Westerners find it hard to relate to Muslim so-called “honor” killings which have taken place in both Canada and the United States, in addition to other non-Muslim countries throughout the industrialized world.

Many parents find the behavior of teenage children incomprehensible; tattoos, green hair, piercings, breaking curfew are all issues which frustrate and annoy parents as children seek out and learn how to responsibly cope with independence.  Parents yell, they ground teens, they restrict privileges, and sometimes send kids off to military school.  They don’t, however, kill them.

Mohamad Shafia, his wife Tooba, and son Hamed were found guilty by a Canadian court of first-degree murder in the murder of Shafia’s three daughters and another of Mr. Shafia’s wives, Rona Shafia.  Mr. Shafia was involved in a polygamous marriage.  Under Islamic law, Muslim men are permitted to have up to four wives.

Zainab, Geeti, and Shar Shafia were found dead in a submerged car in the Rideau Canal near Kingston.  The three drowned girls were the daughters of Mr. Shafia and Tooba, who were convicted along with the girls’ brother of their murder.  Also found in  the submerged car was Rona, another wife of Mr. Shafia, who did not have children of her own.  Rona Shafia was apparently a victim of domestic violence and feared for her life in the weeks before the murders.

All four women were alleged by the Crown to have been killed in a so-called Muslim honor killing in which family members feel justified in killing other family members, most often women, who have made various transgressions believed to have damaged family honor.  Apparently the three young women had boyfriends and appeared to be too Westernized to Mr. Shafia, an Afghani immigrant to Canada.  Like other Islamic practices such as female genital mutilation and covering women from head to foot, honor killings are not condoned or even permitted by Islamic law, but emerged from long-held tribal beliefs about permissible family conduct.

The three Shafia family members found guilty of the murders plan to appeal the verdict.

Islamic religious leaders were shocked by these four killings and began a Canadian campaign among social service agencies and mosques to inform their membership that honor killings are contrary to Muslim religious instruction.

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