Toronto Life editor defends Aqsa Parvez story

Toronto Life magazine’s latest cover story, “Girl, Interupted,” caused an uproar this week, as some critics charge the story is racist and instigates fear of Mulisms. In addition, some felt it did not adequately address the broader issue of violence against women, but focused instead on religious issues.

The story looked into the murder of 16-year old Aqsa Parvez. Parvez was killed by her father and it has been called an “honour killing.”

On Nov. 11, a group of organizations put on a press conference to address their concerns about the feature article. Representatives from groups including the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) spoke in Toronto.

In addition, a Facebook Group was created to as a call to action against the story.

Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford defended the piece in an interview with Masthead magazine editor Marco Ursi. She said:

“We wanted to do what magazines do best, which it to flesh out her story in a long form magazine piece. Big picture. Lots of context. Lots of reporting.

Aqsa’s life story embodies an extreme version of generational and cultural clashes that occur in many immigrant households. I think it`s quite common to have a new world/old world battle. Her parents had a vision for their daughter`s life and Aqsa had other ideas. Thank God this domestic drama doesn`t always end in murder. But Aqsa, because her story ended so tragically, became a symbol for this old world/new world divide.I think it’s Portuguese-Canadian story. It’s a Congolese-Canadian story. It’s a Korean-Canadian story.”