wamen .......for eximple if you no wear hijab .evrebody seeing to you .if you douwn for a some work you dont know that some people seeing my boobs...when you r sit any plase you r boobs links is showing to stand person .you should try .......... the clthes is most for every body........... but it is not good you do like do aqsa ........ me tariq shah

Name: Muslim
Date: Sunday June 15, 2008
Time: 04:10:36 -0700


a true muslim would never kill anyone, especially his own daughter. how can you guys think that this man was a muslim? my father wants me to wear hijab too but he told me that its my choice. as long as i cover my body. aqsa's dad wasn't a true muslim and if Christianity is so great then why do people say bad things about Islam .doesn't their religion say anything about the freedom of religion. why can't they just say good things sbout their religion and convice people to their side. is it because their religioon isn't good enough. Try to learn about Islam and then decide. Visit

Date: Wednesday June 25, 2008
Time: 09:42:19 -0700


why do you have hookers on this page? HOW MUCH DO Y'ALL CHARGE FOR DOGGY STYLE?

Date: Wednesday June 25, 2008
Time: 09:43:41 -0700



Name: Gangster
Date: Thursday July 24, 2008
Time: 03:46:23 -0700


Good the bitch died, i wuda cumed her to death anyway, thats one less punjabi paki bitch

Date: Thursday August 07, 2008
Time: 11:24:09 -0700


In western countries people should intergrate into our society or not come here at all. What did women fight for all those years ago in America and Britain if we let womean wear Hijab? WE ARE EQUAL TO MEN

Date: Sunday August 17, 2008
Time: 12:25:55 -0700


Mr. Sina, you've fallen into the Islamic victimisation trap. You cannot blame the govt for Aqsa's death. The actual killer is wholly responsible. The Canadian govt may have been appeasing, and a few corrupt politicians may have forwarded the Sharia cause, but none of them made Mr. Parvez wrap his hands around Aqsa's neck and strangle her. You can't expect outsiders to rescue Islam from it's own depravity. It's up to Muslims to change themselves. If the govt bans the hijab, I assure you, there will cries of persecution, not just from the mullahs as you claim, but from the majority of Muslims. Muslims should take responsiblity for their own actions and not keep playing the victim card.

Name: muslim
Date: Thursday August 28, 2008
Time: 07:34:16 -0700



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