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A New Wave of Islamic Femme-Fundamentalism hits Canada

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  • Tarek Fatah
    Friends, Farzana Hassan is a Toronto-based free lance writer. In this article she exposes the latest wave of islamic fundamentalism to hit Canada. This time it
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2005

      Farzana Hassan is a Toronto-based free lance writer. In this article she
      exposes the latest wave of islamic fundamentalism to hit Canada. This time
      it is not the Madrassah trained Mullahs, but a western educated woman who no
      man has ever seen.

      Farhat Hashmi, the multi-millionaire, well heeled defender if the Taliban
      and the Saudi-Iranian style oppression, has started her network among the
      upper middle class Pakistani-Canadian women.

      Farzana Hassan says, this new immigrant from Pakistan has begun the
      "establishment of a mini Saudi Arabia right here in Toronto is well under

      Read and reflect.

      Tarek Fatah
      A New Wave of Fundamentalism hits Canada

      By Farzana Hassan

      As if the conservative push to uphold faith-based arbitration in Ontario was
      not enough of a blow to progress in Canada, another version of Muslim
      fundamentalism has recently begun to consolidate its foothold on Canadian
      soil, particularly in the greater Toronto area.

      Although Dr. Farhat Hashmi is a well-known theologian with a doctorate from
      the University of Glasgow, she epitomizes hard-core, doctrinaire orthodoxy--
      a world view which appears to be gaining strength as a result of ambitious
      funding from certain quasi-governmental organizations in Saudi Arabia and

      Farhat Hashmi has come to wield tremendous influence on the hearts, minds
      and souls of South Asian Muslim women, some of whom come from avowedly
      secular backgrounds. The newest Canadian venture of Hashmi's Al-Huda
      foundation involves the launch of a one year diploma program, aimed at
      producing female Muslim role models as paragons of virtue and piety in every

      Needless to say, this translates into utter subservience, bigotry and
      ignorance. Those trapped within such a programmed, brainwashed mentality
      refuse to recognize oppression to begin with, and if perchance they do, they
      justify it, citing examples of “inherent” gender differences and “male
      superiority”. Farhat Hasmi is reported to have said that Muslim women should
      let their husbands marry a second time so "other sisters can also benefit".
      Such pronouncements, zealously endorsed by Al Huda graduates, often find
      expression in the form of reprimands and sermons to less enlightened
      sisters. As a moral obligation, these pious women assume upon themselves the
      responsibility to point out differences between sin and piety, sunnah or
      bid'aa, haram or halal.

      This list of dos and dont's is expansive to say the least, but the
      world-view it generates is as narrow as the confines of the Burqa or
      Abaa'ya, which according to Hashmi, must be worn as a commandment from God
      because Muslim women are "required to cover all beauty under the teachings
      of Islam".

      The scenario on the domestic front is entirely different, because such
      ephemeral female authority must of necessity be surrendered to the "Divinely
      ordained" authority of the husband. A relationship that ought to be built
      on love, trust, and mutual respect, is now reduced to a mere master-slave
      relationship, where even greeting a non-mahram could warrant disciplinary
      action from the husband.

      Morality is thus hurled at women from all directions. And while such
      selective morality seeks to diminish the very existence of women by
      smothering their innocent human urges, it self-righteously allows
      despicable practices such as "KaroKari", or crimes such as honor killings
      or gang rapes. Such androcentric morality may even justify the high
      incidence of these crimes. Why would a woman dress in such a provocative
      manner and incite sexual desire in males, some would argue?

      Warped as this logic is, it is being condoned in order to preserve the
      status co. Although Dr. Hashmi may sympathize with victims of
      aforementioned atrocities, she nonetheless endorses the kind of servitude in
      women that has for centuries, contributed to their marginalization in
      society. Recently, I had occasion to attend one of her discourses on the
      role of women in Islam.

      An issue raised during the session involved the look after of the wife's
      destitute parents, although the husband was not amenable to the idea. Hashmi
      promptly quoted verse 4: 34 of the Qur'an, arguing that the wife should
      comply to her husband's wishes no matter what, as he was her Divinely
      appointed "imam". Never mind the flagrant violation of the broader ethical,
      moral and social principles, or the responsibility towards parents, which
      the Qur'an enjoins upon men and women alike.

      Whether Dr Hashmi's myopic world-view will gain wider acceptance among the
      Canadian Muslim community is yet to be seen. What is worrisome however is
      that an increasing number of women are flocking towards this well-known,
      politically-funded, well-organized theologian, as they are not able to
      critique her rationale due to their own lack of knowledge and understanding.

      Is this a failure of the moderates and liberals among us? Perhaps.
      Meanwhile, the establishment of a mini Saudi Arabia right here in Toronto is
      well under way.
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