In “The deadly face of Muslim extremism” in the National Post, Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan, the courageous Canadian Muslim reformers about whom I wrote here, call for the searching self-examination that Muslim leaders are so far evading in the wake of the murder of Aqsa Parvez:
…If convicted, Aqsa’s father and brother must be handed the strictest penalty available under the law. As for the imams and clergy of Canada’s mosques, who constantly berate young women for not wearing the hijab or snub them for “violating Islam,” they need to reflect on the consequences of their sermons.
Consider, as an example, the Montreal mosque that recently posted on its Web site a warning to the effect that if young girls took off their hijab, they could end up getting raped and having “illegitimate children.” Other proffered risks included “Stresses, insecurity and suspicion in the minds of husbands” and “instigating young people to deviate towards the path of lust.”
As if the threat of rape and the fear of illegitimate children were not enough, these pre-teen girls were told that if they took off their hijab, they would cease to be Muslims: “By removing your hijab, you have destroyed your faith. Islam means submission to Allah in all our actions.” Little wonder then, that Canadian girls walk away from sports tournaments rather than remove their hijabs.
Muslims need to stand up to this sort of emotional and religious blackmail by imams who spread the competing agendas of Saudi Arabia and Iran into Canada. Young Aqsa Pervez’s death cannot be reversed. But in her memory, we can at least challenge those whose message leads to rage and madness.