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Mourners upset at decision to cancel public funeral for slain Ont. girl

A teenage girl whose father has been charged in her death was buried quietly on Saturday morning in Mississauga, Ont., shocking dozens of mourners who showed up for her funeral hours later, only to find out it had been cancelled.

Family decides to have private burial

Ateenage girl whose father has been charged in her death was buried quietly on Saturday morning in Mississauga, Ont., shocking dozens of mourners who showed up for her funeral hours later, only to find out it had been cancelled.

A young woman wipes tears from her eyes as she remembers Aqsa Parvez outside the Mississauga mosque where the teen's public funeral was supposed to be held. ((J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press))

"Everyone was so prepared to come here and see her face for one last time, and all of a sudden they're saying it's not going to be here," Riana Ahmad, a friend, said outside the Islamic Centre mosque in Mississauga, where the funeral had been scheduled to take place.

"They shouldn't do that," another mourner, Babithiraa Thevathasan, added. "She's gone, you can't do that. You should let everyone see her no matter what."

Aqsa Parvez, 16, was rushed to hospital Monday in critical condition after a man made a 911 call in which he claimed to have killed his daughter, said police.Parvez died later that night due to strangulation.

Soon after the Parvez's death, her friends alleged to reporters that the teen was embroiled in a long-standing dispute with her family over her apparent reluctance to wear a traditional Muslim head scarf.

Her father, 57-year-old Muhammad Parvez, has been charged with second-degree murder. Her brother, Waqas Parvez, 27, was charged with obstructing Peel Region police as they investigated his sister's death.

Fazal Kalyani, who knows the family, said the family decided to have their own quiet burial on Saturday morning.

"Strictly for privacy reasons, they didn't want a media zoo inside," she said. "They just wanted everything private."

Mourners gather at grave

About 10 young mourners found Parvez's snow-covered grave later Saturday and gathered around it to say their goodbyes.

Other grieved at a candlelight vigil held for Parvez at Mississauga City Hall.

Maryam Dadabhoy, a member of one of the organizations that planned the vigil, said it was a chance for people toremember Parvez.

"We're not here to talk about religion or culture. It has nothing to do with it," said Dadabhoy, who is with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We're just here based on the fact that she lost her life."

Media blamed

Parvez's death has made headlines around the world and sparked a debate about the status of women in Islamic communities.

Islamic leaders have argued that Islam condemns violence and have urged people not to interpret Parvez's death as a reflection on their faith.

Other people have attacked the media for its intensive coverage of Parvez's death. At the Mississauga mosque where the teen's funeral was supposed to take place, one of her schoolmates lashed out at reporters and photographers who had gathered there.

"What else do you want?" a tearful Theresa Lee asked the journalists. "Her family moved this funeral because of you. Just get out of the mosque."

With files from the Canadian Press

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