Tarek Fatah on the Present Islamic Condition

Published: June 20th 2010
in News » Local

Tarek Fatah on the Michael Coren Show
Pic: CTS

Not everyone is willing to accept what Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, has to say regarding Islam.


This is, perhaps, because he has adopted a more modern approach to the religion – whereby Muslim texts need not be the final word regarding our existence on the planet. They were, after all, written thousands of years ago.


“It would mean that all the Hadith literature (writings on the Quran) is wrong,” Fatah told Shalom Life’s Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, when asked why his views are so contentious. “It opens a can of worms, because unlike Judaism or Christianity, where people have come to reconcile that some texts no longer apply today and we have to live our lives accordingly, in the Muslim world this area is not explored.”


Fatah’s words are generally accepted by almost every academic at a university level, but very few are willing to stand up to the imams (Muslim religious heads) and rulers, for fear of challenging ancient beliefs.


For example, in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, and Afghanistan, very young girls are still given away in marriage. “If there is, what I call, reformation in Islam,” said Fatah, “what we are asking is that this should be outlawed. Young women should not be allowed to get married until they reach the age of 18. And this is basically an internal clash within the Islamic religion.”


Another example: There has been some controversy regarding the Niqab (a garment worn by religious Muslim women, revealing only their eyes) in Canada, which has many wondering whether it should be considered a symbol of free choice, or one of oppression.


The 2007 case of Aqsa Parvez, strangled to death by her father and brother at the age of 16 for not donning a hijab (similar to a niqab, revealing slightly more of the woman’s face), is called to mind, especially since the two men have recently been sentenced to life in prison for what they call an honour killing. An honour killing is the murder of a female family member who is said to have brought shame upon her family, in this case, for not wearing her religious head garment.


Sadly, Parvez’s is not the only honour killing case that Canada has seen, of late. Just days ago, an Afghan mother was arrested in Montreal for stabbing her 19-year-old daughter after she had stayed out all night. The case is being probed as a possible honour killing.


Dr. Amin Muhammad, a psychiatrist at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland, and is currently working on a report for the federal government about honour killings in Canada. He said there have been 13 such cases in the country since 2002.


According to the Muslim Canadian Congress, in all public dealings, and at every level of parliament, the government should not allow any service where the face is covered.


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