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Understanding the dynamics of a 'crime of honour'

The murders of four women at the hands of their closest relatives may serve as a wakeup call for wider Canadian society to the social ills that those closer to traditionalist communities have long grappled with.

The convictions of Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Yahya, and his eldest son, Hamed, on Sunday followed a long trial in which evidence showed that teachers, police and social services saw repeated warning signs that the teenaged daughters of the family were at risk of life-threatening violence.

The three were found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, aged 19, 17 and 13, whose bodies were found in a submerged car at a Rideau Canal lock east of Kingston in 2009.‬ The fourth found dead in the vehicle was Mr. Shafia’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 53, who had entered Canada illegally, posing as his cousin.

“These women were aware of the threat on their lives and they reached out but nobody listened,” said Shahrzad Mojab, a University of Toronto professor. She appeared as an expert witness at the Shafia trial and spoke to The Globe and Mail after the verdict.

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