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While the Shafia trial is on in Kingston, Sikander Ziad Hashmi, Imam at the Islamic Society of Kingston, has challenged the National Post’s readers on December 6, 2011 to find one Islamic text that sanctions the murder of a family member to preserve honour. Here is his exact request:
“I ask you to find me one classical Islamic religious text that sanctions the murder of a family member to preserve honour. It just doesn’t exist.”
Point de Bascule answers the Imam’s request by producing not one but two Islamic texts stating that a father who kills his child must not be subject to retaliation. Both texts do not specify any particular motive for granting immunity to the father. Therefore, honour killings are covered by the exemption. Both texts were presented by Point de Bascule in an article published when the Shafia trial began.
A Sunni text endorsing the immunity of a father who kills his child
The first text comes from the Sharia manual Umdat al-Salik (Sunni). Section o1.2 lists many cases of murder for which the murderer is granted immunity. Case #4 refers specifically to that of a parent who kills his/her child:
“o1.2 The following are not subject to retaliation:
- A child or insane person, under any circumstances … ;
- A Muslim for killing a non-Muslim ;
- A Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam … ;
- A father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring ;
Ahmad ibn Naqid al-Misri (1302 – 1367), Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), Beltsville (Maryland), Amana Publications, 1994, pp. 583-584
A reproduction of the book is available HERE.
The Umdat al-Salik is available on the University of Waterloo’s website.
The English translation of the Umdat al-Salik is endorsed by al-Azhar University in Egypt, a leading institution for the study of Islam in the Sunni world and by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), an organization of scholars based in the United States and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is opportune to add that the Islamic Society of Kingston represented by Sikander Ziad Hashmi promotes the IIIT as a reference and an educational Islamic website
This text from the Umdat al-Salik proves that Imam Hashmi was trying to fool the National Post’s readers by distorting a very basic Sharia principle.
A Shiite text endorsing the immunity of a father who kills his child
The second text stresssing the immunity of a father who kills his child comes from Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989), an authority of Shia Islam.
In the section 2.3 of Appendix II that he added to his book A Clarification of Questions, Ayatollah Khomeini mentions specifically that, in order to be punished, the murderer must not be the slain’s father:
2 – Conditions of retaliation
- Equality in liberty and bondage, and therefore a free will be retaliated vis a vis a free.
- Equality in religion, therefore Moslems will not be retaliated for infidel, unless a Moslem has a habit of killing infidels.
- The slayer is not the father of the slain, nor the parental grandfather (apparently).
- Reason ans wisdom.
- That he religiously does not deserve to be killed, such as when a person is forced to kill in self-defense.
Ayatollah Khomeini, A Clarification of Questions, Westview Press, Boulder (Colorado), 1984, p. 429
A reproduction of the excerpt is available HERE.
The issue of Islamic religious texts being settled, here is some additional information demonstrating that Islamists support the immunity for parents who kill their children as well as the concept of honour.
In 2009, Queen Rania from Jordan gave her support to women’s rights groups that wanted to change laws amounting to legal impunity for men involved in honour killings. Rania denounced the fact that such crimes were on the rise and that murderers were getting away with sentences as little as six months. At the time, the Islamic Action Front, an organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, managed to block any changes to the law.
The Age : Jordan’s Queen joins fight for action on honour killings
In 2006, Mahmoud Ayoub, a Muslim expert who is a member of the International Institute of Islamic Thought’s Council of scholars, testified in a Canadian court in favour of a Muslim man who had already been convicted for the murder of his wife. His testimony aimed at reducing the charge from first degree murder to manslaughter. A positive outcome would have reduced the murderer’s sentence.
On this occasion, Ayoub stressed that “the Islamic culture … place(s) great significance on the concept of family honour.” (R. vs Humaid – section 67)
He also stated that “many Islamic societies permit men to punish wives suspected of adultery and sometimes even kill them” (Canwest / National Post, November 10, 2006 – Top court refuses to hear whether religion can be a murder defence).
Ayoub was then trying nothing less than having Canadian tribunals acknowledging Sharia principles incompatible with the equality of all before the law. The judge rejected his plea.
The case was submitted to the Supreme Court. It refused to hear the case.
Mahmoud Ayoub is the same Muslim expert who testified in favour of an Islamist lobby that sued Maclean’s magazine for having published an article by Mark Steyn who quoted Muslim leaders advocating the conquest of the West by immigration and high birth rates.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting (October 24, 2008): Syria – “Honour crime law is derived from Islamic sharia, and we cannot change it”
Point de Bascule: Procès des Shafia : Rappel sur les crimes d’honneur (Shafia trial : A reminder about honour killings)