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Farzana Hassan


Farzana Hassan, also known as Farzana Hassan-Shahid is a well known writer and commentator on Islam and Muslim issues. Though based in Canada, her opinions, particularly on women's rights in Islam and Islamic terrorism are sought worldwide.

She has been actively involved in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue for the past nine years. For her efforts in promoting interfaith harmony, the National Christian/Muslim Liason Committee of Canada gave her their annual service award in 2004.

As a prominent member of the South Asian-Canadian community, she has headed a number of Canadian organizations including the progressive Muslim Canadian Congress. She also led a group of South Asian literati called Family of the Heart.
Her literary achievements include a third place poetry award for her poem entitled "The Loner". The award was conferred by Bakers Books in Dartmouth, Massachusetts in 2000.

Farzana is also a public speaker. She has presented papers at several national and international conferences. In January 2009, she represented Canada as part of a three member delegation to Syria to promote citizen diplomacy and peace-building among Jews, Christians and Muslims in that country. She also addressed a conference held at Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. on women's rights in Islam in July, 2009. As a member of delegations to various UN workshops on women’s rights, she most recently presented a paper on female education in Pakistan in March, 2010.
Farzana is very well known to the media. Her international media appearances include participation as a speaker at the world famous Doha Debates. Media appearances also include interviews with BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, The Voice of America, Le Monde, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” and the CBC.

In addition to her media appearances, she is well-published both in Canada and the United States. Her several articles and opinion pieces have appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald and the Huffington Post. Farzana is also a regular contributor to Thara-E magazine, the largest English publication on women's issues in Syria. She has previously authored two books on religion. Her most recent publication entitled Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest (McFarland & Co, 2008), is a comparative study of Christian and Muslim apocalyptic religion.
This Book Rests On A False Premise About

This Book Rests On A False Premise About ISIS

Journalist Gwynne Dyer's book Don't Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today's Middle East rests on the premise that ISIS poses no major threat to the Western world. Dyer suggests the West is not affected by events in Syria and must not be involved in the civil war. However, there is a moral imperative that we need to acknowledge.
11/25/2015 11:44 EST
Paul Walker's Memory Comes to Life in

Paul Walker's Memory Comes to Life in "See You Again" Song Covers

The song "See you Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, composed in honour of Paul Walker, has inspired countless covers by many young artists on YouTube. The haunting melody of the song, the feelings of love, nostalgia, longing, remembrance, sadness and consolation, recently led me to discover some wonderfully composed covers of the song.
04/27/2015 05:55 EDT
The Saudi Regime Needs To Loosen Its Grip On Its

The Saudi Regime Needs To Loosen Its Grip On Its Citizens

If Saudi Arabia is concerned about its reputation, it should first revamp its laws, reform its political system, allow for a genuine democratic process to take route, and enable its citizenry to think and act freely. The international community must also exert pressure on the Saudi regime to loosen its grip on its citizens.
07/08/2014 12:36 EDT
Bullying is No Longer Confined to Schools. What Are We Doing About

Bullying is No Longer Confined to Schools. What Are We Doing About It?

With the growing use of cyber space, bullying is no longer confined to school premises. The effects of school taunting and how it transforms into bullying outside of school also be addressed. Canada has recently enacted new legislation on cyber bullying. Further research is needed to determine if the same type of legislation can be deemed effective in the United States.
03/14/2014 12:19 EDT
Saudi Women Belong Behind the Wheel,

Saudi Women Belong Behind the Wheel, Too

I never have to think twice about getting behind the wheel whenever I need groceries, or pick up kids, or go to the bank. I do not wait for my husband, or father or brother to first give me permission to leave the house, or wait for his availability to attend to my needs. In Saudi Arabia, of course I would not have that luxury.
11/01/2013 05:30 EDT
Peace in Syria Won't Come Easy - or

Peace in Syria Won't Come Easy - or Cheap

Pluralism and democracy cannot flourish among people whose sensibilities are firmly rooted in doctrine and dogma. This psyche breeds bellicosity that often transforms into jihadist zeal. One hopes that secretary of State John Kerry will be successful in forging a negotiated peace. With Assad firmly rooted in power, the chances of even a fragile peace are all but slim.
10/29/2013 12:41 EDT
The Story of an American Bride in

The Story of an American Bride in Kabul

Phyllis Chesler, the well-known academic, author and feminist, tells the story of her life of drudgery and seclusion in Afghanistan and her improbable escape from her oppressors in her latest book <em>An American bride in Kabul</em>.
10/11/2013 05:27 EDT
Canada Must Do More to Protect These Persecuted

Canada Must Do More to Protect These Persecuted Christians

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the latest attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, stating it was taking revenge for US drone strikes. This comment is telling. Taliban schooled in a medieval worldview do not see past religious identities. Instead of viewing their Pakistani Christian citizens as fellow countrymen, they see them as an extension of the Christian West and therefore "the other."
10/01/2013 05:47 EDT
The Scary Prospect of Prime Minister Justin

The Scary Prospect of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

If elections were held today, the Grits would likely romp to victory, according to a recent poll. We would then be faced with the scary prospect of drama teacher Justin Trudeau hamming it up in the role of the next Prime Minister of Canada.
06/03/2013 03:56 EDT
The Best Way Muslims Can Counter

The Best Way Muslims Can Counter Terrorism

The RCMP, FBI and CSIS are all working diligently to protect the public from such monstrous agendas. However, something must also be done to counter this evil at the idelogical level, where plots to murder innocents are hatched.
05/15/2013 12:23 EDT
Ideas About Modernizing

Ideas About Modernizing Islam

Members of the audience at the launch of my new book exchanged ideas on modernizing or "moderating" Islam. Was there indeed a window of opportunity to interpret Islam's precepts in line with modern sensibilities on women's rights? Was there potential to change people's attitudes on the status of minorities in Muslim countries?
01/30/2013 05:36 EST
How We Should Talk When We Talk About

How We Should Talk When We Talk About Guns

Despite the inescapable emotion involved in such a tragedy involving the loss of innocent lives, both pro and anti-gun lobbyists need to approach the argument in an unbiased and dispassionate manner. The debate needs to be depoliticized and examined at a strictly human level, where gun-related crimes have caused unspeakable horror and heartache.
12/24/2012 04:53 EST
Respect Women? Say No to the

Respect Women? Say No to the Niqab

<img alt="2012-12-21-Farzana.jpg" src="" width="61" height="90" style="float: right; margin:10px" /> I firmly believe that legislation protecting the rights of women who are forced into wearing the niqab is not only desirable but essential. The influence of radicalism grows stronger by the day. These women are not only denied a face, but also a name and an identity.
12/21/2012 05:29 EST

Rimshah Masih

In Sharia-benighted Pakistan, an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down's Syndrome has recently been incarcerated for blasphemy. Rimshah Masih allegedly burned pages of the Quran and other Islamic textbooks, including a Quran primer. The girl was found holding the charred pages. Unfortunately, Rimshah is not the only Pakistani facing such charges. Pakistanis collectively have shown little outrage at these travesties.
08/26/2012 11:28 EDT
Just Say No to Shark Fin

Just Say No to Shark Fin Soup

First Toronto, and now Calgary, has done the moral thing. Both cities have passed a bylaw banning shark fins. Consumers of shark fin soup must consider the effects of declining shark populations on our delicately balanced ecosystem.
07/20/2012 12:12 EDT
Why I Love Canada: Here I Can Question My Own

Why I Love Canada: Here I Can Question My Own Faith

<img alt="2012-06-26-canadaflag.png" src="" width="300" height="55" /> I am a Canadian Muslim woman and have had the privilege of calling Canada my home since 1984. I strongly believe that as a Muslim I have every right to question my faith, to arrive at my own unique understanding of it, and to practice it according to my very own sensibilities as a unique human being. For that I am grateful to my adoptive country, Canada.
06/28/2012 11:49 EDT
Hey Islam, Get Your Hands Off Our

Hey Islam, Get Your Hands Off Our Art

The student who took a photo of a women in Muslim veil holding a bra undoubtedly offended religious fundamentalists. But so what? This is Canada. People have the right to express their religious beliefs freely. Canada is not answerable to Saudi Arabia.
04/16/2012 01:59 EDT