The Shafia murder trial currently underway in Ontario, Canada is a public relations bonanza for anti-Muslim bigots who have made so-called “Islamic honor killings” a major theme in their campaign to vilify Muslims. Three of Mohammad Shafia’s daughters and his first wife were found dead in a car submerged in a shallow canal two years ago in what prosecutors say was a quadruple murder staged to look like an accident.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his second wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son Hamed, who was 18 at the time of the incident, have each been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Shafia is a wealthy Montreal businessman originally from Afghanistan, who was apparently living in a polygamous arrangement with his first (infertile) wife, his second wife, and their seven children. After leaving Afghanistan in 1992, the family had lived in Dubai, Pakistan and Australia before settling in Quebec, Canada.
Two summers ago on a return trip from a Niagara Falls vacation, the family checked into a Kingston hotel for the night. Early the next morning, police found the family’s wrecked sedan in the nearby Kingston Mill locks.
Inside were the bodies of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, and Mohammad’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 52. Autopsies indicated all four victims had drowned.
At first, the couple told police their eldest daughter had taken the sedan for a joyride without their permission, resulting in a tragic accident. Inconsistencies in their story left police suspicious, and evidence found at the scene contradicted their account.
Investigators said the sedan would have had to travel past a locked gate, over a concrete curb and a rocky outcrop, and then make two U-turns to wind up in the locks of the canal. Damage found on both vehicles indicates that Mohammad Shafia’s SUV pushed the sedan into the shallow canal at an isolated, unlit location.
Police seized a laptop from the family’s Montreal home they said was owned by Shafia but used by his son Hamed. In the weeks leading up to the alleged murder, forensic experts found incriminating phrases had been entered in the Google search engine, including “Where to commit a murder,” “Can a prisoner have control over their real estate,” and ”Montreal jail.”
Shafia’s chilling statements captured on police wiretaps suggest he orchestrated the death of his daughters because they consorted with boys and dishonored his family with their defiant behavior:
“They committed treason on themselves. They betrayed humankind. They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion…they betrayed everything.”
An apparently remorseless Shafia told his second wife that when he views the cell phone photos of Zainab and Sahar posing with their boyfriends or in suggestive clothing, he is consoled, saying:
“I say to myself, ‘You did well.’ Were they come to life, I would do it again.”
The trial has received intense media coverage in Canada, but in the US, coverage has been mostly confined to anti-Muslim hatemongers and outrage peddlers. Frontpage Magazine, a site run by anti-Muslim loon David Horowitz, prompted some hate-filled comments from readers responding to an article about the Shafia trial:
“IslamoFascist Pigs will continue to carry out the tenets of Islam because they are 7th Century barbarians in the 21st Century. It’s unfortunate that Canada doesn’t have a death penalty.”
“…The West is drinking poison, we need to puke it out and close the door and seal every crack to keep this evil out.”
An article on The Blaze, a right wing website founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck, provoked over 200 colorful comments, including:
“These towelheads think they are above the law. I don’t know what its going to take to wake up our country and it’s leaders.”
“ISLAM THE MUSLIM BARBARIC SATAN CULT! These are Dictator Barack Hussein Obamas chosen people! The SHARIA-LAW IS ALREADY STARTING IN OUR AMERICA!”
“Gee…if Muslims keep this up there won’t be a ‘problem’ with them. I say we need to keep hands off and let this run its course.”
“Nuke Mecca, Nuke Medina. Peace through Strength, Strength through Superior Firepower.”
Pamela Geller’s website Atlas Shrugs is also covering the story, and her readers appear to be equally hateful, paranoid, and in some cases, unaware that Afghans are not Arabs:
“Muslim DOGS is what they are… Arab DOGS!”
“Just another moderate Muslim. And that is not tongue-in-cheek. DEPORT ALL OF THEM.”
“The pathetic politically-correct wussies in the canadian parliament have totally rolled-over and caved to these islamo-crazies. Sharia will be the law of the land in canada within the next three years. It’s time to beef up our northern border.”
Notice that these comments are not confined to outrage over this specific crime, but are a wholesale denunciation of all Muslims and the Islamic religion, as well as calls for violence, deportation, and even genocide. Comments consistently expressed a visceral hatred of Muslims, belief in a sinister left-Islamist alliance, and paranoid conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over and imposing Sharia (Islamic Law) in the Western world.
Geller has a section on her website entitled, “Honor Killings: Islam Misogyny,” where she frequently repeats the lie that honor killings are sanctioned by Islamic Law. She describes honor killing in America as, “a grotesque manifestation of [S]haria law abrogating American law,” and warns that “creeping [S]haria” will bring a myriad of barbaric practices to the US if “Islamic supremacists” are not stopped.
The fact is that honor killings are not religiously or legally sanctioned by Islam. Rafia Zakaria is a lawyer, a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, and the Director for Amnesty International USA. Zakaria is also a Muslim feminist and a regular contributor to Ms.blog Magazine, which covers contemporary women’s issues. On the subject of honor killing, she has said:
“That is one of the black and white statements I can make. There is absolutely nothing, either in the Qur’an or in the Hadith, or even in any secondary source that says that honor killing is something that Muslims should do or can do or that is lawful.”
Honor killing is an ancient practice that can be linked to the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, circa 1700 BC. Barbara Kay, a harsh critic of Islam who previously sparked controversy with her column, “The Rise of Quebecistan,” says the first honor killing in Judeo-Christian civilization is recorded in the Bible in Genesis 34. She relates the story here.
Some Muslims, a minority mistakenly believe that “honor killing” is permitted in Islam, and Mohammad Shafia’s statements in the wake of his daughters’ deaths suggest he shares this misconception, conflating culture and faith. For this reason, it is important to spread the news that Islam does NOT condone these killings, yet anti-Muslim bigots who claim they care about Muslim women are doing the opposite.
In a pathetic attempt to prove Islam sanctions honor killings, the loons have dredged up ”Reliance of the Traveller,” a classical manual for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence written over 600 years ago. A convoluted interpretation of select passages has gone viral, and is now routinely cited on the pages of hate sites and in comments on numerous articles related to honor killing.
Geller quotes a section of The Traveller on her website that says certain crimes, including the killing of one’s offspring, are not subject to retaliation, implying Muslim parents have a free pass to murder their children under Islamic Law, which is a bold faced LIE. Retaliation is a form of reciprocal justice, lex talionis, commonly known as “an eye for an eye.”
A crime that is not subject to retaliation can still be punished by other means. Restrictions on reciprocal justice in the Qur’an were meant to reduce blood feuds and the cycle of vengeance. The concept of retaliation is also found in Jewish and Christian scriptures, and like honor killing, traces back to the ancient Code of Hammurabi.
Even if The Traveller sanctioned honor killing (which it doesn’t), it would be the interpretation of one Islamic cleric who lived centuries ago, and not a formal part of Islamic Law. Sharia is drawn primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and neither sanctions honor killing.
Of course Geller is only parroting a common anti-Muslim talking point pushed by her teacher in all things Islamic, Robert Spencer. Spencer, since the launch of JihadWatch has tried his utmost to find an Islamic text that he could contort and link to “honor killings.”
His one method has been to cite the well known story of Khidr in the 18th chapter of the Qur’an as such a justification for “honor killing” in Islam:
Khidr killed the young man because he would grieve his pious parents with his “rebellion and ingratitude” (v. 80), and Allah will give them a better son (v. 81).
…[further down states]…
Another point emerges in Islamic tradition: don’t kill children, unless you know they’re going to grow up to be unbelievers. “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 Khidr 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.” The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West.
Robert Spencer shamelessly tries to mislead the reader into thinking there is some textual justification for honor killing. Seeking Ilm, a traditional conservative Muslim website takes Spencer to task for this and sheds light on the above falsities, debunking Spencer’s mythical explanation:
Such an explanation is not at all mentioned by the scholars of old or of late. None understood this story to mean that it is permitted to kill children if they will be an unbeliever.
It goes on to discuss the tradition mentioned by Spencer: first the speaker is a disciple of the Prophet Muhammad known as Ibn Abbas; second, the wording of the tradition cited by Spencer is from a shaadh (peculiar) narration of the said tradition and is therefore “weaker” and not “accepted”; third, it is narrated differently in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (one of the most authoritative books of tradition) with only these words,
“Verily the Messenger of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not kill children, so do not kill children, unless you know what Al-Khidr knew when he killed the child.”
The Seeking Ilm folks go on to write,
The fact is it is impossible to know what Al-Khidr knew. Imam An-Nawawi (1234-1278 CE), recognized as one of the most brilliant Muslim jurists and judges to have lived, explained these words in his commentary upon the Sahih of Imam Muslim:
“It means: Verily it is not permitted to kill them (i.e. children), nor is it permitted for you to make a connection to the story of Al-Khidr utilizing it to kill children. For verily, Al-Khidr did not kill except by the command of God, the exalted, as this was specifically allotted to him just as was mentioned in the end of the story [of khidr], “And I did it not of my own accord.” So [Ibn ‘Abbas is saying] if you came to know of such from a child then he is to be killed. And it is known such cannot be known [by a person] and so it is not permitted to kill him.” ((Sharh Sahih Muslim: Translated by Seekingilm team ))
What is also important to mention is that Imam Nawawi himself, the great Dr. in Hadith and commentator of the Sahih, places this hadith beneath the chapter title, “Women Participants in Jihad are to be Given Reward but not Part of the Spoils, and the Prohibition of Killing Children of the People of War.” This fact stresses our point that the Muslims did not extract the meaning claimed by Robert Spencer. If Robert Spencer and crew did not get all of what we just stated, let us sum it up for the idiots out there: one of the most prominent scholars for all Muslims is clearly stating that killing children is not permitted based upon this verse, as knowledge of the child’s future is not certain save by revelation from God, as was received by Al-Khidr. Even Moses, according to the story, did not know of the plight of the child, so how is it that a layman is to know of such? Furthermore, Imam An-Nawawi known as the second Imam Ash-Shafi’i, is stating that it is totally forbidden to kill children. The fact is Spencer’s null attempt at utilizing this statement for his own fear-mongering and islamophobic agenda only shows anyone with any knowledge of Islamic law how horridly ignorant Robert Spencer is of Islam.
Horridly ignorant is right!
In any case, it seems highly unlikely that the Canadian court will consult a centuries-old manual on Islamic jurisprudence to determine sentencing in the Shafia case.
Loons, who are clearly unhinged from reality, insist liberal “wussies” are caving in to “Islamo-crazies” and will allow Muslims to invoke Sharia to get away with murder in Western courtrooms. Apparently they see no contradiction between their belief that Islamic Law is soft on crime and simultaneously, exceptionally harsh and barbaric.
Outside of the loons’ fevered imaginations, Sharia is not a factor in the Shafia trial. The accused will be subject to the Law of Canada, and if convicted, all three face life in prison.