Islamic book condoning ‘light’ spousal abuse includes letter from Ontario MPP Yasir Naqvi

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

Recently-crowned Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has taken to referring to her Liberal party as the "new Ontario government," in a bid to distance it from the scandals and misspending of the Dalton McGuinty era.

The idea isn’t new in the political realm. New name, new attitude, new beginning. The government positions itself for a fresh start, perhaps clear from any foolishness that beset the party and, say, led to the resignation of its previous leader.

Now, fresh foolishness from a government trying to distance itself from stale foolishness.

[ Related: Premier Kathleen Wynne talks jobs in Windsor, Ont. ]

The Toronto Sun reports that Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi wrote a letter of support published in a book about Islam that condones men lightly beating their wives.

The book is titled Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond, and includes a chapter entitled "Does Islam Allow Wife Beating?"

The answer, it appears, is a tempered yes. The book claims there are circumstances in which it is acceptable to lightly slap a woman on the wrist with a wooden stick.

Naqvi told the Sun that he did not read the book and did not approve the publication of his letter, sent two years ago.

“I strongly condemn violence against women,” Naqvi told the newspaper. “I believe that abuse of any kind is unacceptable and I do not share the views expressed in this book.”

On Tuesday, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called Naqvi's endorsement "very disturbing," a good sign we have not heard the end of the affair.

[ More Brew: Could Ont. Premier Wynne reboot a national transit strategy? ]

Naqvi was recently named Ontario's minister of labour in Wynne's cabinet, and previously held the role of Liberal party president, shepherding the party through their recent leadership convention. He is a central piece of Ontario's new government.

It would be a shame if a two-year-old letter, published out of context and without permission, tarred Naqvi or this “new Ontario government.”

There is still enough of the old foolishness to wade through without stirring up new stuff.