US, Canadian imams issue fatwa against honour killings

Published: February 5, 2012
Canada has seen 13 such killings -- which are more common in the Middle East and South Asia -- since 2002.

Canada has seen 13 such killings -- which are more common in the Middle East and South Asia -- since 2002.

MONTREAL: Over 30 American imams signed a fatwa on Saturday condemning honour killings, after a Canada court convicted Afghan immigrants for murdering four female relatives accused of damaging the family’s reputation.

“There is no justification for honour killings, domestic violence and misogyny in Islam,” according to the religious order issued by the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) and signed by 34 imams from Canada and the United States.

Such violence, including spousal abuse and child abuse in all forms, is “forbidden,” it said. “The relationship between the husband and wife is based upon mutual love and kindness.”

Imam Syed Soharwardy, the ISCC’s founder, said the group put out the fatwa “because of the Shafia trial, because it has been a large focus (for) the Islamic community and people said a lot of things,” adding that imams wanted to clear up “some misunderstandings about Islam” by non Muslims.

Last week a court in Kingston, Ontario found businessman Mohammad Shafia, 58, his 42-year-old wife Tooba Yahya and their 21-year-old son Hamed guilty of first degree murder and sentenced them to 25 years in prison.

In what the judge called “heinous” crimes and the indictment described as “honor killings,” the defendants were found guilty of the deaths of the couple’s three daughters and Shafia’s first wife in his polygamous marriage.

“We are not criminals. We are not murderers,” Mohammad Shafia had told the court. “This is unjust.”

The bodies of the victims were found in a car submerged in a canal lock near Kingston in June 2009. The defendants argued the deaths were an accident.

Canada has seen 13 such killings — which are more common in the Middle East and South Asia — since 2002, Amin Muhammed, a psychiatry professor at Memorial University in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, said.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Raheel
    Feb 5, 2012 - 9:29PM

    We need such Fatwas from our pakistani Imams as well..As about 704 women were killed in the name of Honor in 2011..


  • pakistani baloch
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:05PM



  • alyn21
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:18PM

    II is certainly encouraging to hear Muslims actually making statements against honour killing.
    Perhaps Canada can lead the way towards developing a more civilized version of their faith.
    They do however have a long way to go.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:01PM

    Such things happens when there is no understanding between the family members.

    I must term the honour killings as “killing of the honour”.


  • Rahman
    Feb 6, 2012 - 2:15AM

    I am always amused when I see such “Fatwas” from our religious pundits, and the word ‘Oxymoron’ hovers erratically over such rulings.

    Are we so lacking in common sense and devoid of basic understanding of the difference between right and wrong, that we need such ringing endorsements? Do we need them to seek comfort perhaps, that our abhorrence to such criminality may perhaps be in error? What if such rulings were not unanimous and there was in fact dissent? Will that perhaps give rise to debate over such a subject?

    The very reason the western media needs such rulings, is the case against it, and we need not need to prove to anyone that we need religious clearance from sanctimonious monks to tell us what is right and wrong, we know the difference thank you. Glaring criminal and barbaric acts, such as these, are the least within its remit.


  • Ranger
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:39AM

    It is not a Muslim issue but a culture issue. Why is that so hard for people to understand. Islam the faith has no such “Honor Killing” as a tool for wives and such. Read the Qu’ran and see what it has to say before making comments about it. I believe in no faith this way I am free from being accused of anything. However the faith of Islam is having issues with some of the bad sheep in the group. Not all Muslims are like this. Those that are go to jail.


  • zehra
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:45AM

    welcome move, even if we have issued a fatwa like that it is simply not being implemented here!!
    i agree it is more with trying to prevent the family name than the religious sentiments and in pakistan many times enimity is hidden under the Honor killing farce.


  • Viper
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:42AM

    Couldn’t this have been done before so much damage was done to the religion by the news media? The statements by the father and brother in the Canadian case had not been helpful either. The ‘moderates’ sit on their hands far too long and by the time they act, the damage is done.


  • Parvez
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:45PM

    To kill someone under any name or pretext is simply wrong, it is against the law and punishable.
    By calling this an ‘honoour killing’ then issuing a Fatwa you unnecessarily draw negative attention to your religion, something that really does not need to happen.


  • adeel759
    Feb 6, 2012 - 5:07PM

    Good that those are speaking now who matter.


  • Cautious
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:44PM

    Kudos to the imam’s – the only way to stem this kind of crime is to take the “honor” out of it.


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