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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.
The Death Penalty for

The Death Penalty for Tweets?

Hamza Kashgiri, the young journalist accused of disrespecting the prophet Mohammad on Twitter, was deported from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia to stand trial for alleged blasphemy. The offense is punishable by death.
02/13/2012 12:07 EST
The Shafia Women: Killed By Double

The Shafia Women: Killed By Double Standards

The Shafia trial exposed a cultural pathology that needs a closer and unbiased examination. The men in Muslim families are rarely subjected to the kinds of constraints their female relatives endure. It is mostly when the conduct of the women is perceived as dishonourable that matters worsen.
01/30/2012 12:07 EST
Does the Burka Enable

Does the Burka Enable Crime?

Some religious rights impinge on the rights of other individuals or of society, in which case, is it justified to place limits on them? The burka or face coverings most certainly fall under this category as crime-enabling garbs.
01/24/2012 11:58 EST
Intolerance and the Religious

Intolerance and the Religious Right

The most retrogressive segments of Muslim society often angrily conclude that reformist Muslims only speak from a position of ignorance when questioning orthodox religious practice. Progressive Muslims are ignorant, self-serving, heretical, and hypocritical according to these conservatives, who consistently accuse revisionists of being fifth columnists with nefarious ulterior motives.
01/16/2012 10:16 EST
Another Sad Anniversary of Islamic

Another Sad Anniversary of Islamic Extremism

Salman Taseer was assassinated by a member of his own elite guard for defending a Christian woman for allegedly disrespecting the prophet of Islam. The blasphemy law in Pakistan must be repealed without further delay. The state must not police the religious beliefs of its citizens.
01/04/2012 02:07 EST
The Biggest Story of 2011 for Me? Bagging Bin

The Biggest Story of 2011 for Me? Bagging Bin Laden

As champion of the most radical strain within Islam, Osama's death marked a new beginning in the quest for global peace. The jubilation in Washington, D.C. over his death was an obvious indication of the relief felt by Americans. But it may also spell complacency among the masses.
12/28/2011 07:24 EST
Islamic World Must Unite to Condemn Attacks on

Islamic World Must Unite to Condemn Attacks on Christians

While the Vatican and Western leaders have condemned the attacks on Christians as heinous and cowardly, an unequivocal denunciation must also come from the Islamic world against Nigeria's Boko Haram and other radical Islamic groups terrorizing Christian communities in their midst.
12/27/2011 08:43 EST
The Veil Isn't About A Woman's Right to

The Veil Isn't About A Woman's Right to Choose

Regrettably, many third-wave feminists support a woman's right to wear the burka. Women in fact cannot make choices freely when control over their lives is as invasive as it is within the conservative Muslim community.
12/13/2011 11:11 EST
The Ban on Christmas

The Ban on Christmas Begins

Many secular Canadians and non-believing Christians celebrate Christmas as part of our Canadian heritage. And while the singing may contain some religious content, songs like "Let It Snow" or "Jingle Bell Rock" can hardly be seen as offending the religious sentiments of minority groups.
12/10/2011 12:00 EST
Human Rights Trump Religious Freedom in Polygamy

Human Rights Trump Religious Freedom in Polygamy Case

Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms must protect the rights of all individuals, not just of those who commit egregious actions in the name of religious freedom. It is in this spirit that B.C.'s Chief Justice ruled to uphold Canada's polygamy laws.
11/24/2011 03:40 EST
Do Anti-Terrorism Act Amendments Threaten Free

Do Anti-Terrorism Act Amendments Threaten Free Speech?

It's good that the Ministry of Public Safety has decided to <a href="" target="_hplink">introduce amendments</a> to the existing Anti-Terrorism Act of Canada. Even so, such measures may engender considerable controversy under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
11/22/2011 08:56 EST

"Honour Killing" Trial: Sinful to Be Canadian?

Muslims emigrating to Canada and the United States need to acknowledge that their children, especially daughters, are human beings. No one has the right to injure and kill daughters due to medieval notions of family honour or disdain for Western society. Mr. Shafia, it is not sinful to be Canadian or American.
11/14/2011 05:44 EST
We Shouldn't Hesitate to Call Honour Killings

We Shouldn't Hesitate to Call Honour Killings Barbaric

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau chided the Conservative government for calling honour killings "barbaric." But why such reluctance to call these heinous crimes using terminology that best describes them? Is it fear of stigmatizing a particular culture or religious community? Is it simply naivete of the worst kind?
11/08/2011 02:53 EST