NEWS

Labour minister Naqvi denies endorsing controversial book

03/12/2013 01:29 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT
Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi has denied he endorsed a book on Islam that says it's acceptable for men to physically punish their wives, even though he wrote a letter of support to the author.

The MPP for Ottawa Centre acknowledged that he wrote the letter, but has not read the book.

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

Naqvi, who is the Liberal party’s former presdient, said he also didn't authorize the use of his name or comments in the "reviews" section of the book entitled Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond.

But a report in a Toronto newspaper said the author, Suhail Kapoor, was granted permission to reprint the letter in his book.

One section of the book says men can "lightly" strike their wives if she shows "serious moral misconduct."

Naqvi said he received a letter from Kapoor in 2009 about the book.

"I responded, as I do to all letters received at my community office, acknowledging his efforts on this project, which were ostensibly to promote values of tolerance, understanding and respect," he added.

But Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said Naqvi's statement isn't enough.

"I think it's very disturbing that any member of the assembly, let alone a cabinet minister, would endorse this kind of garbage," he said. "I think that Premier [Kathleen] Wynne needs to call her labour minister on to the carpet to rescind his endorsement of the book and to apologize."

In his statement, Naqvi said he's worked in the legislature to end violence against women.

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