Over 30 American imams signed a fatwa Saturday condemning honor killings, after a Canada court convicted Afghan immigrants for murdering four female relatives accused of damaging the family's reputation.

"There is no justification for honor killings, domestic violence and misogyny in Islam," according to the religious order issued by the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) and signed by 34 imams from Canada and the United States.

Such violence, including spousal abuse and child abuse in all forms, is "forbidden," it said. "The relationship between the husband and wife is based upon mutual love and kindness."

Imam Syed Soharwardy, the ISCC's founder, said the group put out the fatwa "because of the Shafia trial, because it has been a large focus (for) the Islamic community and people said a lot of things," adding that imams wanted to clear up "some misunderstandings about Islam" by non Muslims.

Last week a court in Kingston, Ontario found businessman Mohammad Shafia, 58, his 42-year-old wife Tooba Yahya and their 21-year-old son Hamed guilty of first degree murder and sentenced them to 25 years in prison.

In what the judge called "heinous" crimes and the indictment described as "honor killings," the defendants were found guilty of the deaths of the couple's three daughters and Shafia's first wife in his polygamous marriage.

"We are not criminals. We are not murderers," Mohammad Shafia had told the court. "This is unjust."

The bodies of the victims were found in a car submerged in a canal lock near Kingston in June 2009. The defendants argued the deaths were an accident.

Canada has seen 13 such killings -- which are more common in the Middle East and South Asia -- since 2002, Amin Muhammed, a psychiatry professor at Memorial University in Saint John's, Newfoundland, said.

Source: AFP American Edition

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