Junaid Jahangir
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Dr. Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is inspired by the elder Muslim mystics. With Dr. Hussein Abdul Latif, he has co-authored "Islamic law and Muslim same-sex unions."

Entries by Junaid Jahangir

Support Pakistani Activists On Countering Hateful Narratives

(2) Comments | Posted April 20, 2017 | 11:15 AM

"Then they came for me." ~ Pastor Martin Niemoller

Recently, a young man was brutally lynched by fellow university students in the Pakistani city of Mardan. Some say he was accused of supporting Ahmadis. He had also tweeted for LGBT people. Either way, he...

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Respecting Theological Debate About Muslim Same-Sex Unions

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2017 | 2:02 PM

Co-authored by Dr. Hussein Abdullatif

Recently, Dr. Shabir Ally, president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre in Toronto, obliged us with a very generous and kind review of our book "Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions."

story of lot quran
(Photo: Karam...

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Canadian Muslims Must Confront The Hateful Speakers In Our Midst

(20) Comments | Posted March 24, 2017 | 11:15 AM

Recently, Rabbi Koffler Fogel of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs expressed that combating anti-Muslim hate in Canada should be unanimously endorsed. However, citing the calls for anti-Semitic violence from some Canadian mosque pulpits, he stated that legitimate criticism of aspects of Islam that are...

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Muslim Women Can Marry Outside The Faith

(10) Comments | Posted March 21, 2017 | 2:05 PM

He created for you mates to find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy ~ 30:21

Last month, CBC reported the news of an interfaith couple, Shaaz, a Muslim woman, and Jarred, a Jewish man, who live in Airdrie, Alberta. While they found a...

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5 Ways In Which Muslims Can Affirm Diversity

(7) Comments | Posted March 15, 2017 | 11:57 AM

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) promotes itself as the representative voice for Muslims on campus and usually plans Islam Awareness Week (IAW). The objective behind IAW is to dispel common misconceptions about Muslims in an environment of increasing Islamophobia.

However, representing Muslim voices is a heroic claim as there...

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Hateful Muslim Imams Do Not Speak For Islam

(5) Comments | Posted March 10, 2017 | 12:44 PM

A few weeks ago a video surfaced on YouTube about a Canadian imam who supported the death punishment for apostasy. Such videos, of which there is no dearth, capture the comments of Canadian imams who preach wife beating, condemn gays and support medieval punishments and the...

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M-103 Can Ban Islamophobia, But Only Honest Dialogue Will End It

(19) Comments | Posted February 21, 2017 | 12:03 PM

Recently MP Iqra Khalid received death threats for presenting motion M-103. The motion calls for condemning Islamophobia in the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting. The reaction to her motion and the blockage of a Toronto mosque only corroborate the virulent hatred against Muslims that exists...

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Islam's Diversity Permits Many Acts Beyond Vanilla Sex

(2) Comments | Posted February 15, 2017 | 1:42 PM

There is sadaqa (worship through giving) in sexual intimacy. -- The Prophet

Muslim puritans thump the sex positivity of Islam in their polemics. Paradoxically, they reject sexual conduct beyond coitus and project their personal views as consensus. However, Islam is too diverse and vast for there to be any consensus...

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Why We Need To Emphasize Diversity In Muslim Voices

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2017 | 12:52 PM

Jo Tumhe Mehroom Karey Tum Usay Ata Karo (Shower grace on the one who bereaves you)

The Quebec mosque shooting galvanized Canadian communities who came out in droves for vigils all across Canada. In Edmonton, despite freezing temperatures, hundreds flocked to the Alberta Legislature to comfort the Muslim...

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5 Muslim Scholars On The Permissibility Of Not Wearing The Headscarf

(29) Comments | Posted January 10, 2017 | 12:44 PM

The headscarf worn by Muslim women is often a subject of immense debate in the media. It is donned for various reasons from the personal to the political. It is imposed on many but freely adopted by others.

A piece of clothing that should ideally be an issue of...

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LGBTQ Community Stands By Ahmadi Muslims

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2016 | 11:20 AM

Recently, my Ahmadi former student in Calgary tagged me in a Facebook post. He expressed his frustration at yet another Ahmadi mosque targeted by a frenzied mob in the Pakistani city of Chakwal. He looks up to me as a big brother. Naturally, whenever he feels let down...

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Canadian Communities Must Unite Against Hatred

(3) Comments | Posted December 6, 2016 | 6:36 AM

Recently, Noah Rabbani, a skinny 15-year-old teen of Pakistani origin was brutally assaulted with a baseball bat in Hamilton. He has gone through surgery to repair his cracked skull, jaw and teeth.

This has left some Canadians of Pakistani and South Asian descent to worry about the...

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Ethnic Community Leaders Should Support LGBTQ Youth

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2016 | 1:50 PM

Recently, CBC reported the criticism directed at the Alberta Teacher's Association "Professionals Respecting and supporting Individual Sexual and Gender Minorities" (PRISM) resource for secondary schools.

The resource is meant to help foster inclusivity for all students. However, the argument of accommodating gender and sexual minority students at...

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Toronto Police Chaplain's Sexist Views Don't Define My Islam

(10) Comments | Posted November 3, 2016 | 10:45 AM

Concerns have been recently raised about the Muslim Toronto police chaplain on his personal views about women and marriage. Officer Musleh Khan's viewpoints come across as strongly patriarchal and infantalizing of women. However, he claims that he does not believe women are second-class citizens and that his words have been taken out of context.

Khan is a young officer who seemingly follows a morality shaped by patriarchal values. It is easy to find similar counterparts amongst certain conservative religious communities where women face restrictions and duties of various kinds. As such, instead of trivializing the problem to the viewpoints of one Muslim chaplain, the issue at hand should be one of patriarchy-infused religious morality.

Can we really expect Khan to espouse liberal views if the type of traditional religious education he may have received could instigate him to reject equality? As such, the concern for conservative Muslims should be aimed at the sort of traditional religious education that is being imparted to young Muslims in less moderate communities, which paralyzes their critical faculties.

The problem is the belief amongst certain groups of conservative Muslim groups that reason must be replaced by taqlid (mindless imitation) in religious affairs. This is perhaps why some individuals are able to read and recite Arabic verses, but are rarely able to explain the meaning of those texts.

Khan has expressed that wives should be obedient to their husbands and seek permission before leaving their homes. He also asserts that it would be a major sin to refuse sex to husbands without a proper excuse such as sickness or obligatory fasting. He believes that it is the nature of men to demand sex more than women.

Had Khan studied the Qur'an based upon tadabbur (reflection) and aql (reason), he would not have fettered the meaning of the texts with patriarchy. Indeed, the idea of seeking permission from husbands before leaving home and the notion of greater sexual desires of men are extraneous to the Qur'an. Such viewpoints can be found in medieval legal manuals, but Muslims are not bound by the opinions of fallible scholars who shaped classical jurisprudence.

Reducing a human being to the servitude of another goes against the principal Islamic teaching on submitting to none except Allah.

Classical scholars were expounding upon the Qur'an based on their social mores. Their opinions coloured by their cultural constructs are not binding upon later generations of Muslims.

Conservative Muslims like Khan will have to explain that if they do not view marriage as a contract in which the husband buys exclusive access to a woman's private parts, then on what basis do they continue to impose restrictions on the mobility of women, which was a feature of such marriage contracts?

However, since Muslims like Khan have abandoned legal reasoning for mindless imitation of the texts, they may not be able to appreciate how patriarchy of the legal jurists influenced their viewpoints. Additionally, such Muslims may not be able to answer whether the increasing number of Muslim stay-at-home dads will also have to seek permission from the bread-winning working wife.

There exists a secondary text in which angels curse a woman for refusing sex to the husband. However, this text is also extraneous to the Qur'an. The very idea behind sexual relationships is to engender mawadda (affection), which cannot arise if the wife is obligated to perform sexual acts without regard to her emotional welfare. Moreover, reducing a human being to the servitude of another goes against the principal Islamic teaching on submitting to none except Allah.

The whole Khan fiasco will die out when the media loses interest. It will however provide fodder to xenophobes who will stoke their pet peeve of Islam bashing. They will contribute to negativity and hatred, but will not support Muslims like the Canadian Council of Muslim Women who are actually combating patriarchy and bring much-needed change.

The need of the hour is for Muslim communities to revive the use of critical reasoning in religion and free Muslims from the stranglehold of popular male celebrity scholars who infuse religious teachings with their unthinking patriarchal biases.

In this regard, progressive and Universalist Muslims will continue to assert the truth that patriarchy does not define Islam.

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Muslims And Allies Celebrate High Holidays And Diwali

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2016 | 10:57 AM

The festering Israel-Palestine conflict and the continued tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is sometimes painted as a conflict of Islam with Jews and Hindus. Both are economic and political conflicts. Yet, there are Muslims who wish to revive the domination of past Caliphates and the inegalitarian...

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Edmonton LGBT Community Stands Against Islamophobia

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2016 | 2:43 PM

Ubuntu - we belong in a greater whole and are diminished when others are humiliated or diminished ~ Desmond Tutu

Recently dozens of flyers were distributed anonymously to mailboxes in Edmonton. Referring to Islam as a violent and "delusional seventh-century cult," they constitute the latest incident of hate...

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To Canadian Imams: Give Muslim LGBT Youth The Support They Deserve

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2016 | 3:04 PM

Imam Soharwardy in Calgary, Dr. Shabir Ally in Toronto and Imam Jebara in Ottawa serve the Muslim community's interests in their respective cities. They lead their communities through tumultuous times that have stoked many incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry along with the rise of extremist Muslim groups. Retired Muslim leaders like...

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How We Can Help End The Persecution Of Ahmadi Muslims

(4) Comments | Posted September 27, 2016 | 1:06 PM

Imagine all Kashmiris were Ahmadi Muslims, would you still speak up for their rights? ~ Kashif N. Chaudhry

The persecution of Ahmadi Muslims is denied, ignored or at best condemned with the caveat "but Ahmadis are not Muslims." Their plight may go unaddressed unless Muslims...

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Muslims Should Reject Exclusivism And Excommunication

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2016 | 2:08 PM

Recently, a top cleric in Saudi Arabia branded Iranians as non-Muslims, referring to them as "sons of the Magi." Such takfir (excommunication) is neither a unique feature of the Saudi clerics nor is it restricted towards Shia Muslims. Throughout Muslim history, scholars have held similar opinions.

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Updating 5 Muslim Beliefs On Homosexuality

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2016 | 3:43 PM

Conservative Muslims believe that the earliest jurists and exegetes have best explained and analyzed the Qur'an and the Hadith. However, it is important to underscore that the reasoning of the past scholars was informed by the social mores and medical knowledge of their times.

Past scholars associated the invention...

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