Searing piece on the Aqsa Parvez tragedy in today's Canadian news paper, The Toronto Sun.
Huge props for Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun for shining the media spotlight on the gross injustice that Aqsa Parvez suffers in death -- as if her life wasn't tortured enough.
Joe Warmington first reported the story of Aqsa's unmarked grave that set in motion my call to readers to memorialize this honor killing victim. Atlas readers did a wonderful thing and contributed generously, and Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch was enormously helpful. Everyone responded to this terrible injustice.
Canadian Atlas reader Norman Traversy, who has been helping scout memorial locations, put Warmington in touch with me - thank you.
Let's pray that the family that murdered her is shamed into doing one small act of kindness for this girl.
Notice how now the family is refusing it -- when, in fact, the cemetery had told us the family wanted to make changes to the headstone. Their refusal is new. I wonder who advised them to change their story.
Remember this: "The family want changes and is planning on coming in to see me. They did not book an appointment yet but I hope to see them soon."
FAMILY REFUSES MEMORIAL FOR AQSA Toronto Sun (hat tip Europe News)
Aqsa Parvez has been gone 14 months and still, according to the frozen ground in Lot 17 of Brampton's Meadowvale Cemetery, she's nothing more than No. 774.
If not for two flowers placed there recently, you would not even know this is a grave.
"We had no idea we would not be able to build a memorial to this girl," said a disappointed Pamela Geller from New York City.
Geller proudly boasts being the 34th best-known blogger on the web -- her Atlas Shrugs site of stories that may have escaped coverage in the play-it-safe, middle-of-the-road mainstream media.
When she saw my column on the anniversary of this shocking Dec. 10, 2007, murder, she jumped all over it.
"I am always concerned about creeping Sharia law," she said, adding that her main interest is making sure people knew this girl did exist.
It hasn't been proved in court that Parvez was the victim of a heinous, cultural honour killing, but it has been well reported that both her father and brother are currently before the courts facing first-degree murder in what Peel Police have described as a "planned and deliberate act."
There has also been extensive media coverage of how she had clashes at home over her not wanting to wear the traditional Muslim hijab and had been staying with friends as a result.
When the story, and award-winning photographer Michael Peake's stirring front-page picture of the little 774 marker, hit Atlas Shrugs, Geller responded immediately. "I wanted to do something for her."
She set up a pay-pal system and started taking up a collection -- starting with her own $180 donation.
"People sent in $5 and $10," she said. "Some sent in $500."
So far $4,000 US has been raised and a small but tasteful stone has been designed with the inscription "Loved, Remembered, Free" under her name and dates of birth and of death.
Still Aqsa Parvez is no closer to getting a proper gravestone than she was before.
The Meadowvale Cemetery has indicated the family does not wish to accept the money and will handle the grave site however they see fit. Geller says suggestions of buying a separate plot or erecting a memorial were also rejected.
"They don't seem to have any interest," the cemetery's assistant manager Patty Harris said yesterday. "The family wants to do this on their own. Sometimes people take a long time in making their decision -- if in fact they put one on."
Not having a stone is what Geller and others are afraid of.
"It is sad," she says. "It is not acceptable. It appeals to basic humanity."
Enter Norm Traversy, a former Mississauga firefighter who has done talks about fire safety at Aqsa's school and "with three daughters in the same age range," wanted to do something for her and had a pretty good idea.
There's an arboretum at the University of Guelph where he wanted to plant a tree and have a bench and a plaque in her name.
"Something low-key and tasteful," he said.
They had the money and were all set to go when suddenly, the people at the university stopped calling back or taking his calls.
"Even the people at the women's studies office," he said.
A call to the University of Guelph yesterday hasn't been returned. They'll have their opportunity to explain their point of view in this space in the future if they choose.
"There are times when I feel like beating my head against the Islamist wall, partly in despair, but mostly in anger," said Tarek Fatah, author and founder of the Canadian Muslim Congress, who has called what he says is the hardline, radical Islamist approach to this girl's death disgusting.
Although some say it's Muslim tradition to not mark a grave, Fateh points out that the Taj Mahal was built to honour a Muslim woman.
You'd think sooner or later somebody would have the guts to ensure this girl is afforded some normal dignity. Instead, the politically correct police seem to be winning out and just when we need them, the women's rights movement seems shockingly silent.
But Traversy and Geller aren't giving up. They have $4,000 collected and are determined to make sure it somehow goes to mark and celebrate the life of Aqsa Parvez.
"Maybe we will do something for her in Israel," Geller said. "Although, it would be a shame there is not some sort of memorial for this girl in Canada, the country in which she lived."
And the country where she was allegedly murdered for wanting to be Canadian.
As of today, all that highlights Aqsa's existence is that cold grave marked by a number.
There's more. Please go and read the whole thing.