11.30.2011 08:39 PM

Response to “honour killing” column

…below. Very nice to receive.

Meanwhile, assorted media – at the Globe, Gazette, Huffington Post and elsewhere –  continue to falsely propagate the notion that there was a religious sanction for “honour killings.”  Not helpful.


Dear Mr. Kinsella,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you about your recent article in the Edmonton Sun titled “Lost in Translation – Religious texts open to debate, but ‘honour killing’ isn’t there”.

As an Imam leading several Muslim communities in Edmonton, I express my appreciation on behalf of all my community members to your thoughtful approach and unbiased view. It is sad to see several media agencies associating Islam with violence and attributing every wrongdoing committed by a Muslim to the teachings of the religion itself. Many people are unaware of the teachings of Islam which include respecting everyone’s rights and beliefs and loving for others what one loves for her/himself. These values and the compassionate character of the Prophet Muhammad are attracting millions to Islam, many of whom are women, making it the fastest growing religion in the World today.

Ignorance is the human beings worst enemy! I hope people would start reading about Islam to learn what a great religion it is. Let us start working together, united as one nation for the betterment of our society. This can happen by respecting each other’s beliefs and learning about one another, so that we avoid false accusations and stereotypes. Your article is a great step in this direction. Thank you!

Imam Dr. Usama Al-Atar
Usama Al-Atar, Ph.D.


  1. Ken says:

    Excellent work!

  2. Sean says:

    seriously, very, very well done Warren.

  3. Ken says:

    Yes this is off-topic and feel free to disapprove the comment, but I’d love to hear the WK take on the goings-on in Mount Royal.

  4. Jules Aime says:

    You are operating with an artificially narrow conception of “religion” and, consequently, of what “religious sanction” might mean. Do you really think that “it isn’t in the Koran” is proof that there “there isn’t any religious sanction for it”?

    If, to pick a hypothetical example , there was a weird subset of Catholics who believed that all men had to wear pointy yellow hats we would have to trouble seeing that they saw their ideas as having religious sanction even though neither the Bible nor the catechism says any such thing.

    • Jon Powers says:

      Exactly. Simply stating that if something does not appear written in the Koran, then it has nothing to do with the religion is an incredibly naive statement. You cannot find a reference to Christmas Trees or Santa Claus in the bible, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the Christian tradition.

      • sharonapple88 says:

        Christmas Trees, Santa Claus…. they’re big over in Japan even the majority of people aren’t Christian.

        And both might be considered pagan traditions grafted onto Christianity. Odin might be the forerunner of Santa Claus. Christmas Trees are possibly condemned in the Bible.

        But you can take away Christmas Trees and Santa Claus and still be Christian. I don’t consider either to be integral to my religion.

      • TheSilentObserver says:

        Christmas Trees and Santa Claus have their roots in Pre-Christian Nordic Paganism, which have since been co-opted through the centuries as symbols of the Christian holiday Christmas. December 25 had been celebrated as the Roman festival Saturnalia before being associated with the birth of Jesus. The Bible gives next to no hints when Jesus was actually born.

        • TheSilentObserver says:

          As well, Christmas traditions and iconography can often be radically different in many non-western Christian cultures, even if they celebrate it in Late December-Early January

      • Lawrence Stuart says:

        Christmas trees and Santa Claus may have become part of the Christian tradition, but they are not functions of fundamental Christian principles and teachings. They are the products of history (the rise of a consumer society, in this case).

        There is a widespread assumption (see the comments to Kinsella’s Sun column) that there is something in the basic principles and teachings of Islam that make it prone to “honour killings.” This is not true. It seems far more likely to me that the practice of “honour killings” is connected to the persistence of a certain kind of patriarchal authority. I would contend that Islam has become, in some places, a buttress to that kind of authority. However, there is nothing about Islam itself which makes it more prone to support this kind of archaic patriarchy than any other religion. If one wishes to understand, and eliminate, the practice of ‘honour killings,’ one needs to examine history rather than indulge in spurious theological disputes.

  5. smelter rat says:

    Can we assume you’d like all Muslims to go back to where they came from?

    • Pat says:

      I want a list of the Imams you say preach such stuff. Give me names. Give me instances. Or stop with this bullshit, Gord. Arguments based on speculation are worthless. You are attempting to degrade a great religion by suggesting that “there are lots of imams who preach such stuff” without actually providing proof. What if I told you that there are lots of christian pastors and ministers who preach very similar stuff. I recall a number of instances in the southern USA, but you don’t see me deriding a whole religion.

    • Philip says:

      Smelter rat:
      Just looking at the title of Warren’s post you knew Mr. Tull would comment. Absolutely Pavlovian response.

  6. Rick Thomson says:

    Also the birth place of Islam, Saudi Arabia.

    I know it’s early but Merry Christmas.

  7. Jim says:

    And one would be just as wrong to make the assumption that because a subset of catholicism decided that all men must wear pointy yellow hats that ALL catholics follow that customary practice.

    Despite popular belief religions are not monoliths.

  8. Dan says:

    Let’s see you say something that isn’t borderline racist, homophobic, or just plain ignorant.

  9. jaded says:

    Really. Read today that a church in Kentucky has just recently banned interracial couples from attending. So to use your reasoning, “just because it isn’t in the Bible, doesn’t mean there isn’t religious sanction for it”.

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