Islamic bookstore sparks controversy

TORONTO — Shamim Ahmad has run his Islamic bookstore for 20 years in the popular East York neighbourhood of Little India. A green and white sign advertises Islamic books and souvenirs.

This quiet store is the site of a Canada-wide uproar because it sold a copy of “A gift for the Muslim couple.” The book was written by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, an Islamic scholar from the late 19th century who passed away in 1943.

“I didn’t read the book, I only bought because of the title,” Ahmad said. “It’s a hundred-year-old book and I don’t know what was inside.”

While visiting India, he bought the book because of the author’s reputation as a respected Islamic scholar. A customer then bought the book, took it to Newstalk 1010 from where the contents went viral for the allegedly shocking language against women.

Ahmad now finds himself harassed on a daily basis. He even gets calls from all over the world asking about the book. “It’s impossible to read each and every book,” he said.

Global Toronto, 27 March 2012

The video is worth watching too. Yusuf Badat of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto quotes from an even more extreme passage in the Book of Deuteronomy and points out that readers don’t implement such punishments just because they appear in historical texts – “it’s not going to apply in today’s time”.

But why did Global Toronto have to ruin a reasonable and balanced report by interviewing Tarek Fatah?

Cf. “Book tells Muslim men how to beat and control their wives”,Toronto Sun, 23 March 2012

And “‘Pull her by the ear, beat her by hand or stick’: How the Islamic guide to a happy marriage advises husbands to treat their wives”, Daily Mail, 24 March 2012