03/12/2013 11:34 EDT | Updated 03/12/2013 12:17 EDT

Letter From Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Cabinet Minister, Appears In Book Condoning Hitting Wives


An Ontario cabinet minister is distancing himself from a congratulatory letter he wrote that appears in a book promoting violence against women.

A letter of support from Yasir Naqvi, recently named Labour minister in Kathleen Wynne’s cabinet, can be found in the reviews section of Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond. A chapter of the book argues it is within the tenants of the faith to “lightly strike your spouse if she exhibits serious moral misconduct,” according to The Toronto Sun,

Naqvi’s letter to author Suhail Kapoor can be found on a website promoting the book.

Thank you for writing to me with regards to your book Islam : Balancing Life and Beyond. I appreciate the time you have taken to write and share this project with me.

My colleagues and I proudly embrace and support Ontario’s diversity; our province is representative of some 200 countries and over 130 languages. This leads to an exciting union of citizens that simultaneously displays an array of many different religious beliefs and backgrounds. I admire your drive to reach out to the public and promote values of tolerance, understanding and respect. I wish you the best of luck on your reprint, and look forward to reading it upon its release.

Yasir Naqvi, MPP

Ottawa Center, Ontario, Canada

The controversial book contains a chapter called, “Does Islam Allow Wife Beating?” In it, Kapoor details when it is appropriate for a husband to punish his wife using “light slaps” on the wrist and hands with a small wooden stick. The book argues that no physical marks should come from the blows.

“Nothing on the face, nothing on the body, nothing on the private parts or areas, just on the hands.”

Kapoor claims that he asked the Ottawa-Centre MPP for a review more than two years ago and received permission to reprint it.

Unsurprisingly, Naqvi took to Twitter this morning to say he didn't read the book.

"I strongly condemn violence against women. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable, I do not share views expressed in this book."

"As evidenced in my letter, I’ve not read nor endorse the book, and did not authorize my name for use in “Reviews” section."

"Mr. Kapoor wrote my Community Office in 2009, as matter of practice I respond to all correspondence received as MPP."

But it seems Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak isn't buying Naqvi's explanation. According to The Toronto Star's Robert Benzie, Hudak said it was "disturbing" that Naqvi "endorsed this kind of garbage."

The 40-year-old Naqvi, considered by some to be a rising star among Ontario Grits, emigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 1988. He was first elected in 2007 and served as president of the Ontario Liberal Party. Naqvi briefly considered running in the Ontario Liberal leadership race, but said he wanted to spend more time with his young son.

Toronto Sun columnist Simon Kent thinks the incident may be a learning opportunity for the young MPP.

“It might be a good idea to actually read something before recommending it to others.”

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