On several radio shows this week I’ve been asked whether I really think it will do any good to discuss the actions of Muhammad that jihadists use to justify violence. Doesn’t that alienate moderate Muslims? I have responded that actually no Islamic reform can possibly take place without an acknowledgment that there are elements of the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad that need searching reevaluation: how can reformers succeed if no one admits that anything needs any reforming?
At the same time, however, I have pointed out for years now that Islamic reformers are targeted as apostates by jihadists, and often physically threatened. Farzana Hassan Shahid is suffering from the same treatment as that suffered by former MCC leader Tarek Fatah. “Muslim leader fears backlash over Liberal views,” by Radhika Panjwani in the Mississauga News:
The new president of the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) says she is feeling the wrath of Islamic fundamentalists because of her stance on such issues as terrorism, homosexuality and religious law.
Now, Mississauga’s Farzana Hassan Shahid is calling on Queen’s Park to intervene. She wants Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant to incorporate the kind of threats made by various radical groups against her and other members of the MCC into the framework of existing hate crime laws.
“There is an underlying fear all the time…that uneasy feeling is part of my daily life,” Hassan Shahid told The News. “I have been declared an apostate (a person who forsakes their religion) twice, for opposing the Sharia (a form of Islamic law). We have asked Michael Bryant to include or acknowledge accusation of blasphemy and apostasy into the existing hate laws so the public and legal frame work is sensitized to this issue.”
Hassan Shahid said she and other members of her organization receive threatening e-mails and are subjected to other acts of hatred from radical Muslim groups. One strongly worded hate-mail accused her of being the, “younger sister of Satan.”
More recently, Hassan Shahid has been in the eye of the storm for her organization’s stance on homosexuality. Her husband was questioned by some congregation members at a local mosque recently and ordered to, “control his wife.”
“I got a lot of negative e-mails from the Muslim community, questioning my stand on gay and lesbian issues,” she said. “I had a hard time explaining to them that I am not supporting homosexuals, but supporting equal rights for them.”