Call ‘Toronto Life’ on their Misrepresentation of Aqsa Parvez’s Murder

Shaheed Bibi Aqsa Parvez: Brampton

Don’t Believe the Hype!!!
Call to Action against Toronto Life’s Misrepresentation of Aqsa Parvez’s Murder

The December 2008 edition of ‘Toronto Life’ features the story of Aqsa Parvez, a young Muslim woman who was killed in her home in Mississauga last winter. View it here: torontolife.com/features/girl-interrupted.

While featuring Aqsa’s story is recognition of a young woman’s life cut tragically short, the Toronto Life article perpetuates common stereotypes about Muslim and immigrant communities, diverting attention from the urgent issue of violence against women across Canada.

On Tuesday November 11th, join us in a “Don’t’ Believe the Hype” Campaign!
We are asking you to raise your voice on the important issue of violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia.

Get Involved in Three Ways!!
1) EMAIL or PHONE Toronto Life Editor in Chief, Sarah Fulford.
You can reach Ms. Fulford at:
Phone: 416-364-3333 ext 3063
Email: editor@torontolife.com or letters@torontolife.com
Once you do that, call up five of your friends and get them to do the same.
WHEN?
Between 9am – 9pm on Tuesday November 11th
(If that doesn’t work for you, anytime is better than never!)
WHY?
Violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia are issues that affect all of us in diverse and important ways. Join us in voicing your concerns and helping to call attention to misrepresentations that are all too common in our media.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
This number 416-364-3333 ext 3063 will take you directly to Sarah Fulford’s office, where her assistant will either pick up, or you will be put through to her assistant’s voicemail. You can leave a personal message or voicemail recording for her assistant to pass on to Ms. Fulford.
WHAT TO SAY?
Identify who you are and where you are from. State that you are leaving a message for Sarah Fulford, the Editor In Chief, and express your dismay with the article on Aqsa Parvez.
Bonus Points: Talk about a personal experience that proves to you why addressing this issue is so important and urgent.
Here are a couple of talking points about the article that may help. Feel free to use them directly or make up your own:
1) Aqsa’s murder must be looked at through the larger context of violence against women in Canada. The problem is not limited to any one community or religious faith.
2) The article calls Aqsa’s murder “Toronto’s first honour killing”. Approximately 25 women a year are murdered in incidents of domestic violence. The use of the term “honour killing” is an attempt to sensationalize the situation by invoking common stereotypes about the prevalence of “honour killings” among South Asian Muslim families, thereby suggesting that domestic violence is not occurring at alarming rates across Canada. Instead, we should be working to end violence against all women.
3) The article associates Muslim religiousity with a tendency towards violence. In other words, the more religious a Muslim is, the more likely s/he is to engage in this type of violence. This is false and based on Islamophobic stereotyping.
4) The question, “Has multiculturalism gone too far?” suggests that Muslims and immigrants are threats to Canadian society, rather than contributing members to Canadian society. The idea that “our” tolerance or respect for cultural diversity has let “them” continue their oppressive and dangerous behaviours is not only based on racist and Islamophobic stereotyping of diverse Muslim and immigrant communities, but also ignores the ongoing racism that exists in Canada despite our public commitment to multiculturalism.
5) The focus should be on violence against women, not hijab. The article sets up a false dichotomy between Muslim women who wear the hijab as oppressed and Muslim women who do not wear the hijab as liberated. Furthermore, it reinforces the idea that all young girls want the same things, completely ignoring the diversity and richness of Muslim women’s voices and lived experiences.

2) COME TO THE SPEAK OUT AND PRESS CONFERENCE
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
10:30 AM at YWCA located at
80 Woodlawn Avenue East, Main Lounge.
Panelists include representatives of Muslim Young Women, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children, Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
For more information contact:
michelle@urbanalliance.ca
416-703-6607 x 3

3) SUBMIT TO THE AQSA ZINE #1. It is a grassroots zine that is open to all 13-35 year old young women who self-identify as Muslim. This issue’s theme is self-defense and resistance. It is a creative avenue for us to express ourselves, share our own experiences, and connect with others.
Submissions deadline is December 1, 2008.
Email: aqsazine@gmail.com
Blog: aqsazine.blogspot.com

Michelle Cho
Project Coordinator
Urban Alliance on Race Relations
302 Spadina Ave. Ste. 507
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2E7
416-703-6607 Ext. 3

Shaheed Bibi Aqsa Parvez: Brampton

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