Mother Murdered for Being Strict

Danish Minhas.jpgI think most Desis can empathize with the overly strict Desi household growing up as a teenager in the U.S. But this story has a tragic ending. (h/t Muna)

From the beginning, Houston police say, they doubted 17-year-old Danish Moazzam Minhas’ story about finding his mother’s bloody body in their apartment.



The Lee High School student told investigators he’d spent the entire night out and came upon the crime scene when he returned home that morning in late November. The attacker, Minhas told detectives, must have surprised 43-year-old Tabassum Khan while she was counting money she planned to spend on bills and the traditional Muslim feast of Eid. [chron]

Fingerprints left at the scene were tracked back to a classmate of Minhas. The classmate, Nur Mohamed, told cops he was hired by Minhas to kill his mother for $4,000. He only collected $1,000.

He is now charged with solicitation of capital murder, authorities said, and has confessed to arranging the killing because he felt his mother was too strict.>



Khan and Minhas came from Lahore, Pakistan, about 10 years ago. Minhas’ father is not in contact with anyone in the family, his cousin said.



Then Minhas told police he “loved his mother to death” but she was too strict, [Police Sgt.] Harris said. “I don’t think he realized how that sounded. … She gave him a curfew, chores and other things a responsible parent does.” [chron]

I find this story so sad. I totally empathize with being a teenager in an overly strict immigrant parents Muslim household. I can only imagine how much that must have been compounded in this story since the mother was a single mom raising her only son in Texas. But for Minhas to feel as a teenager that he had to go to such premeditated efforts to murder his own mother because of the strictness is simply tragic. Though I am obviously not condoning the murder, I do think there multiple factors that make this a complicated immigrant story. Makes me wonder what kind of resources could have been provided to the family and the South Asian community to have prevented the murder. Sadly, I feel in this case, very little.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates and blogs at Follow her at

62 thoughts on “Mother Murdered for Being Strict

  1. @Wanderer: Whatever, dude. I lived in Texas from ages 5-18, went to public schools with a juda, and had a blast. My parents were strict (and stricter on my sisters) but were too busy hustling to really know the score. (Which was not really as great as it sounds–having absentee parents. And that’s REALLY the problem, if you ask me, but maybe I’m just projecting like everybody else on this board is.)

    But today it’s a different story altogether. I am back in Houston now and was talking to my friends’ 11-year-old sixth grader about why she doesn’t like school. Now, this is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, precocious little girl (who takes pride in her nerdiness) and she rattled off a list of “the popular kids” with whom she doesn’t fit in there were quite a few desi (Hindu/Muslim) names on it, so I was like, “What? [Insert desi name]–is that kid Indian?” to which she responded, “Um…yeah?” to which I responded, “What? Back when I was in junior high…” to which she responded, “Groan…” and rolled her eyes.

  2. No one really knows anything about the case.

    Was the parent a strict islamist who was forcing her son to go to five daily prayers while the son just wanted to party? Did the son have an anti-social personality without any conscience? Was the son a manipulator? Did the son want his mother’s life insurance? Did the mother want her son to go to college, land a cushy professional job and make tons of moola, and when it was clear the son wasn’t be going anywhere, the mother turned abusive? Was the son an out of control ABCD taking old style revenge upon his mother? Was it a high school bet among friends? Did his mother take away his halo game? Did his mother badtalk him in front of relatives and friends? Did he have undiagnosed schizophrenia with psychotic symptoms? Was he decompensating because he could get his cocaine high on time?

    Who the fuk knows…

  3. “Well Orestes killed his mother to avenge the death his father. I usually find that when people use Greek mythology to further help their point, they are usually doing it wrong”

    Oh I don’t know. Our narratives don’t fit all the myths and legends to an absolute tee. The full context is a panorama of dysfunctional human behavior (and some nice stuff too.) Clytemnestra murdered her husband because he murdered their daughter Iphigenia, to appease the gods, send winds for his war ships, and grant him victory. She had her reasons. After Orestes commits the murder, the female Furies will not leave Orestes in peace because vengance for his father overruled mercy for his mother. Meanwhile the narrative voice insists on the primacy of fathers and loyalty to fathers, going so far as to view the mother as a sort of incubator while the father was real parent. In those days, biology was debatable. It’s probably far more complex, but some critics have boiled this this play down to the war that was going on between the (probably) older matrilinea/matriarchal l focus with the then more current patrilineal/patriarchal society. Aphrodite, born from the forehead of Zeus, even chimes in on the father’s side.

    This brings back personal memories. I once knew a girl who committed suicide in her dorm room and had the play “Orestes” at her bedside. She had murdered her mother a few years earlier (eventually got off on an insanity plea since she’d been only 14 at the time.) So although there were critical differences in the situations, the story raised demons still too much for her to bear 5 years after the fact.

  4. Commentators such as Yoga Fire make it hard to have dignified, intelligent discourse on this site. It isn’t that he doesn’t have a right to share his POVs, it’s that the way he gives his opinion (authoritatively, threateningly, and condescendingly) makes one less likely to engage in discussion. Individuals such as him don’t realize that rational, calm discourse gets more respect and credit than over-the-top rambling.

    I fully sympathize with the lack of mental health outreach in the South Asian community, but i have a hard time drumming up sympathy for someone who methodically paid someone to have his mother killed, no matter how strict she was. That said, while I can’t make a full psychological diagnosis, I strongly suspect he was mentally unstable because he had a picture of his and his mother together as his profile picture on Facebook–if he hated her this much, why do that?

    I suppose it’s a double-edged sword for me– I understand that he was clearly in need of mental health care, and would have gotten the help he needed if he’d received some, however, I am also disgusted with the fact that he contracted his mother’s murder.

  5. I may be misunderstanding Yoga Fire’s comments but I took them as a just his reaction. Sure it was caustic but people do not always write in the most preferable way

  6. Amazed at the level of emotion when so little is known about the incident. For starters, is the boy to be considered guilty before there has even been an attempt at presenting his case ?

    Not a ‘for’ or ‘against’ post here, just that one should withhold judgment either way until a bit more is known. And in the absence of that, I find Taz’s pov giving the boy the benefit of the doubt and wondering what (if anything) could have prevented this to be the most compassionate reaction.

  7. Commentators such as Yoga Fire make it hard

    Shalu416, you have mentioned Yoga Fire by name already! In contrast, you do not name those whom you find reasonable!

    Yoga Fire is following the first rule for an op-ed writer: your readership can revile you, but they cannot ignore you!

  8. “but they cannot ignore you!”

    Actually, that’ exactly what I do…scroll past these pseudo-inflammatory posters to get to the heart of the comment(er)s.

  9. I actually dont mind YogaFire’s comments. They are direct and to the point. I do not feel sorry for that teen one bit. Unless she subjected him to some unspeakable abuse, the guy needs to pay for it.

  10. Pravin: i’m sorry you feel no sympathy towards this boy. No act should be seen without its context in society at large. He was an immigrant of color in a potentially racist culture. His mother, an immigrant woman from a patriarchal culture, was obviously traumatized and transferred this societal trauma to her child. The boy in turn, due to a societal lack of concern for his mental health, did not get the help he needed so that he would not plot with his classmate to coldbloodedly murder his mother. No doubt his classmate was equally if not more so traumatized because he too is of color. As you can see, the context here is that of racist uncaring society that drove an innocent colored boy to madness and a colored woman to death. A jury of his uncolored peers cannot but indict and throw their own selves in jail.

  11. I do not feel sorry for that teen one bit.

    I have some pity for him. But I just think it’s silly to ignore or let it override our more general sense that this kid did something evil. Sometimes people do evil things and no amount of context is going to change that. Maybe they had a good heart, maybe it could have turned out differently, but none of that really matters after he pulls the trigger.

    It’s good to have sympathy for people. Being religious I do sincerely try to acknowledge the divinity in everyone. But when it comes to our duties as people here on Earth, the first is to uphold the righteousness and that means having an intrinsic love of justice and hatred of injustice.

    Making excuses for people who do things we know to be wrong really just lets everyone else who harbors dark thoughts and evil intentions convince themselves that they’re not really bad, just misunderstood. And that, dear friends, is a dangerous lie that can let people justify all kinds of evil deeds to themselves.

  12. Also, I’m pretty sure 7*6 is Jonathan Swift reincarnated.

    I see what you did there. I commend you sir, and am in full support of your estimably modest proposal.