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Imam threatened after Shafia decision
Published Monday, January 30, 2012 6:13PM MST
A recent court decision is sparking debate across the country after the conviction of three people in connection with the deaths of four of their female family members.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, were each found guilty Sunday of killing the Shafias' three daughters and the older man's first wife.
During the trial, the Crown argued that the deaths were "honour killings," murders intended to restore family dignity after the women's perceived rebellious behaviour.
Justice Robert Maranger alluded to this notion on Sunday when he told the Afghanistan-born family that the women were killed because they "offended your completely twisted concept of honour…that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."
Sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with Shafia's other wife Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, were found dead in one of the family cars at the bottom of a Kingston canal in June 2009.
During the trial, the Crown buttressed its case with photos of the teenaged girls dressed in Western clothing and alleged the father was angry because the girls had boyfriends.
Judge Maranger referred to the murders as "cold-blooded" and "heinous" on Sunday. He went on to say that the killings were an "honourless crime."
Leaders in Calgary's Muslim community are also reacting to the Shafia verdict but for one of those leaders, his support of the verdict has invited threats of violence.
Imam Syed Soharwardy says he has been threatened nine times in the last two days for his views on the outcome of the Shafia case.
The founder of the Islamic Council of Canada says the trial ended the way it should have.
‘I talked about domestic violence and honour killing. That this is absolutely horrible crimes that in Muslim may come and see this as there is room in our religion. There is no room for this kind of crime in religion," said Soharwardy.
The imam says the case has shed light on the tensions and challenges young Afghan women face and he says government has to do more to educate those women and their families when they arrive here.
"Not only just have a test, you know, about Canada but before anybody comes here I think the government has a responsibility to clearly say what kind of society this Canada is," said Soharwardy.
Police are now investigating the threats against Soharwardy.
The convicted Shafia family members maintain their innocence and have vehemently denied the idea that the women were killed over family dignity.
(With files from ctv.ca)