The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 the “March For Freedom, Liberty & Justice against M-103” (anti Islamophobia motion) at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square.
Sandra Solomon, an ex-Muslim human rights activist, was the keynote speaker at the rally. Wearing the niqab, a traditional Islamic garb that covers the entire body leaving only a narrow slot for the eyes, Sandra told her life story as a young girl in Saudi Arabia who was forced to wear the niqab and follow the Sharia Law that discriminates against women.
In a message to the liberal feminist movements Sandra said that the hijab and the niqab are not a symbols of “liberation” but of “oppression” asking the crowd to stand for a moment of silence to commemorate the Canadian victims of the hijab: Asqa Parvez, 17 year old from Mississauga, who was strangled to death by her father, and the Shafia sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17 and Geeti, 13) who were drown to death by their father, mother and brother.
Reliving the horrors of her childhood, Sandra emotionally described how her brother attempted to murder her because she shamed the honor of the family after she started to question her faith and refused to wear the niqab. “I wan not married four years. I was raped four years”, she said about her forced marriage.
In a symbolic gesture Sandra threw to the “liberation trash can” a bra, the niqab and copy a the Quran that has been handed out at Toronto’s Dundas Square and contains contemporary commentary that condones wife beating (lightly) and the stoning of the adulterers.
Sandra Solomon. Photo: CIJnews
“I am a free woman today” she declared encouraging other women to overcome the paralyzing fear and follow her footsteps in breaking free from the oppression of religion.
Sandra also read snippets from statements made by Canadian imams who justified the execution by The Islamic State of Muslims who left Islam, and publicly condoned wife beating (“wife beating in Islam is a type of education”), marital rape (wife should obey husband when asking her to “satisfy his desires”) and total submission to the husband (“husband has to give orders and wife has to obey him”; “wife cannot leave the house without husband’s permission”). “Some women may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern”, she quoted from a book that was handed out at Toronto’s Dundas Square and by the Muslim Student Association at York University.
On July 1st on Canada’s 150th anniversary we are going to celebrate the freedom with the launch of the national Burn Hijab Day, announced Sandra explaining that this international day is intended to serve as a source of inspiration for women from all faiths and cultures to take their fate in their hands and achieve the freedom they deserve.