Home / News / British parents found guilty of honor killing their daughter — forced marriage and abuse problems persist in England
British parents found guilty of honor killing their daughter — forced marriage and abuse problems persist in England

British parents found guilty of honor killing their daughter — forced marriage and abuse problems persist in England

Nine years after her death, the parents of a British girl have been found guilty of honor killing.

Teenager Shafi-lea Ahmed was apparently suffocated because of her desire to live what they perceived as a Westernized life style.  Her parents stuffed a plastic bag into her mouth to kill her.  Her body was found five months later.

Giving evidence behind a curtain, her sister described how Shafi-lea was tortured for months and then killed by her parents.  A teacher testified that Shafi-lea had expressed fears that her parents were about to force her into a marriage in Pakistan.

Shafi-lea was a bright, 17-year-old who dreamed of being an attorney and was not interested in participating in a forced marriage.  The court and jury were told that on one trip to Pakistan, she drank bleach in protest.

Criminologist Aisha Gill, who provided an expert report in the case, told Al Jazeera that Shafi-lea was abused most of her life.  "Toward the end of her life, she just gave up because she could not fight back anymore," Gill said.

Campaigners say that honor killings are not a new phenomenon in Britain.  The victims are often girls who are brought up in Britain but abused and controlled in order to protect perceived religious and cultural beliefs.  Some girls simply disappear.

Polly Harrar, founder of the Sharan Project, told Al Jazeera that last year alone, 250 girls between the ages of 13 to 16 were taken off of school registers because they never returned from trips abroad.  She said that between 5,000 – 8,000 forced marriages take place every year.  "Within that forced marriage there are elements of honor abuse, which may lead to honor killing," Harrar alleged.

Shafi-lea's parents denied killing their daughter, but the jury did not believe them.  Had she lived, Shafi-lea would be 26 years old.


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    It is a shame it took nine years for a verdict. It's also a shame parents think they need to kill their daughters in the name of religion too.

  • Peter

    We had an honour killing like that last
    year up here. A father, son and wife killed his ex-wife and his two daughters
    by her. After doing this dirty deed they used his SUV to push the ex-wife's car
    into the Rideau canal. Their great sin? These young women wanted to date
    non-Muslims and wear western clothes and posted pictures of themselves wearing
    bikinis on Facebook. In their eyes and their beliefs that makes them whores and
    their merciful Allah wants them to destroy these unbelievers. We now have a
    large Muslim population in Canada so this won't be the last. Even if we re-instituted
    capital punishment it won't stop these zealots because they believe they're
    right and us infidels are wrong. But, how do you deal with a mentality like
    that? You can't, of course, because it's totally alien to everything we believe
    or experienced.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I think I remember that one. It was just as horrible. You can't deal with mentality like that. All you can do is give them a trial, when they comment murder, and if found guilty, lock them up for a lifetime without parole.

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