Like most Canadian teenagers, Aqsa Parvez just wanted to grow up her own way, hanging out with her friends, dressing like them and pushing her curfew. Her tragic death this week, allegedly at her father's hands in the family home in Mississauga, has shocked our community to the core, and has also highlighted the cross-generational and cross-cultural pressures that many families face.
But whatever the facts, Aqsa's friends believe that a culture clash was playing itself out in the Parvez family before her death, which contributed to the other, inevitable strains that any immigrant family faces. The family came from Pakistan, and the parents are religious.
Reacting to that perception, thoughtful community figures such as Atiya Ahsan of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women have been quick to urge Muslim parents to take an understanding approach to their teenage children, to focus on the core values of their faith and not to obsess over a piece of clothing.
"If you know that your girl is good and she practises her faith ... then for heaven's sakes, you know, let the girl have a chance," she says. That would be good advice for any family.