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Canada Muslims Decry Honor Killing

Published: 03/12/2011 01:37:51 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Dozens of prominent Muslim organizations and community leaders joined their hands to decry domestic violence that some wrongly relate to Islam, (more)

CAIRO - Dozens of prominent Muslim organizations and community leaders joined their hands to decry domestic violence that some wrongly relate to Islam, confirming that Qur'an does not sanction the idea of honor killing.

“This is a call to action within the Muslim community,” Samira Kanji, CEO of Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto, told Toronto Star.

“We want to make sure that no one can cite Islam as validation over horrific crimes or rights over anyone else.”

Sending their message out loud, 60 prominent Muslim organizations as well as dozens of community leaders and activists from all over Canada agreed on delivering Friday sermon from mosque pulpits tackling the issue.

The initiative is the first time since the London bombings in July 2005 that this many community leaders and organizations have come together in Canada to issue a statement and tackle a problem head-on.

The call followed the eruption of the Shafia trial that rocked the Canadian society and captured headlines nationwide.

The bodies of sisters Zainab, 19; Sahar, 17; and 13-year-old Geeti Shafia were discovered with their polygamist father's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, in a car in the Rideau Canal in June 2009.

The girls' parents, Mohammad Shafia, 58, and Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20, face first-degree murder charges.

The Shafia trial was one reason for “this call to action within the Muslim community,” said Kanji.

“But it was a conglomeration of events.”

Domestic violence is a huge problem everywhere and the Muslim community has its share, she said.

“But it's important to tell people that Islam doesn't sanction it.”

In Islam, there is no place for unjustifiable killing as the case in honor killing.

Even in case of capital punishment, only the government can apply the law through the judicial procedures.

Though portrayed in the Western media as exhorted by Islam, honor killing is a cultural act and has nothing to do with the faith.


Facing accusations of condoning violence, the accounts of the trial have been disturbing for Muslim leaders who denounced it as against the practice.

“We needed to be clear … to tell everyone that this is wrong. Islam does not condone it,” said Sikander Ziad Hashmi, imam at the Islamic Society of Canada in Kingston.

Among other things, the special sermon confirms that honor killing is against the Islamic principles.

“Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to restore family honor violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles,” the sermon says.

Yet, others confirmed that many Canadians will recognize the tragic trial as against what mainstream Islam is about.

“It boils down to what it is: a horrific crime,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations-Canada.

Along with honor killing, the Friday sermon is the first step in tackling the issue of domestic violence.

Community leaders plan to make resources available for mediation, conflict resolution and domestic violence.

“We want to organize workshops at different mosques,” Kanji said.

“Fighting this … is a firm commitment and we are giving it priority.”

Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.

A survey has showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.

Reproduced with permission from

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