Store sold out of controversial Muslim book | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun

Islamic bookstore Toronto, controversial book, how to beat your wife

Store sold out of controversial Muslim book | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun


This might currently be making news headlines around the world but it’s nothing new. When I first converted to Islam ten years ago I visited various Islamic bookshops, in cities up and down the UK, and found books like this in all of them.

As an enthusiastic new convert, I felt a little like I was playing catch-up with all those who had been born into the religion, and read as much as I could to broaden my knowledge. Two things quickly became clear:

  1. Not all muslims have an accurate knowledge of their religion. They rely heavily on sources of information like these bookshops, the kuthbahs (sermons) of imams and various cable TV channels for information. Some have no background knowledge of Islam whatsoever, particularly if they have come from impoverished or illiterate families. Others will have read the entire Qur’an, but only in Arabic, and so have no knowledge of its actual wording.
  2. Much of the content of these books has no basis in religion, originating instead from cultural differences or the interpretations of different sects and Islamist ideological groups – Wahhabi, Deobandi, Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood are just a few – trying to spread their particular “brand” of Islam.

This kind of mis-information and propaganda is rife in the muslim world. If you’ve ever tried to improve your own understanding of what muslims are all about and ended up totally confused, you’re not alone. A large part of the muslim community itself is in exactly the same position.

I was even warned by a wise muslim friend who taught me Urdu, not to believe what I heard on certain TV channels as it was not Islam. So muslims are aware of the problem. The difficulty lies in finding your way through all the agendas.

Belief is a personal thing and the answers differ from person to person. In my ten years, I’ve come to realise there are no easy answers, no set of instructions that can be applied to all of us and our situations. The Qur’an gives us a framework to work with – if we follow the reasoning behind the words, and it fits with our moral principles, then we can’t be far wrong. Islam encourages people to think for themselves. We have to learn to spot the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

There is nothing in the book referred to in the link above that has anything in common with the qualities of tolerance, compassion, love and respect for others that the Qur’an requests of those who call themselves Muslim.



Raheel Raza on 50 ways to beat your lover…


Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


    1. I always spoke to K about any of the things that made me feel uncomfortable, so I knew from his responses what his views were. I became a muslim some time before we married so I was able to suss him out on all the tricky stuff before I took the plunge! I have since learned the South Asian way of shaming those who seek to humiliate you, by forcing them to face their own shortcomings – after all, none of us is perfect 😉

        1. Lol! Well someone’s curiosity got the better of them! You’re nothing if not direct! Patience Piglet, I’ll get around to telling that tale soon 😉

          1. 🙂 Sorry I am direct only because I am genuinely curious as the Muslim religion is so different. Unfortunatley, it does carry bad press due to its attitude towards women (as in the video). I would like it on record though I am not opposed to the Muslim religion just the treatment of women and as a woman their human rights do concern me – especially those who are stoned to death.

            I think I once told you I am fascinated by other races and religions and it is good to have an honest open debate. We may not all agree at the end of it, but if we open our minds we should at least be a brain cell wiser :). Ignorance is created on many issues due to the PC brigade back in the UK and it drives me crazy when there is so much I would like to know and understand.

            I sense this will make an interesting post…?

            Well better get some beauty sleep I think it’s 2am here in Portugal!

          2. Actually, Islam shares many similarities with the Christian and Jewish faiths. All three are known as “People of the Book” as they are all descended from Abraham, who was descended from Noah. What probably strikes you as different are the cultural aspects which often get confused with the religious ones.
            I am with you on the issue of women’s rights. One of the things that appealed to me about Islam was it’s support of women. It stated women had a right to inheritance, instead of being passed over in favour of the next male. It called for an end to female infanticide and it specified a woman’s right to earn and keep her own money. It was the forerunner of womens rights centuries before the Suffrage Movement in the 1900’s. Throughout the ages, Islam has been twisted and manipulated by those in power to bolster and secure their position, often to the detriment of women.
            I agree with you, political correctness has been directly responsible for the breakdown in dialogue between people of different backgrounds and faiths and nowhere more so than in the world’s relationship with muslims. Extremists and the media have presented a view of muslims to the world that cannot easily be corrected thanks to the filter of PC and the widespread ignorance of cultural differences. It’s always easier to condemn than attempt to understand.
            If ever you have a question, you have my email address; contact me and I will be happy to do my best to give you an accurate answer. I would advocate internet research but there is so much misinformation out there – two books I can recommend are:

            Islam Rediscovered:Discovering Islam from it’s original sources by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, and

            Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, edited by Mai Yamani and published by Ithaca Press

  1. If Islam encourages Muslims to think for themselves, why do so few Muslims think for themselves? And why are they persecuted when they think for themselves? The romanticisation of Islam is a deception. It was sold to you like that in order to get you to convert. You believe in love, compassion and tolerance because you are a humanist, but that is not what Islam is about. You were deceived. That is the methodology of da’wah. It is dishonest. I know because I am a former ‘revert’ who took years to see and admit the truth. This whole ‘people of the book’ thing is a ruse too to try and place Islam in a continuity with Judaism and Christianity, not in a friendly way, but because Islam wants to usurp and supplant them. And don’t even get me started on the hardwired bigotry and hatred for the ‘kaffir’, and the hell that befalls anyone who tries to leave Islam or dissent from it and criticise it. Sorry if this sounds harsh but I cannot hold my tongue any longer. The horrifying thing is, Islam really is as bad as this, and the impulse to liberalise within is snuffed out to prevent ‘bi’dah’ or ‘innovation’. Look into your heart and tell me this isn’t true? The thought that Islam spreads is deeply distressing to me, especially the contortions that ‘reverts; go through to try and make it accord with basic humanity when they realise the truth about it.

    1. Thankyou Suzy for taking the time to post such a heartfelt reply. I can’t comment on your subjective experience, but I have come into contact with people who hold varying degrees of radical Islamist opinion too. On my personal journey I went through a period of feeling disillusioned and was made to feel “not a good enough muslim”, someone close to me actually cited this as a reason for my suffering a miscarriage. I felt as though I was always failing, there was always someone more devout than me, always more prayers I could be doing. There were many times when my anger and hurt caused by another person made me resent the religion I had chosen. But it was the people at fault, not the religion. I realised that I was allowing myself to take part in some kind of external competition, constantly measuring myself by the standards of others. That wasn’t what had attracted me to Islam. It’s core values (love, compassion, tolerance) resonated with beliefs deep within me. I didn’t need to strive for anything, it was already there; I just had to listen to it. I stopped trying to “fit” into Islam, like too-small clothes and realised it was the skin I was in. Things became easier then. I began to “own” my religion.

      The answer to your first two questions is Ignorance. Lack of knowledge/education, prejudice and a herd mentality. no more no less, and all found across the span of humanity, not exclusively in muslims. No-one sold Islam to me – my curiosity led my research. I was lucky that I initially found non-radicalized reading material and spoke to moderate muslims who welcomed my questions but never sought to persuade or cajole me into joining their religion. Many south asians in the UK have experienced racism and are genuinely moved when a westerner displays an un-biased interest in their culture.

      It’s radical islam that seeks to “usurp and supplant”, that encourages division in it’s “them and us” stance. It has nothing to do with the silent, moderate majority. I see things differently from you. Those bigots and bullies are not muslims. I don’t fear Islam, I fear the irreparable damage being done in it’s name.

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