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Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism

30 octobre 2006

par The Canadian Press

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

TORONTO - Farzana Hassan knows the very sight of her unveiled face angers the men who despise her outspoken views.

Last week, the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress learned how deep the divisions might be.

On the day after Ramadan, she and her family stopped their Eid celebrations when eggs smashed against her front door.
Hassan says she thinks she was targeted in the incident, which is being investigated by Peel Region police.

Similar incidents involving both head scarves and veils have been reported in Europe.

In Germany, Turkish-born legislator Ekin Deligoz is now under police protection after receiving death threats following her comments opposing the wearing of head scarves.

Deligoz was recently quoted in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper as arguing that "the head scarf is a symbol of women’s oppression" and an obstacle to integration.
The country’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble defended the right of Deligoz to express her opinion. It is "absolutely legitimate that a woman who is Muslim herself ... makes this appeal."

In Britain, the head scarf issue recently erupted in controversy when former Labour party foreign secretary Jack Straw admitted that he asked women to remove their veils before coming to see him in his office.

In Toronto, Hassan has been confronted, both online and in the ethnic media, for her views against the veil.
She first spoke out a couple of weeks ago against a British teaching assistant who defied her school’s orders to uncover her face in class.

"There is nothing specified in the Qur’an that says you need to cover your face," Hassan said Monday. "The veil is a tradition, a tool of oppression created by men."
That interpretation of the Qur’an angers many conservatives in Toronto’s Muslim community. Hassan is criticized for ignoring not just scripture, but centuries of Islamic tradition.

M.D. Khalid, a director of the Islamic Society of North America (Canada), says a woman should cover her face to avoid the unwanted attention of men for whom women are objects of desire.

"I think if a woman is so pretty that she would attract attention to her, then she should cover her face."
Only beautiful women ?

"Very attractive women. It’s essentially trying to avoid any bad feelings from men," said Khalid, who added that he regretted that Hassan’s house had been attacked.
Hassan said she thinks this view will further isolate women.

"Young women, especially those coming from another country, look for their identity somewhere," said Hassan who moved to Canada from Pakistan in the early ’80s.
"Islam gives them that identity - conservative Islam wants to segregate them and cover them. Are women that weak ?" asked Hassan.

"Does this allow any room for young women to understand themselves as intelligent, artistic, creative people ?

"My position is not the position of the MCC, but I am opposed to the covering of the face," she said.

Source :

The Gazette, October 31, 2006, published by The Canadian Press.

© The Canadian Press

Online, November 5, 2006.

The Canadian Press


Read : the interview with Farzana Hassan.

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