When two cultures clash, this is what happens….
Farzana and Iftikhar Ahmed were killers who murdered their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea because she simply wouldn’t conform to the values of ‘rural Pakistan’ – and then terrorised the rest of their family into a sickening nine-year cover-up.
Last night, as the pair were jailed for life, social services were accused of missing several key warning signs in the run-up to Shafilea’s death. Indeed, the killers were exposed only after Shafilea’s younger sister plucked up the courage to tell how she and her siblings watched them suffocate her in 2003. Mr Justice Roderick Evans said ‘Westernised’ Shafilea simply wanted a normal life but found herself ‘squeezed between two cultures’. He then made a thunderous attack on the morals of the parents standing in front of him at Chester Crown Court. ‘What was it that brought you two, her parents, the people who had given her life, to the point of killing her?’ he asked them. ‘You chose to bring up your family in Warrington but your social and cultural attitudes were those of rural Pakistan.”
But why did the values of “Rural Pakistan” prevail in this family in northern England? And how many more families also exercise such “Rural Pakistan” values? What can we do about it, if anything? Do we accept the occasional “honour killing” as the price of having the multicultural morass so beloved of some? As Islam becomes an even greater aspect of British life, what else can we expect? The answers, of course, will be in my new book, coming in early 2013!