Look, I am close to an Afghan brother and sister who are in their thirties and who are very dear to me. This brother would as soon cut off his right hand as harm a single hair on his sister’s head. They are both thoroughly westernized, sophisticated, charming—and yet, in many ways, they remain “Afghans.” They are devoted to their parents, socialize inter-generationally with Afghan relatives—but they also go “clubbing” with non-Muslims who are closer to them in age. They are usually very upset when Muslims are blamed, hated, feared, and yet they are primarily citizens of the world.
This brother-sister couple grew up in the West from the time they were five years old. Hasibullah Sadiqi, who murdered his sister Khatera and her fiancée in cold blood, came to Canada when he was five months old. Why didn’t Hasibullah assimilate?
In reading all the newspaper coverage, there is one fact that towers above all others. Mr. Sadiqi, Hasibullah’s father, was a domestic tyrant, an abuser, a wife-beater: a daughter-abuser as well. This man, (whose name and fate I have not yet found), was so bad that his wife, Nasima Fayez, had to flee for her life.
In court, she described herself as “more open minded” than her husband.
But the close-minded monster held onto his “property,” his children. He did not allow them to see their mother for six long years. The (unspecified) paternal abuse “worsened.” In poor Khatera’s case, her father drove her to at least one suicide attempt and ultimately caused her to flee to her mother in Vancouver. Fayez sent tickets to all three children to join her. Her two daughters came. Hasibullah did not do so. In fact, Hasibullah tried to have Khatera return to their abusive father.
One can only speculate as to why Hasibullah did not break with his father. Perhaps his father treated him differently, better, because he was a son, not a mere daughter. Perhaps Mr. Sadiqi humiliated and beat Hasibullah as well, turned him into his personal servant too– but nevertheless, he became Hasibullah’s male role model.
In the Dallas honor killings of Sarah and Amina Said, their brother, Islam, cleaved to his father, agreed with him, stalked his two sisters on his father’s behalf and on behalf of the family’s “honor.”
Likewise, Hasibullah became his father’s eventual enforcer and avenger. He rejected his mothers’ version of reality: “Don’t talk to me about my dad like that.” His mother wept.
Please remember that, in 1989, Marc Lepine, who mass-murdered fourteen female engineering students in the Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal, also had a wife-beating Algerian father. This fact, which I found crucial, was completely ignored by the police and by all those who wrote about this tragedy. The police saw this as the isolated act of a madman.
Lepine was born Gamile Rodrigue Gharbi to an Algerian Muslim father and a French Canadian mother who had formerly been a nun. Lepine’s father, Liess Gharbi, physically and psychologically brutalized his wife and son. He probably taught his son that women are chattel property who deserve to be beaten even when they are obedient—perhaps murdered when they are not. Perhaps Gharbi/Lepine scapegoated women for the considerable crimes of his father.
If we allow violent men to live with and rear children, we will inherit that old whirlwind. The daughters of violent, domestic tyrants will marry violent men, thus condemning their children to a similar fate; they have been “seasoned,” prepped to do so. The sons of violent men–father humiliated sons–will become violent men themselves: wife-beaters and child abusers, both verbally, physically, and perhaps sexually.
This is true for any family in the world. We certainly have violent fathers in the West. And yet, Arab, North African, and Muslim fathers have not, traditionally, been viewed as “sick” or treated as “criminals” if they routinely beat or rape their wives or cruelly tyrannize their children.
Somehow, this must change. If not—nothing else will.