Thursday, December 15, 2011

Canadian Imam's condemn honor killings

Two different Imam's. Firstly from here:

KINGSTON, Ont. -- The young imam here knows those alleged to have been part of the horrible Rideau Canal "honour" murders have nothing to do with Muslim life in Canada's original capital city. But he also knows, with the whole country watching this gruesome trial, they have everything to do it.

This trial has not yet had the Crown's case tested by a jury of the accused's peers. It will resume Jan. 9, 2012.

"The people on trial for these horrendous allegations are from Montreal and were just passing through," the imam at the Kingston Islamic Centre said Thursday.

"But I am realistic," said the 29-year-old Canadian-born Sikander Hashmi of what this trial means to every other Muslim living in the shadow of the horrible testimony of the alleged quadruple slaying of four women on June 30, 2009.

He knows that the first-degree murder trial of Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their son Hamed for the murder of sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti, and Shafia's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad could cast unfair aspersions on people who don't have anything to do with it."I don't know anybody who thinks like this," said Hashmi of Kingston's 1,000 or so Muslims.

He wanted to make sure the rest of Canada understands this. But he went even further.

On the off chance there are people at his mosque, or elsewhere in Canada, who are not clear on what he thinks is the obvious, he decided to speak out.

"Obviously, this is a Muslim issue that needs to be addressed because these things have happened inside the faith," he said. "I am a father of a daughter myself."

He "felt a need" to address the difficult subject in last week's sermon and will touch on it again this Friday.

"I just make it perfectly clear that no killing or domestic violence is acceptable for any reason" and is "reprehensible."

He wondered if some old-school Muslims would not appreciate drawing any attention, but he has been pleasantly surprised by the response.

"I did not hear one negative comment," he said. "Many have said it was good to address this because we all feel the same way that such crimes are wrong."

It did not offend anybody in the congregation, said member Wissal Mesfar who, with wife Malik Derbel, originally from Tunisia, have a young boy and a girl.

"It's just unacceptable," Mesfar said of "honour" killings.

Derbel added, "We follow Islam and feel the people who have these kinds of ideas of it should stay in their own countries."

This one allegedly happened in Canada, and the imam said he prays it never comes up here again.

By speaking out, Hashmi, who grew up a Habs fan in Montreal to immigrant-Pakistani parents, has shown great leadership.

In fact, he is speaking the language of common sense so many want to hear from Muslim leaders.

Other than being a Canadiens' fan, he is very impressive.

However, a national profile on such issues, he said, is not his focus or goal.

"I am here to serve my community," he said, adding the people in what he calls "Little Mosque North of the 401" are very good people of all sorts of different backgrounds.

He said Kingston's Muslims have done lots of great work here, like "raising $100,000 for Kingston General Hospital." The Islamic Society of Kingston Volunteer Team, a group of about 40, has worked on many charitable projects for the needy.

"I have to tell you, people in our centre are shocked by what they are hearing in this case and will be glad when (it's over)," he said.

Although the conclusion can't come soon enough for Imam Hashmi, he said, it won't be glossed over and it will be talked about again.

"What happened here needs to be talked about," he said.

Talked about by Muslims and talked about by everybody.

Second Imam from:

OTTAWA — The imam of the Ottawa Mosque has condemned so-called honour killing, saying the practice speaks to a perverse sense of honour that is alien to Islam, and has no place in society.

Samy Metwally said Friday that it doesn’t make sense to think or believe that any religion will condone killing people to preserve family honour.

“What’s called honour killing is not part of Islamic teaching or tradition, and in fact there is no honour in this killing at all,” Metwally told The Citizen.

“It has nothing to do with religion and it has no backup either from the texts of the Qur’an or from the behaviour, sayings or deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, who is the model for Muslims.”

Metwally was speaking to The Citizen on the day of “a call to action” during which imams across the country delivered sermons against domestic violence, and to reiterate that Islam has no tolerance for violence against women.

“The purpose of this call to action is to raise awareness of Muslims that we are not allowed to do things like beating our wives or doing physical or emotional harm to them. The religion does not permit us to do these,” he said.

The nationwide sermons were triggered by the sensational trial in Kingston, Ont., in which Montreal businessman Mohammad Shafia, his son and wife are accused of killing his three teenage daughters and his first wife allegedly because their behaviour dishonoured the family. A Kingston imam, concerned that the deaths are being misrepresented as something to do with Islam, asked colleagues around the country to deliver special sermons on domestic violence and make clear Islam has nothing to do with so-called honour killings.

Metwally would not comment directly on the ongoing trial, but said there have been so many misconceptions about “honour-killings” that it is imperative that imams set the record straight.

Metwally, who took over as imam of the city’s largest Muslim community a little over a month ago, said he has been so inundated with complaints about marriage problems he realized domestic discord was a huge problem among his congregation. He decided to devote his sermons to the problem, and the “call to action” fit into his program.

In his sermon, Metwally urged a packed Ottawa Mosque to look to the examples of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit or abused his wives in any form. Quoting statistics that he says show that one in three women are subjected to some form of physical, mental or emotional abuse, he said domestic violence has no religious boundaries. But he said Muslims have a special duty to refrain from abusing their wives because Muhammad, whose examples are supposed to guide them, not only refrained from the behaviour, but forbade it.

Using several examples from the life of the Prophet and his companions in how they related to their wives, Metwally said Muslims have a responsibility to treat their wives with dignity, kindness and “equity.” He reminded them of one the most famous sayings on the subject from the Prophet: “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.”

The imam told the Citizen that one of the major problems in dealing with many issues, including domestic abuse, is that people often pull Qur’anic verses out of context and

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