CAIRO - A Canadian Muslim group is developing a flagship program to fight honor crimes in their society.
If you have effective strategies for identifying the risk factors of so-called honor-related violence, you can reduce the possibility of honor killing, Mohammed Baobaid, executive director of the Muslim Resource Center for Social Support and Integration in London City, Ontario, told The Globe and Mail.
If you intervene right when newcomers come to the country, it makes a huge difference.
MRC is planning a partnership with a Chicago-based anti-violence group CeaseFire to develop a project to reduce the number of honor crimes in Canada.
The Family Honor Project aims to look into reasons prompting people to commit honor crimes.
Under the program, the MRC will have two people working as counselors initially.
It will also be supported by family violence researchers from the faculty of education at the University of Western Ontario.
A huge part of [the violence] is the way people feel they're going to be viewed, said Norman Kerr, who was a director at CeaseFire for more than a decade and who is working with the MRC.
We work with people that [feel] they have been disgraced.
We talk to them about the consequences - If you retaliate, this is what is going to happen - and after a while they realize it's not worth it. A lot of it is relationships.
The program comes amid a high-profile trial taking place in Kingston, Ontario, in which Afghan-born Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife, and their 21-year-old son were accused by the prosecution of honor killings in the death of his first wife and three daughters.
MRC officials cite parents' worry on children is one of the main reasons behind honor crimes.
They are really concerned that their kids will be influenced by Western culture and they maybe will think, extremely, that the girls will initiate sexual relationships with boys, said Dr. Baobaid.
This kind of perception or thinking may lead some parents to be strict or use different control tactics to control the kids.
The MRC director says that the program will help parents tackle these concerns.
We honor their concerns and feelings, but at the same time we help them understand the new reality, he said.
Really we help them look at the opportunities available here and normalize this kind of concern, because everybody who has a teenage kid would be concerned, not just Muslims.
Creators of the program hope to spread it to other communities to help reduce the number of honor crimes across the country.
Our hope is to change the entire paradigm around how honor is viewed in the family, and to change it for the positive, so that homes become safer, said Saleha Khan, an MRC board member.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net