Canada Muslim family plotted for months to murder daughters and first wife in honor killing
- Accused in canal deaths to plead not guilty (perhaps Allah killed them..?)
- Shame Culture: How Do You “Cure The Honor Killing Cancer?”
- Honor Killing is un-Islamic (Part# 5389)
- The Perfect Crime
- Progress in Syria: Kill Your Wife, Get Out in Two
Honor killing and polygamy in Canada. As I saidÂ here, “if the roots of honor killing are never discussed and always ignored, the practice will never stop. Until the Islamic roots of the practice are discussed openly and human rights groups begin calling for reform, honor killings will continue in the Islamic world — and in Muslim communities in the West.”
“Family’s plans to murder daughters, first wife hatched months before: police,” by Paul Cherry and Natalie Alcoba for theÂ Canwest News Service, July 24 (thanks to Pamela, who has much more information on this caseÂ here):
KINGSTON/TORONTO — The suspicious circumstances that led to a car, carrying the bodies of three sisters and their father’s first wife, being submerged in the Rideau Canal began to unravel on Thursday, amid allegations of an unfathomable scenario where the girls’ parents and brother conspired in a premeditated murder.Conspiracy charges filed at the Kingston courthouse on Thursday reveal investigators believe plans to commit the murders were hatched as far back as May 1.
The small detail in the indictment added yet another twist in a tragic story that appears to border on the bizarre — including tearful displays of mourning by those who are now accused of murder, allegations from relatives that it may all have been over honour, and a revelation that the adult initially described as a cousin was actually a first wife.
The bodies of Zainab Shafia, 19, her sisters Sahari, 17, and Geeti, 13, and 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad were pulled from a Nissan Sentra on June 30, after the car was discovered in the canal near the Kingston Mills Locks. Police refuse to disclose how they died.
Mohammad Shafia, 56, his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 39, and their eldest son, Hamed Shafia, 18, all of Montreal, are charged with four counts each of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Police said on Thursday they treated the case as suspicious from day one, even as the apparently distraught parents presented another theory to reporters – that the deaths were the end to a foolish joy ride spearheaded by the eldest daughter, who did not know how to drive but liked to take the car out for a spin without permission.
Police called that scenario false on Thursday and alleged that the three accused were the ones operating the Nissan the night of the deaths. Investigators say they have evidence to link them and a second family vehicle, a Lexus, to the locks….
A relative of the couple has told reporters she believes the murders were carried out as so-called honour killings, but police refused to comment on a possible motive.
“Some of us have different core beliefs, different family values, different sets of rules; certainly these individuals, in particular the three teenagers, were Canadian teenagers who have all the freedom and rights of expression of all Canadians,” Kingston police Chief Stephen Tanner said at a press conference on Thursday. “Whether that was a part of a motive within the family – based on one of the girls’ or more of the girls’ behaviour – is open to a little bit of speculation, but combined with other investigative issues as well.”
Kingston police confirmed on Thursday that Rona Amir Mohammad was Mohammad Shafia’s first wife, and that he was also married to Ms. Yahya. A relative who sent an anonymous e-mail to the Montreal Gazette alleged that Mr. Shafia was “disgraced” by his daughters’ behaviour in Canada, and that he wanted his first wife to return to Canada while hiding the fact they were married. The author of the e-mail said Mr. Shafia married Ms. Yahya as his second wife, because Ms. Mohammad could not have children….
Why it matters that honor killing has Islamic sanction
“While the practice is not confined to a specific cultural group and has no links to Islam, there is ‘no question,’ Mr. Oppal said, the numbers of honour killings are higher in certain communities.”
No links to Islam? Really?
A manual of Islamic law certified by Al-Azhar as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-SalikÂ o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In accord with this, in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings.Â Al-Jazeera reportedÂ that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
And related to the practice is this:
“The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khadir had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside.” –Â Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4457
Khadir, or Khidr, figures in sura 18 of the Qur’an. He is traveling with Moses, and: “Then they proceeded: until, when they met a young man, he [Khadir] slew him. Moses said: “Hast thou slain an innocent person who had slain none? Truly a foul (unheard of) thing hast thou done!” Khadir replies: “As for the youth, his parents were people of Faith, and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinate rebellion and ingratitude (to Allah and man). So we desired that their Lord would give them in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct) and closer in affection….” (18:74, 18:80-81).
Why does it matter that the practice of honor killing has Islamic sanction? Because if the roots of honor killing are never discussed and always ignored, the practice will never stop. Until the Islamic roots of the practice are discussed openly and human rights groups begin calling for reform, honor killings will continue in the Islamic world — and in Muslim communities in the West.
And the idea that this is a racial issue or racial term is absurd. Islam is not a race, and the victims of honor killing are Muslim women. It is racist now to want to protect Muslim women from being murdered?
The term “honour killing” is not inherently racist and must be used to identify a “diabolical” practice that all Canadians should band together to oppose, says B.C.’s former attorney-general.Wally Oppal, a former judge who has spoken out prominently against the practice of honour killing, was responding to criticism that the term unfairly points a finger at particular cultures, such as Islam.
“I don’t think it’s racist at all,” Mr. Oppal said. “This [practice] is absolutely disgusting. It’s abhorrent to our standards of decency and I think that we need to speak out about it. I don’t think we have to worry about cultural sensitivity when we discuss these things.”
Honour killing refers to a crime in which a male family member murders a female relative because he believes she has brought dishonour onto the family, often by dating someone of whom the patriarch disapproves.
While the practice is not confined to a specific cultural group and has no links to Islam, there is “no question,” Mr. Oppal said, the numbers of honour killings are higher in certain communities.
British Columbia’s Indo-Canadian community, for example, experienced a string of vicious attacks. In a matter of months, four women were killed by their husbands, another shot in the face and permanently blinded – all, many believed, simply because they were female and independent-minded.
“The fact is that we need to face these issues head-on and we need to deal with them,” Mr. Oppal said. “[The issue here is] violence against women, and all right-thinking Canadians should speak out against that.”
Indeed. But some would prefer to obfuscate:
Farhat Haq, an expert on honour killing at Monmouth College in Illinois, says there is a valid concern the term can demonize Islam. But provided religion can be recognized as wholly separate, the label is useful in underscoring the twisted values at the heart of such crimes, she said….