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Open Letter to Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson about Hijab Day in Ottawa…and why it’s insane

By Shabnam Assadollahi


I am someone who believes in information and education. What reasonable person could possibly object to an event which promotes “education, acceptance and tolerance”? Unless, of course, the “education” was disinformation; the “acceptance” was acceptance of a superordinate (according to Islamists) legal system (i.e. Sharia Law) that is contrary to our democratic values and human rights; the “tolerance” was tolerance of an extremist ideology that condones honour killings, FGM and treatment of women that is incompatible with Canadian values.

I would ask that you not discount me as a “racist” or an “Islamophobe”. I am a well-educated, patriotic Canadian, who is a strong proponent of diversity and freedom of religion. I am not anti-Muslim, but I do have serious concerns about extremist Islamic ideology that runs counter to the Canadian values I hold dear. I have known and liked many Muslims, who share my Canadian values, and are what could be called secular Muslims. They or their parents may have immigrated here to escape Sharia Law and to embrace Canadian values. (Unfortunately, not all Muslims who immigrate here do so for those reasons.)

One of the ways in which Islam differs from other religions is that, in addition to the individual, religious component, it also has a political component and a judicial component. As a politician, you are likely to have listened to presentations by political groups (or individuals representing those political groups), whose goal it is to present extremist Islamic ideology in a favourable light, for example, by saying that the hijab is just a sign of “modesty” and that it is worn voluntarily by Muslim women. (What Canadian could be against freedom of choice?)

Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, the hijab is a symbol of adherence to an extremist Islamic ideology and in Muslim countries women who wear it do not do so freely. I am attaching a few links for you to videos, articles, etc., which will present you with an alternate view to that which you have likely been presented by members of activist organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Muslim Students Associations, and many more. I would ask you to watch these videos – none of them are in any way “racist”. They are thoughtful, educational pieces intended to make people think.

First of all, the idea that the hijab or the niqab are in any way “traditional” Muslim dress is absolute hogwash! They are relatively recent adoptions which are the result of Saudi Arabia having exported its extremist, Wahabbist/Salafist brand of Islam around the world. Along with the clothing come the extremist ideas!

Second, I am attaching a video of a speech by the so-called “Pope” of Sunni Islam (the most populous school of Islam and the school to which Saudi Wahabbism and Salafism belong) in which he argues for the wearing of the hijab. You will note that not once does he mention “modesty” as a reason to wear the hijab, but the reasons that he does give are not in keeping with integration into Canadian society. I am also attaching a video by Bill Warner, Ph.D., entitled “The Political Side of Hijabs“, which I hope you will find interesting and enlightening.

Third, and related to whether or not the wearing of the hijab is voluntary for all Muslim women, even in Canada, I ask you to remember the unfortunate cases of Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto teen who was strangled by her father and/or brother for not wearing the hijab. You


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