Politics
SHOCK: Book condones men physically punishing their wives - Ontario Lib minister writes support letter for controversial Islamic book

Author Suhail Kapoor, with his book Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond March 11, 2013. It's the source of some controversy as the book contains a letter of congratulations from Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi and advocates corporal punishment in the case of marital disagreements.

Credits: Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI

SHAWN JEFFORDS | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO -- A letter of support from Ontario's labour minister appears in the latest edition of a book on Islam which condones men physically punishing their wives.

The letter from Liberal Yasir Naqvi appears in the reviews section of Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond.

The book says it is within the tenants of Islam to "lightly" strike your spouse if she exhibits "serious moral misconduct."

Naqvi congratulates author Suhail Kapoor on the release of the new edition.

"I admire your drive to reach out to the public and promote values of tolerance, understanding and respect," Naqvi said in the letter.

Kapoor told QMI Agency he wrote Naqvi asking for a review of his book. When he received a response to his request more than two years ago, he asked permission to reprint it and said it was granted by the Ottawa-Centre MPP's office.

But Naqvi said Monday he hasn't read the book and didn't authorize use of his response.

Naqvi said he has never read Kapoor's work and has brought forward several private member's bills to help victims of domestic violence.

"I strongly condemn violence against women," Naqvi said in a statement to QMI Agency. "I believe that abuse of any kind is unacceptable and I do not share the views expressed in this book."

In a chapter, entitled "Does Islam Allow Wife Beating?" Kapoor outlines the circumstances under which it is appropriate for a man to punish his wife using "light" slaps on the wrist with a small wooden stick.

"That is part of my faith. That is what the Qur'an says. But we have to understand the context of it."

Kapoor said those measures are a last resort if "lewd" or "disobedient" behaviour persists. It must first be discussed and then, failing a resolution, the husband must remove himself from the marital bed, he said.

If that doesn't work, then "light strikes" are permitted.

"No marks should come from that strike. Nothing on the face, nothing on the body, nothing on the private parts or areas, just on the hands."

Kapoor, who converted to Islam 23 years ago, said he has spent years defending his religion and been abused by many who don't understand the true teachings of his faith.

NDP MPP and women's issues critic Cheri Di Novo said this is an example of why politicians should read the books they "endorse."

"As a United Church minister, there are many comments in the Bible that require understanding the time in which they were written, when women were considered 'property' and had few rights," she said. "One should never mistake them as the word of God."


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