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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Private tragedy and public issues - Kathy English Public Editor The Star

Facts: Teenager Aqsa Pervez was strangled to death. Her father Mohammed Pervez is charged with murder. This happened some days back here in TO suburbs and the news has been splashed all over the world as a conflict between cultures with clash of the civilisation undertones. Kathy English who is the public editor at the star writes on this. t

I wondered, had my teenaged conflict happened now, and had it somehow escalated to the point of such tragedy, would the media have reported it as a teen's rejection of Catholic faith, or would it be contained as an age-old story of conflict between controlling parents and a rebellious adolescent or covered primarily as an incident of domestic violence?

It must be clearly understood that we don't know what went on in the Parvez home. We know that the family came to Canada from Pakistan and is Muslim and clearly there was conflict between Aqsa and her parents. Police have not confirmed the reports of Aqsa's friends that she rebelled against the hijab. But if that is found to be so, many readers question why this has been primarily portrayed as a broad conflict between Canadian culture and Islam rather than as an issue of domestic violence.

Indeed, from the outset, media reports in the Star and other newspapers and broadcasts, were quick to focus on Aqsa's friends' comments, which immediately framed the story as a cultural clash, in line with the "clash of civilizations" thesis – the idea that there is inherent conflict between Western values and Islamic faith.

Reader Abubakar Kasim charged that "the media disregard objectivity and balanced reporting and forget their ethical and professional responsibility when the suspect of a crime is thought to be a Muslim. Eventually all Muslims are forced to defend their faith."

[click on the heading to read rest]


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