Fatwa issued against honour killings, domestic violenceWritten by Staff Writer
More than 30 North American imams signed a religious edict on Feb. 4 condemning honour killings, domestic violence and misogyny as "un-Islamic.”
Thirty-four imams belonging to the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, including a handful of American members, say the fatwa aims to clarify any possible confusion over the teachings of the Quran.
While it has no legal teeth, the fatwa is "morally binding" for all Muslims, said Syed Soharwardy, a Calgary-based imam who founded the council.
"So if anybody is thinking that honour killing is allowed in Islam, or domestic violence is OK or misogyny is OK, we are saying no, you are dead wrong," he said Saturday in announcing the measure.
The ruling comes after a verdict was delivered on Jan. 29 in the Shafia murder trial, in which a Montreal couple and their son were convicted of killing four female relatives.
Mohammad Shafia, his son Hamed and his wife Tooba Yahya were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, and Rona Amir Mohammad, 52.
The Crown alleged the three teenage Shafia sisters were killed in an effort to restore the family's honour after the girls shamed the family by dating and acting out. Ms. Amir was simply disposed of, the Crown said.
The trial captured worldwide attention prompting many religious and community leaders to speak out against domestic violence.
For months, imams worked together to denounce honour killings and educate Muslims about the call for gender equality at the heart of their faith.
The fatwa "puts some weight" on those efforts by clearly and unequivocally refuting any interpretation of the Quran that would allow domestic or honour-related violence, Imam Soharwardy said.
It's a rare step, one the 12-year-old council -- which includes mosques and chapters in major Canadian cities -- has taken only twice before to oppose terrorist attacks and Taliban rules prohibiting girls from going to school, he said.
With a combined congregation of roughly 10,000 people throughout the country, the organization has more clout than a single imam or scholar might have in issuing a fatwa, Imam Soharwardy said.
The actions of one misguided family have revealed the need to take a stronger stand against domestic violence, he said.
"What happened in the Shafia home ... The crime was not committed because Islam says so. The crime was committed because that is the way they understood what they think is right," he said.
With files from the Canadian Press.
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