One story actively being discussed these days is about a Muslim man in Canada who allegedly killed his daughter for not wearing hijab – or so is the media reporting. Obviously, these reports are also helping the agenda of those who wish to defame Islam and Muslims in general. As expected, this news made it to the headline news of major media networks, once again putting Muslims in a spotlight that they didn’t wish to be in.

For example, in describing the incident, Canada’s National Post writes the following –

“Radical Muslim men consider themselves ultimately responsible for the conduct of the womenfolk. This outlook is rooted in a medieval ethos that treats women as nonpersons……..If their (Muslim women’s) conduct is seen as contravening this austere religious outlook, they are invariably subjected to abuse (by radical Muslim men)”.

Most Muslims know that the incident has nothing to do with Islamic teachings but as it always happens, damage control measures usually have to be kicked in including clarifying any misconceptions that may arise in such cases. Similarly, in this case, Muslim leaders reminded everyone again about the sanctity of human life and the un-Islamic nature of the incident.

Though extreme in nature, such a case and others not as extreme, highlight symptoms of a phenomenon when Islam bears the brunt of the misguided acts of a certain people. In almost all such cases, Islam takes the hit simply because Muslims are the perpetrators of such acts.

This kind of a behavior has roots in ignorance, cultural norms, social issues, and misinterpretation of religious teachings.

It is perfectly understandable and natural for people of a community where they speak the same language while practicing a religion to gradually start confusing cultural practices with religious teachings. But this is where Muslims have to be wary of any practices which go against the spirit of Islamic teachings.

So, there is nothing Islamic or Muslim about denying women the education they seek, hurting anyone innocent, being a vigilante, the many wedding cultural practices prevalent in Muslim countries, Arabic belly dancing, etc. Just because some Muslims do it doesn’t make those practices Islamic.

And finally, while Muslims take great pride in tolerance, kind behavior and good heartedness practiced towards everyone, such noble attitudes should never be used to cover up real issues and problems that may exist in certain Muslim households. For example, if a husband or a father happens to be an alcoholic who has a habit of physically abusing his family, the respect and regard for the father or the husband should not in anyway restrict one to seek help to rectify the situation. Seeking help should start by involving responsible close relatives and then slowly and gradually expanding outwards depending on the criticality of the situation.

Some media reports are also suggesting that the reason for the girl to have lost her life could have been due to domestic violence and may not have anything to do with her wearing hijab.

Whatever the truth behind the story, it’s a heart wrenching way to remind us for the need to reflect and think about these issues before communities and families experience such a grave loss.

Do you know of any cases where cultural norms or social issues are confused as being Islamic? Share your thoughts by going to the end of the page.