Farzana[C1] Hassan renders a bold depiction of the challenges faced by Muslims in Western society and by Westerners as they grapple with the spectre of Islamism. Hassan’s book is her impressive account as a Muslim Reformer that is bound to offend many of her fellow Muslims. In it, she unapologetically upholds the tenets of Western democracy in the face of a foreign ideology seeping into its borders and threatening its very roots.
Unveiled insists that modern peace loving Muslims must support women’s rights, oppose misogyny, forcefully rebuke the notion of violent Jihad, and follow a peaceful path instead of what she calls an eye for an eye retributive justice, characteristic of a tribal system belonging to a primitive era.
She condemns the anti-western narrative founded upon an irrational anger which has become engrained in Muslims as a “new kind of religion” she states, where the U.S. in particular has become the scapegoat and is promoted as the aggressor against Muslims and presented as the country of greed and Muslim oppression which she points out is contrary to historic facts often ignored, even by some Western media.
Hassan even delves into the precarious subject of Israel and the Palestinians. While stating her sympathy for the Palestinian cause, she emphatically supports Israel’s right to exist, acknowledges the Jewish historic links to Palestine and Israel’s right to defend its tiny state from surrounding enemies and suicide bombers.
Hassan upholds free speech while bravely insisting that no faith should be exempt from scrutiny and rejection, noting that in the age of the internet there is noteworthy movement happening in the Islamic world. She explains that this movement is two-fold: toward orthodox Islam and away from Islam. In the latter case many Muslims are questioning their faith; some have secretly renounced it to become ‘cultural Muslims’ who still celebrate Eid and other festivities with their families.
Hassan points out a fear among Westerners of the sharp rise in Muslim population as a demographic shift takes place. She pacifies that fear by specifying that it was a group of Muslim women that vehemently campaigned against Shariah law in Canada. Yet she addresses a disturbing portrait of Islam in Canada and how multiculturalism allows subcultures to thrive within our institutions including schools. She warns about the influx of Muslim immigrants from Conservative Muslim backgrounds and the dangers of recognized existing Muslim organizations that promote an Islamist agenda and use cultural and heritage events to do so.
Unveiled is the culmination of years of personal struggle for Hassan in her activism and quest to oppose fundamentalism. She has tread on territory that few of her fellow Muslims are willing to, especially women, and thus has become alienated by many of whom have been indoctrinated to believe that challenging the faith and/or the Koran is deserving of anything along the spectrum of ostracization to death. For this her valour is to be commended and followed as a model in honor of her quest for Islamic reform. Few people are willing to pay the price she has as she challenges fellow Muslims to think in terms of a modernized Islam and to question it where necessary.

Send questions or comments to Farzana Hassan