Afghan Women's Organization

Afghan Women's Organization

July 27, 2009 15:56 ET

The Afghan Women's Organization Calls the Death of Four Afghan Females in the Rideau Canal a Tragedy but Cautions Against Calling This an Honour Killing and Blaming Culture or Religion

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 27, 2009) - The Afghan Women's Organization (AWO) is horrified by the tragic mysterious deaths of four Afghan women Zainab Shafi, Sahar Shafi, Geeti Shafi and Rona Amir Mohammed. This is a terrible act of violence against women.

Three family members have recently been charged with their murders. Unfortunately, the media is using the term honor killing and many discussions have been linking the deaths to religion and culture. What has happened in the Shafi family is not yet certain and it is up to the police to investigate the circumstances of their death. Unfortunately, violent crimes happen all over the world on a regular basis and women are too often vulnerable to violence.

AWO is asking the media and the public to use caution in labeling this tragedy as a community problem instead of an isolated case of extreme violence against women. We cannot allow people to use this tragedy to convince the public that such crimes are common practice in Muslim communities.

AWO asks the media and public not to use this as an opportunity to demonize Islam or culture. When there are cases that involve Muslim community members - too often Islam is blamed when something goes wrong. Criminal acts are committed by individuals or groups of people and not entire communities. The Muslim community does not want every senseless act of violence be linked to Islam. We need to exercise caution and wait until all of the facts are available before we call it an honour killing. The term honour killing is not a part of the Afghan culture or the religion of Islam. The media and the public owe it to the four innocent females that were killed to ensure that the case is investigated appropriately and that assumptions and stereotypes are minimized.

The Afghan Women's Organization, which was established in 1990, is a settlement organization in Toronto which is committed to supporting Afghan women and their families in all aspects of adaptation and integration into Canadian society through culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services and programming. In addition, AWO provides assistance and protection to Afghan refugees in Afghanistan as well as internationally.

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