The Shafia trial: Have you spoken to your kids about the case?

Laura writes about why it's important that we take this opportunity to talk about tolerance with our children

By Laura Grande
The Shafia trial: Have you spoken to your kids about the case?


Are your kids asking you questions about the Shafia trial? The case has likely entered some conversations in the schoolyard, especially for students who are old enough to have followed the trial themselves in the news.
When the verdict came down yesterday, it was no surprise that the three accused at the centre of the Shafia trial were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder.
It’s one of those high-profile cases that come along every once in awhile, generating heated discussion and debate over the evidence at hand. With this particular case the controversial term “honour killing” was front and centre. With it came criticism of Muslim culture and the assumption (on the part of some) that the actions of certain members of the Shafia family were the “norm” in Islamic traditions. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, although our children might not have made that distinction.
As Global News Toronto reported the trial has resulted in some backlash against the Islamic community in Canada. Our post-9/11 world has seen this kind of backlash against Muslims before, but it’s at times like these that we should reach out to our kids and reiterate the importance of both tolerance and making the distinction between hard fact and careless stereotypes. The majority of the Muslim community across the country has condemned the Shafia’s actions as a rare incident that was likely carried over from a remote region of Afghanistan and is not a direct reflection of Islamic ideology. In fact, Global News Toronto quoted a source stating that “honour killings” are condemned in the Qur’an.
This tragic case brings up a lot of discussion points — cultural stereotypes, the treatment of women — that we can use to talk with our kids who are old enough to understand the trial and its outcome. The horrific decisions of a select few should not reflect on an entire culture.
If your kids are aware of the Shafia trial, have you spoken to them about the case? What did you talk about?

This article was originally published on Jan 30, 2012

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