Sunday, December 23, 2007

Calgary Imam Goes on Hunger Strike to Denounce Family Violence

From the Canadian Press

Calgary imam says Islam, family violence don't mix; goes on hunger strike

CALGARY - An imam from Alberta was planning to go on a weekend hunger strike to bring attention to domestic violence and how it is completely against the teachings of Islam.

Any violence involving families is "absolutely un-Islamic," Syed Soharwardy of the Calgary Islamic Centre said Friday.

"We should not be using religion as a scapegoat to justify what we need. We should resolve our disputes based on reasoning, logic (and) cool-mindedness."

The imam's comments came after the death earlier this month of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez of Mississauga, Ont., who reportedly had a long-standing dispute with her family over her apparent reluctance to wear the traditional Muslim headscarf, the hijab.

Her father, who has not yet entered a plea, has been charged with her murder.

Soharwardy, who is also national president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said family violence plagues every group in society, but it seems that faith is only used as an excuse when it comes to Muslims.

He also said it is against his religion to force Islamic will upon others. "Islam wants people to have a righteous and a pious life, but Islam leaves that decision up to that person."

Other Canadian Islamic leaders have also publicly come out this week to emphasize that their religion condemns violence and teaches its followers not to force their beliefs upon others

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