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.
It’s been a historic week for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the prime beneficiary in the first round of voting for the country’s new parliament. Fully 62 per cent of eligible Egyptians cast ballots this week, and more of them voted for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party than for any other party or alliance.
For them, that’s the good news.
However, the last thing the Brotherhood wanted was to have its upstart Islamist rivals, the Salafists, running in second place in the voting, with as much as 25 per cent of the vote.
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia – About 2,000 slogan-shouting Malaysian Muslims gathered near the capital on Saturday to denounce alleged Christian attempts to convert Muslims, widening a religious rift that could cost Prime Minister Najib Razak minority votes in upcoming polls.
The rally led by non-governmental bodies comes amid an escalating row over accusations of covert conversions among Muslims and a raid on a Methodist church, which has divided Muslims and angered ethnic minorities.
Men, women and families gathered in a stadium in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur to unite against what they said were attempts to evangelize Muslims, an offence in a country where over half the population follows Islam.
“We have gathered today to save the faith of Muslims due to the threat of apostasy,” Yusri Mohamad, chairman of the organising committee, told the crowd.
In Iran, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for the “crime” of leaving Islam as a teenager and converting to Christianity. A translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 states that 32-year-old Nadarkhani “is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19.” While there is widespread public outcry of support for his specific case, some are speaking broadly about the punishment for apostasy. Many — Muslim and non-Muslim — mistakenly believe that Islam supports this barbaric practice.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy. If one were to assume that Islam prescribes some sort of punishment for a person who chooses to leave Islam, that would invariably mean that Islam forces one to be a Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice.
In 1948, most of the world’s Muslim-majority nations signed up to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, including article 18, “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” which includes, crucially, the “freedom to change his religion or belief”. The then Pakistani foreign minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, wrote: “Belief is a matter of conscience, and conscience cannot be compelled.”
Fast-forward to 2011: 14 Muslim-majority nations make conversion away from Islam illegal; several – including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan – impose the death penalty on those who disbelieve. The self-styled Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced to death by hanging a Christian pastor, born to Muslim parents, for apostasy. At the time of writing, Youcef Nadarkhani, head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, is on death row for refusing to recant and convert back to Islam.
The Arab revolutions are not only shaking the structure of tyranny to the core – they are shattering many of the myths about the Arab region that have been accumulating for decades. Topping the list of dominant myths are those of Arab women as caged in, silenced, and invisible. Yet these are not the types of women that have emerged out of Tunisia, Egypt, or even ultra-conservative Yemen in the last few weeks and months.
Not only did women actively participate in the protest movements raging in those countries, they have assumed leadership roles as well. They organised demonstrations and pickets, mobilised fellow citizens, and eloquently expressed their demands and aspirations for democratic change.
Like Israa Abdel Fatteh, Nawara Nejm, and Tawakul Karman, the majority of the women are in their 20s and 30s. Yet there were also inspiring cases of senior activists as well: Saida Saadouni, a woman in her 70s from Tunisia, draped the national flag around her shoulders and partook in the Qasaba protests which succeeded in toppling M. Ghannouchi’s provisional government. Having protested for two weeks, she breathed a unique revolutionary spirit into the thousands who congregated around her to hear her fiery speeches. “I resisted French occupation. I resisted the dictatorships of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. I will not rest until our revolution meets its ends, for your sakes my sons and daughters, not for mine,” said Saadouni.
Whether on the virtual battlefields of the Internet or the physical protests in the streets, women have been proving themselves as real incubators of leadership. This is part of a wider phenomenon characteristic of these revolutions: The open politics of the street have bred and matured future leaders. They are grown organically in the field, rather than being imposed upon from above by political organisations, religious groups, or gender roles.
The movement to ban the use of sharia in the United States continues togrow, even as its proponents struggle to find examples of Islamic law posing a threat to the American way of life.
Anti-sharia activists have now resorted to focusing on an obscure Florida civil lawsuit called Mansour vs. Islamic Education Center of Tampa. The case, which has been elevated to cause celebre status in the right-wing blogosphere involves a mundane financial disagreement between two factions of the Islamic organization.
But in a ruling in the case last month, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen wrote a sentence that has been seized on by anti-sharia activists: “This case will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law.”
On the surface that may sound odd. And, indeed, the typical right-wing reaction has gone something like this: “A Florida judge ruled that a Muslim v. Muslim case can proceed under sharia law. I’m being unbelievably serious here! This kind of crap is why I drink, which would get me beheaded under sharia law. ” Ironically, Nielsen is a registered Republican and Jeb Bush appointee.
This was quickly noticed by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, and his posting about the article provoked a number of Islamophobic postings on his site.
Last years dispute over establishing Sharia arbitration courts for family law in Canada prompted so muchcontroversy, and ultimately led to the banning of all faith based arbitration in Canada, and this yearshysteria over a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury – it comes as no surprise that there is such strong feeling about what seems like a non-issue.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech was certainly not treason, craven, bonkers, a reason to “sack” him, or as Christopher Hitchens has said, a reason to say “To Hell With the Archbishop of Canterbury”. The Archbishop certainly wasn’t saying as John Gibson suggested on Fox News: “What the archbishop was proposing — in effect — was the unfairness of Sharia law toward women be institutionalized for Muslim women under British law.” And, the Archbishop is not as Robert Spencer called him, the “Archdhimmi” of Canterbury.
As an American Muslim I would be opposed to any suggestion that Sharia replace our American legal system for American Muslims or any other Americans, and I would be the first to fight any such possibility.