MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A senior Muslim leader in Canada Saturday ordered an end to so-called honor killings and domestic abuse, saying the Koran does not endorse such violence.
Imam Syed Soharwardy of Calgary, Alberta, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, issued the fatwa, or official religious edict, in Mississauga, Ontario, following the convictions in Kingston, Ontario, this week in the deaths of four Muslim women killed by relatives who felt the family's honor had been besmirched by their lifestyle.
"Those who think honor killing is OK are dead wrong," the Toronto Sun quoted Soharwardy as saying. "There is no place for violence in Islam.
"A very small minority" of Muslims adhere to the concept and "need to be corrected."
Postmedia News reported Soharwardy, who also is the spiritual leader at the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Center, said earlier the fatwa, backed by dozens of other imams and Muslim scholars from across North America, is meant to drive home the point that abuse and killing is not proscribed by the Koran.
"That kind of mentality has to be changed, and has to be confronted," he said.
Soharwardy said he had been researching the issue for some time but it was the recent murder trial that led him to act.
The imam said he and other scholars also want non-Muslims to understand that anti-female sentiment is not sanctioned by Islam.
Soharwardy noted while a fatwa is "not legally binding" it is "morally binding."
Postmedia News said it is just the third fatwa Canadian organization has issued in the past decade. The most recent one was in January 2010 when the council said Muslims were not to commit acts of terrorism against Canada or the United States.