A 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after being choked by a man believed to be her father, apparently after a dispute with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab, the Islamic headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
The Post's Chris Wattie updates this developing story:
Peel Regional Police arrested a 57-year-old man yesterday morning after receiving a 911 call from a suburban home in Mississauga from a man saying he had killed his daughter. When police and paramedics arrived at the house they found a 16-year-old lying on the floor without any vital signs, police said.
Constable J.P. Valade, a spokesman for Peel police, would not release the names of either the victim or the man arrested and would not give any details about what transpired inside the large, two-storey home in a well-to-do subdivision.
“We are not getting into the details of her injuries at this time,” he said. “We aren’t getting into any details about this case. This investigation is really in its infancy: officers are still canvassing the neighbourhood and talking to family members.”
However, early police reports indicated the teenager had been choked and that the attacker was her father.
Her condition is so grave that police have not yet charged the man arrested at the scene until they know whether he will be charged with murder or attempted murder. He was scheduled to appear in Brampton court on Tuesday.
Friends of the teenager, a Grade 11 student at nearby Applewood Heights high school, identified her as Aqsa Parvez and said they were shocked by the attack on the outgoing, likeable girl, but said she had been threatened by her strictly religious family before.
“She got threatened by her father and her brother,” said Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, who had known Aqsa since they both started high school together. “He said that if she leaves, he would kill her.”
Ebonie Mitchell, 16, another friend of the victim, said the conflict with her father over wearing Islamic dress came to a head at the beginning of this school year. “She just wanted to dress like we do,” she said.
“Last year she wore like the Islamic stuff and everything, the hijab, and this year she’s all Western. She just wanted to look like everyone else. And I guess her dad had a problem with that.”
Ebonie said her friend had left home once before, in September, for about two weeks. She returned home, but the fights with her family over what she wore just got worse.
Dominiquia, 16, said her friend had been arguing with her father for more than a year over the restrictions he imposed on her, including demanding that she wear the hijab at all times. “She wanted to go out with her friends, hang out and just be like a normal person,” she said. “But he was always trying to control her ... he wouldn’t let her go out or do anything.”
The stricken girl’s friends said the fights with her father got so bad that she had left the family home to live with friends about a week ago. “She was going back, but just to get her stuff,” said friend Krista Garbutt. “She was scared to go home, but she had to get her clothes and stuff.”
Neighbours said as many as 11 people lived in the home, which was sealed off by crime scene tape and surrounded by police cars yesterday, all members of an extended Pakistani family. Const. Valade confirmed that there were other people in the home when the teenager was attacked.
“I didn’t really know any of them,” said one woman, who would not give her name. “There were a lot of them living in that house, always coming and going. They didn’t talk to me, maybe just to say hello once in a while. That’s all.”
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