Insidetoronto.com wants to help clear up misconceptions of the Muslim faith.The following information is courtesy of Abdul Hai Patel, Muslim chaplain at the University of Toronto and for York Regional Police, and director of interfaith relations, Canadian Council of Imams.

• Honour killing is forbidden in Islam. If you search the Qu’ran you will not find any reference to honour killings in it.

• Many Muslims don’t understand their own faith properly, which is why there is always debate on what is proper or improper. Before making judgements, Patel encourages people to get information from an authoritative source.

• Many people, even Muslims, misunderstand the Islamic message. Like every other religion, there are different opinions and variations as to the correct way to practice.

• One of the biggest misconceptions is that Muslim women have no rights according to Islam. In fact the opposite is true. Often the lack of rights for women is according to the rules of the individual country, not the tenets of the Qu’ran. As well, the Qu’ran does not say women are second-class citizens. If men feel this way, it’s again cultural, not religious.

• There is no purely Islamic state and no country is ruled purely by Islam. Some places, like Saudi Arabia, choose part of Islam to govern the country, otherwise it’s their own policies. For example, forbidding women to drive is a rule in accordance with the Saudi Arabian government.

• Many Muslims fail to distinguish between cultural practices of their country and religious practices of Islam. For example, forced marriage is cultural because in Islam, women have to give consent before a marriage takes place.

• In Islam, men are expected to provide the dowry to women before they marry, however, if you are in India, for example, their cultural beliefs dictate the women give the dowry to the husband. This is a Hindu practice that has been adapted by Indian-Muslims

• The Qu’ran says Muslim women should wear the coverings; however, it’s still a woman’s choice and is a matter between the individual and God.

• More than half of Canada’s 450,000 Muslims live in the GTA, specifically Scarborough and Mississauga. If half of those are women, only about 30 per cent wear coverings.

• There are many types and styles of coverings that provide different amounts of coverage. This is because Afghanistan, Iran, India and Pakistan, for example, all have their own style

Ref: http://www.insidetoronto.com/Feature/article/39676