A devout Muslim woman was attacked and stabbed to death, allegedly by her husband, after their 17-year-old daughter announced she was embracing Christianity, according to police and news reports.
Officials say Dr. Muhammad Hussain, 48, remained in critical condition in the Gold Coast Hospital with knife wounds, under police guard, as authorities investigated the death from stabbing injuries of his wife, Yasmine, 41.
According to Assist News Service, neighbors of the Australian family reported "blood curdling" and "terrifying" screams, along with cries of "Help me, help me, they`re trying to kill me," on Monday night. Shortly after, the report said, Kaihana Hussain fled from the family`s apartment, dressed in underwear because her clothes had been torn off, with blood splattered over her scratched and cut body.
Police found the mother inside the apartment, dead, and the father seriously hurt. It was not immediately clear how the father was also stabbed.
"From what we understand the daughter decided to tell her father of her radical plan to convert to Christianity which, in the eyes of most Muslims, is totally unacceptable and to be honest, sadly, many would react as he has done," a Muslim source told "The Gold Coast Bulletin."
"It is the Islamic way that if a son or daughter does or plans to do something that is unacceptable or wrong for a Muslim then it is the mother who is automatically at fault and will bear the brunt of the blame," the source said.
The mother and daughter apparently had arrived in the popular East Australia region only a few days earlier. The doctor apparently had been there for several weeks, establishing his medical practice.
Elizabeth Kendal, of the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, told ASSIST that the tragedy highlights "the great and urgent need for rigorous, open debate on what Western religious liberty means for Muslim immigrants, and what Islam`s rejection of apostasy means for Christians in terms of convert care."
Reports said Hussain finished his medical training in Bangladesh in 1982 and in 2001 finished a masters in family medicine program in Australia. The family settled earlier in Adelaide, where the daughter attended a local nondenominational Christian school.
Police indicated the religious dispute was being reviewed, but they couldn`t confirm the details. Neighbors, however, supported that account.
Neighbor Caitlin Dalton told The Australian that many people heard the screams as the girl fled the luxury apartment.
She told the neighbors she had wanted to "convert from the Islam religion ... and obviously her father didn`t handle it very well," Dalton said.
A police detective-inspector said the investigation would determine if charges will be filed.
"This matter may end up in a criminal trial or may end up in a coroner`s court. Before we know the full facts, I`m not willing to speculate," he said.
Officials at Pembroke school in Adelaide, where the teen had attended, said the school is nondenominational and students are encouraged "to seek their own spiritual journeys."
Students are not required to participate in Christian services, officials said.
Pembroke principal Malcolm Lamb released a statement explaining the school`s practice.
"In the case of Islamic students the school is in principle and in practice very supportive of students observing religious customs, such as wearing the Hijab â€“ this has happened in the past, observing fasting and the need for prayer rooms," Lamb said.
The Quran does instruct the faithful to kill those who leave the faith but Muslim leaders have said that is not to be taken literally.