The Toronto Star ran an inaccurate smear piece today on the Aqsa Parvez memorial built in Pelham, Canada. It is the most dishonest account of what happened to Aqsa Parvez and the events that led to the Aqsa Parvez memorial.
I am shocked by it.
Robert Spencer, who worked with me for months on remembering Aqsa, was bitterly disappointed in Scott McLeod's cowardly and dishonest portrayal of events. (See his letter below).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Atlas Aqsa memorial, this link will take you to all the posts relating to honoring and remembering Aqsa Parvez. Atlas readers began working with me back on December 10, 2008, when The Aqsa Parvez Memorial fund was created. Back in December 2008, I was outraged to discover that Aqsa Parvez was lying in an unmarked grave -- the Islamic custom for victims of honor killings. The shame of a wayward daughter is rendered invisible. Atlas readers contributed to a fund I created to purchase a headstone for Aqsa.
Months later, when both the cemetery and the University of Guelph caved at the last minute and refused to honor Aqsa, Scott McLeod, a regular Atlas reader, was one of several Canadian readers who contacted me to scout new locations in Canada. Here is the post where McLeod suggests Pelham.
The Toronto Star goes on to whitewash the motive behind Aqsa's murder.
"Remembering new Canadians lost to the quest of integrating cultures" –
Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, is happy that a town is remembering Parvez. "But I have some difficulty with what they are trying to say in the inscription. Maybe they are trying to raise questions but I'm not quite sure (the inscription) reflects her death."
Parvez's death remains tragic for a number of reasons, said Hogben. "It shows violence against women and girls in all cultures and it also shows the problems and difficulties that occur in recently arrived immigrant families."
What rubbish! I expect that from Islamic groups, but worse was Scott McLeod sanctioning the patent dishonesty in the article. McLeod goes on to tell the Star:
he felt he had to do something after seeing a haunting photo of her burial site about a year ago. She had been dead for more than a year but her grave had only a numeric marker supplied by Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton. While there was nothing to indicate she was buried in the cemetery's Islamic section, it is not uncommon for Muslim graves to be unmarked
He goes on to say:
"That was the icing on the cake. ... It had nothing to do with whether she was a Muslim or not," McLeod said. "In my mind, it seemed she had just been forgotten."
About the same time, Pamela Geller, author of the controversial U.S.-based AtlasShrugs.com blog, got involved and was later joined by Robert Spencer of the Jihad Watch blog. Readers of Geller's blog, which has an anti-Muslim tone, contributed more than $5,000 for a gravestone with Parvez's name.
About the same time? And worse still, he violates Aqsa by saying, "It had nothing to do with whether she was a Muslim or not."
And what McLeod doesn't say is that he saw the "haunting picture" on Atlas taken by another Canadian Atlas reader, Norman (here).
And here is the video of Sharon Cook and Scott McLeod dropping a parchment with all of the Atlas donor names into the footing of Aqsa's memorial. Cook was the city councilwoman who sponsored the proposal for the Aqsa Parvez resolution.
Aqsa was murdered in an Islamic honor killing. McLeod's support of the contention that "it shows violence against women and girls in all cultures and it also shows the problems and difficulties that occur in recently arrived immigrant families" is unconscionable.
Aqsa was murdered because she would not wear the hijab. Because she wanted to lead a western life. McLeod had the opportunity to tell the truth. Instead he victimized her again. Terrible, all of it.
Friend Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, 16, said Aqsa told her something could possibly "happen."
"She was scared to go home," she said.
Aqsa had recently been staying with a friend and wanted to return home to get her belongings, friends said.
They said this year the Grade 11 student began taking off her hijab, a traditional headscarf, as she headed to school and put it back on when she returned home.
Friends said her father allowed her to wear "regular clothes," but only if she wore the hijab.
"She wanted to dress like us," said one girl. "To be normal."
"Yes, we were really worried" about Aqsa returning home to get her clothes, Dominiquia said.
"You don't know if she's going to live?" she asked, as she was consoled by friends and breaking into tears. "No." (more here)
[...]Less than an hour later, Muhammad Parvez phoned 911 and told the dispatcher that he had killed his daughter.
I am not surprised by the dhimmi Star. We expect this from media. But those of us who know and have the rare opportunity to educate, it is our duty. Our responsibility.
If the Toronto Star actually did their job and went here, they would see exactly how the Aqsa Parvez memorial happened. It's all there, but then it would have flown in the face of their taqiya and appeasement of Islamic apologists and appeasers. Scott helped them with that.
Why mention me at all? If they were going to lie about it all, why smear me?
Robert Spencer was outraged and wrote this (check out his letter to McLeod):
From our No-Good-Deed-Goes-Unpunished comes this Toronto Star article, "Town puzzled by memorial to slain teen," about the memorial for honor killing victim Aqsa Parvez in Pelham, Ontario.
The memorial to Aqsa in Pelham is a textbook case of how political correctness and self-aggrandizement can ruin a good initiative. In the Toronto Star piece, Scott McLeod and everyone else backpedals furiously to make sure that no one gets the idea that their memorial has anything to do with Islam or Pamela Geller. In reality, she is the one who started it, in December 2008, as you can see here. She first published photos of Aqsa's unmarked grave, which McLeod just happened to see somewhere, on December 12, 2008. McLeod only entered the scene in February, in consultation with Pamela Geller. Nor is this a case of simple journalistic bias, for McLeod has been acting this way for many months.
If this had just been a case of someone taking credit for someone else's work, I wouldn't have said anything about it -- but when the one who is responsible is not only not credited, but demonized, it becomes important to speak out. For this same tactic hamstrings such efforts whenever they're attempted, and those who are defending human rights against Islamic supremacism and violence should not let it go unchallenged. We have to stop living in fear. If the people in Pelham wanted to memorialize Aqsa and the victims of honor killing, they should have done so wholeheartedly and without apology. Instead, they've put themselves in the position of doing something and apologizing for it at the same time, and furiously dissociating themselves from the one who started the whole thing.
We will win no battles, much less wars, that way.
Dear Mr. McLeod,
I am writing to you this morning because I am appalled at some remarks you made in today's Toronto Star piece about the Pelham memorial to Aqsa Parvez.
You kindly wrote to me some months ago to thank me for my role in the attempt to honor Aqsa's memory, and I responded by telling you that the initiative was entirely the brainchild of Pamela Geller. I provided some logistical assistance, but the idea to honor Aqsa and, by extension, all the victims of honor killing, and to show thereby that Western nations would not let this barbaric practice stand, was all Pamela's. You also indicated that you clearly knew that this was Pamela's initiative when you more recently gave her and me honorary firefighter status in Pelham.
The Toronto Star story, however, suggests that you saw "a haunting photo of her burial site" and decided that something must be done, and that "about the same time, Pamela Geller, author of the controversial U.S.-based AtlasShrugs.com blog, got involved and was later joined by Robert Spencer of the Jihad Watch blog."
I expect that this was no coincidence. I expect that you saw the photo of Aqsa's unmarked grave on the Atlas Shrugs site, and got involved in trying to further Pamela's efforts, rather than just coincidentally happening to start working on the same track she was at the same time.
But that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that you threw her under the bus in the article, when you took a quite different tone in your earlier communication with me. The Star says that Pamela's blog "has an anti-Muslim tone." Instead of standing up and defending her site as a bastion of clear thinking and defense of the West against the horrors of Islamic supremacism that took Aqsa's life, you accepted the Star's tendentious characterization: "McLeod said he was aware of Geller's blog and its reputation but insists there was no political motive or anti-Muslim sentiment behind his decision to find a way to remember the Mississauga teen."
I am sure there wasn't any "anti-Muslim sentiment" behind your memorial -- as is evidenced by its silly, stupid, meaningless inscription, "Remembering new Canadians lost to the quest of integrating cultures."
Aqsa wasn't murdered by the "quest of integrating cultures." Aqsa wasn't "lost" to any such quest, the way an army would lose a soldier in battle or a construction crew would lose a worker who slipped through the scaffolding on a highrise. Aqsa was murdered by her father, who was acting upon deeply ingrained Islamic principles cheapening the lives of women and legitimizing the killing of children by their fathers. These principles are enshrined in Islamic law (and yes, I can give you chapter and verse.) It isn't "anti-Muslim" to stand against that. It is anti-human to dissemble and lie about it. It just enables honor killings to keep happening.
But my main point is not your weaselly inscription. My main point is that you distanced yourself from Pamela Geller -- not once but twice, as when you say later in the article: "We never took any of the money raised through the initial fundraising campaign organized by Geller." I know that to be true, but once again you had an opportunity to credit her with originating this initiative, and to defend her full-hearted commitment to women's rights and human rights, and to refute the hateful mischaracterizations of the Star.
But you didn't.
I was always uneasy about your effort, both because of the politically correct dissembling of the inscription and because of your earlier distancing yourself from Pamela and her work on this.
Without Pamela, you would not have your memorial in Pelham, and you know that. Without Pamela, it would not say "remembered and free," which you ripped off from the gravestone inscription Pamela devised for Aqsa, "Beloved, remembered, and free." I can give direct testimony to the fact that that tripartite inscription was Pamela's idea, as she said it in a phone conversation with me, and we agreed it would be perfect for Aqsa's gravestone.
It is not Pamela Geller who is the self-aggrandizing opportunist here. It is you. I hope that every time you pass that Aqsa memorial, you feel a sense of shame. In closing all I can say is that I hope you were misquoted and misrepresented. If so, you owe Pamela Geller a public clarification. If you were quoted accurately, you owe her a public apology. In either case, man up.