Canadian imams declare fatwa against ‘honor killings’

February 6, 2012

Muslim clerics in Canada issued a fatwa against so-called honor
killings a week after three members of an Afghan family in Montreal were
convicted of the murders of four relatives.

The religious
decree—only the third of its kind in Canada—also prohibits domestic
violence and hatred of women. It was issued February 4 on the eve of
Maw­lid an-Nabi, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.

"These crimes
are major sins in Islam, punishable by the court of law and almighty
Allah," said Imam Syed Soharwardy of Calgary, representing 34 clerics
affiliated with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. "There is no
justification for honor killings, domestic violence and misogyny in
Islam," Soharwardy added.

The fatwa came less than a week after
the January 29 conviction of Mohammad Shafia and his wife, Tooba Yahya,
for drowning their three daughters and Shafia's first wife in what they
regarded as an honor killing. The couple and their adult son, Hamed
Shafia, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The
four victims were found drowned inside a submerged car that had been
pushed into a canal near the eastern Ontario city of Kingston.

Honor
killings, while rare, are typically used against family members whose
actions are seen to have brought shame or ill repute on a family. One
Canadian imam, H. Q. Mufti, pointed out there have been a dozen such
killings in Canada over the last decade.

Soharwardy told reporters
that a fatwa is "not legally binding," but it is "morally binding." He
said "a very small minority" of Muslims support honor killings, and they
"need to be corrected." Previous fatwas issued in Canada denounced the
Taliban for preventing the education of girls and terrorists for
plotting acts of mass destruction.  —RNS