Afghan-Canadian mother described allegedly stabbing daughter to police


 For months, Bahar Ebrahimi had been rebelling against her parents, complaining their Afghan culture and Muslim religion were suffocating her. “I want to enjoy my life. I want to feel what the other ones feel,” she told them, according to her mother’s statement to police.

It was June, 2010, Grand Prix weekend in downtown Montreal, and on two straight nights the 19-year-old stayed out past dawn against her parents’ wishes.

For her mother, Johra Kaleki, the behaviour confirmed that all her efforts to steer her eldest daughter on the right path had failed. “I felt like she would never be fixed,” she told Sgt.-Det. Alexandre Bertrand in an interrogation video played Wednesday in Quebec Court.

As her crying husband spoke to Bahar in the basement of their Dorval home, Ms. Kaleki went upstairs and grabbed a large knife from the kitchen counter, the one she used to chop meat, she recounted. “I said, ‘This is the time.’ ”

She hid the knife under her T-shirt, returned to the basement, and told her husband the problem would best be resolved between mother and daughter. “Just leave us alone for five minutes,” she said she told him. “Don’t come until I call you.”

He left and she cuddled her first-born and told her to lie on her stomach so she could give her a back massage. “Then I stab her, stab her neck,” she confessed. “She said, ‘No Mom!’ I said, ‘It’s for your good. Let me finish.’ ”

Written By: Graeme Hamilton
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  1. This is what happens when the orders of a mythical cosmic despot take precedence over the needs of one’s own (tangible) family.

    Kaleki should be locked up as a menace to society. I’m just glad Ebrahimi survived the ordeal.

  2. Ebrahimi might change her name, disown her lunatic mother, reject islam and begin a new life. Mamma was following Islam to the letter …”strike at their necks”

  3. This shows just how dangerous religion can be, allowing someone to convince themselves that a terrible act is serving a greater good.  It also demonstrates the state of mind that assumes this life is a mere prelude rather than a precious and unique opportunity.

  4. There was a pizza joint a few floors down from my apartment run by an Iranian family.  One day the father beat his 12-year old son bloody.  I explained to both father and son that this was Canada and this sort of thing was not acceptable here. Then I called child services. I never did find out why the father was so angry. The boy was taken away.

    I think new immigrants need to be explicitly informed of just what is acceptable in disciplining kids.

    I think this woman was motivated more by vanity than religion. She felt humiliated by her daughter’s behaviour. The story reminds me a bit of Anton Chekhov’s The Murder.

  5. I think religions should be compared to drugs. Most people can handle drugs, but a small percentage for different reasons go crazy. They become addicted and do stupid things to themselves and others. There are light drugs and there are really dangerous drugs out there. Much like there are light religions and really dangerous forms of religion.

    We’ve known for a long time that drug abuse and mental illness are strongly correlated. Drugs of course cause mental illness. They change the chemical balance of the brain and can cause severe psychosis and a large number of other mental disorders. Drugs are also commonly used as self medication by people suffering from mental disorders. I think it’s interesting that the striking resemblance between drugs and religion in this regard is largely ignored by mainstream psychology and psychiatry. We know that certain forms of meditation and religious rituals can cause psychotic episodes. From a descriptive point of view the experiences we call tend to call spiritual or religious resemble in so many ways experiences of people suffering from mental disorders. People hear voices and smell things. They feel the presence of something supernatural. They might even hallucinate. Loss of consciousness and erratic and uncontrolled physical behavior. Not to talk about severe delusions and a distorted self-image and perception of the world. In any other circumstances these experiences would be regarded as mental disorders, but the DSM IV makes an explicit exception for religious delusions and experiences. It’s really interesting. 

    If psychiatrists actually started treating religions like drugs I think we would be on our way towards a much brighter future. People would realize the need of regulating religions. We would have to make a distinction between religions that are more likely to cause damage than others. We would realize that young people should not be subjected to these beliefs much like they should not be subjected to drugs. We could introduce an age limit. People under 18 would not be allowed to be subjected to religious beliefs. We could educate people about the dangers of religions, much like we educate people about the danger of drugs in a nuanced and rational way. 

    Of course this is not likely to happen in a foreseeable future. But, at least I would like to see some research on how religions affect the brain and individuals and compare these results to different drugs. I’m quite sure we would see striking similarities. Actually the more I think about this issue, the more similarities between religion and drugs I find.

    To the mods: Yes, this comment is not a direct response to the article in question. My point was to highlight how religions can be very dangerous and much like drugs can make people do the most stupid and horrible things. Another point was that this woman seems to have mental issues in general, and much like drugs make mental disorders worse and prevent individuals from seeking help religions do too.

  6. Glad that Bahar survived the attack and would live to tell the tales. I predict islamic protectors would  rush to claim that this horrible mother miss interpreted our religion.Can’t wait to see if I got that prediction right.

  7. On admission to a hospital one is usually questioned about one’s religion. So there must be statistics on how many mentally disturbed people who have been hospitalised are religious too. My guess is that it would be close to 100% of those whose mental illness had not been caused by drugs.

  8. How religious belief and its attendant religiocultural attitudes makes people act so utterly despicably!!!!
    What sick, sick, shadowy, teary, sadness. Then I remember  Christopher Hitchens, and Carl Sandburg,—– and my foggy, soggy, sadness  moves on. 

  9. Well, I live in a secular country and we have people with mental disorders as well. Probably as much as in other countries. That was not my point. My point was actually that since mental problems caused or aggravated by religion are not classified as mental disorders they tend not to get the proper professional attention they deserve. In fact they go unnoticed and might even be considered good experiences. It would be interesting to know how many of the Christian fundamentalists that are actually suffering from a mental disorder which is disguised as a religious experience. Just think of all these people who claim to have heard the voice of God or in other ways interacted with a deity. Or all the countless people who speak in tongues or get touched by the holy spirit when attending religious meetings. The connection between drugs and religion can be divided into three categories:

    1) Religions and drugs both give people experiences and affect their behavior in ways that from a professional descriptive point of view very much resemble mental disorders.
    2) Within a religious framework behaviors and experiences that would in other circumstances be considered mental disorders are accepted as normal or even encouraged. This resembles a community of drug users or abusers who actively seek experiences and encourage erratic behavior that resemble mental disorders. 
    3) Much like people with mental disorders use drugs in order to self-medicate, they turn to religion instead of seeking professional help.

  10. My mother was atheist, but I could see her committing this crime. She was a major power tripper. My sisters never dared stay out till dawn.  One time my mother filled the bathtub with boiling water and threatened to drown one of my sisters in it if she did not divulge information she wanted.

    I could see a Hindu mother doing that, a Christian mother… Its is not about some particular religious belief, but about outrage at a child defying parental authority.

  11. The real motive for Johra Kaleli to slaughter her own daughter is a doctrine in islam called “honor killing” which it occur with shocking regularity in muslim countries.

  12. Yes, you are right. Honor killings for example has very little to do with Islam. Hindus and Buddhists commit these acts as well. Still, I can’t imagine these traditions surviving in a secular society. All though many despicable traditions are not directly motivated by religious dogma they are incorporated into whatever religion is dominant and hence are very hard to get rid of. You can see this with witch craft in certain African countries or female genital mutilation. These are not directly motivated by Islam or Christianity. But, they are incorporated by the believers as holy traditions. This is how religions survive. They adapt and evolve. This is true for all of the major religions. They would not have survived otherwise. Hence, even if you can’t directly say these traditions are motivated by religion you can say that they are preserved and to some extent probably encouraged by local religious leaders. 

  13. Yes, I agree, and the sooner we educate people around the world away from all religions, the better.  How long, however,  will it take to do that to the millions upon millions, if ever?  I’m pessimistic.

  14. Statistics on islamic honor killing,which it count for about 90% of the total, are any thing but optimistic,To put it mildly.

  15. Honor killing is neither in the Quran nor is it in hadith. It is however the natural outcome of the Islamic ethos of misogyny. You can say honor killing is cultural, but it is a culture that is deeply rooted in Islamic mindset and derives from it. It is practiced in all Islamic countries. The more religious country, the more widespread the honor killing.

  16. Aside from the daughter’s comment on religion, the mother didn’t seem to use it to justify her actions.  Since the father helped protect his daughter from her attack, it seems more like the mother is authoritarian control freak, which probably reflects the culture she grew up in, and couldn’t deal with having a rebellious teenage daughter.  The lack of remorse from the mother is particularly revealing.

    Like roedygreen’s comment, I remember having a similar discussion about immigrants about 20 years ago.  We thought that there should be an ‘immigration course’  for new immigrants to Canada from second or third world countries to teach them about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour that they might be unaware of (eg. hygiene, women’s rights, cooperating with the police, etc.).  Looks like we still need one.

  17. That’s putting it mildly.

    The thought of my five-year-old son ever dying before I do is just too beastly to contemplate.

  18. ” Honor killings for example has very little to do with Islam.”
    Did you know that Sunni Islamic law imposes no penalty for killing ones’ own offspring (or grand-offspring)?

    The reasons for that are to be found in the koran. As far as I know, no other religion allows this.

  19. or, she believes her daughter is going to a better place. 

    Another example of how moderates facilitate the extremists. No one should be allowed to think that rational sane people believe in an unseen, better and endless additional life that starts immediately after this one upon completion of a number of specific conditions depending on family affiliations and ethnicity.

  20. Evil, evil, evil. These people never learn that killing is wrong. It is in their beliefs it is what they truly believe is right. Evil, evil, evil.

  21. Pathetic and sad. The Canadian government will, no doubt, pull together an all Muslim board to work toward giving Muslim people the right to control their women better.

  22. Right. And the operative word is ‘their’. As in possessions or domestic animals.

    Then maybe they will go on to give them the right to control non-muslims better.

  23. This is a seriously twisted morality that this woman has. I’m so glad the girl survived – albeit with a horrible injury – because the idea of someone losing their life over such bullshit. I don’t say that religion is the direct cause but instead the catalyst to an already twisted individual – that’s often the case across the board – and Islam seems to be one of the worst catalysts of all.

  24. What I actually think is that religion is the thing that unhinges the brain. It causes mental illness. And there is no puzzle as to why it does.

  25. Sharia law permits it, so it’s not un-Islamic even if it’s not in the Qur’an or Hadith.

  26. In a related article in the NP, Richard Dawkins is suggested as a “deity” for the “New Atheists”!

    When enemies of atheism try to frame atheism as a religion, aren’t they just showing disapproval of religion? Weird defense, if you ask me.

  27.  The mother never got the right to be free, she’ll be damned if the daughter will.

  28.  Absolutely. I’ve never understood the “You’re just as bad as me” defense. It admits badness then fails to prove just asness. Basically, it argues—”I’m shit and I want people to think you are to”.

  29. This is a real handicappist statement and shows a lack of understanding about people with psychatric disabillties and about the institutional industry.  There are lots of non believers with living with all kinds disabilities.  Yes there are delusional people tripping on religion but 100%.

  30. It is like Atkins using very very old studies to  say women who are raped naturally abort.  Why he tried to use bad science when he negates science instead of his “moral” argument is beyond logic too.

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