A Canadian mosque that has asked workplaces to accept a strict dress code for Muslim women is now under criticism for publicizing slurs against Jews and western societies as well as warning members against integration, Canadian paper the Toronto Star reported.
The Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque has served as the religious authority for eight Somali women who filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the delivery service UPS claiming that the company dress code violated their religious freedom.
The Toronto mosque, founded in 1990, serves about 10,000 people and is known for preaching strict adherence to Islamic Sharia law.
The paper reported that the mosque's website refers to non-Muslim Westeners as "wicked", "corrupt" and "our clear enemies."
The website's Questions and Answer section where Muslims can ask questions about their religion has come under attack recently for some of the replies, according to the Star.
"Is it permissible for women to wear high heeled-shoes?" one reader asked, to which the reply was no. "It involves resembling the Disbelieving Women or the wicked women. It has its origin among the Jewish women," read the explanation
The site reportedly went on to say that once (a Muslim woman) becomes introduced to the wickedness of Western ideology and concepts ... (she) becomes fixated on trying to appear and act like her "role models" of corruption.
A disclaimer on the website noted that questions and answers did not necessarily reflect the mosque's views, said the Star. But the About Us page declares that the mosque's imam, Bashir Yusuf Shiil, "prepared, approved, and supervised" all questions and answers on the site.
The Q and A section was no longer available on the site at the time of publication and several attempts by AlArabiya.net to reach representatives of the mosque for clarification were unsuccessful.
The UPS case
According to the Star, the mosque's stand on the UPS case also appears contradictory.
In September, a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal heard two weeks of testimony from eight mosque members accusing the company of "Islamophobia."
The eight women who were fired by UPS say Islam dictates they wear a full-length skirt for modesty. However UPS insists that the skirts only be knee-length due to safety concerns, as workers need to climb ladders up to six meters (19 feet) high.
The women are allowed to wear pants under their skirts, but they say they do not want the lower part of their leg showing in case the shape of their calves can be discerned.
The eight women mentioned the Khalid Bin al-Walid mosque as their place of worship and religious authority, and produced a letter from its administration. "This is to certify that the religion of Islam requires all Muslim women to cover her entire body inclusive of the legs, arms, head, ears and neck," the letter reads. "As such, (the women) would not be able to wear pants as an outfit."
In addition, the mosque's website teachings forbid women to work outside the home. "It is known that when women go to work in the workplaces of men, this leads to mixing with men," one posting quoted by the Star asserted.
"This is a very dangerous matter," it read. "It is in clear opposition to the texts of the Shariah that order the women to remain in their houses and to fulfill the type of work that is particular for her."
The mosque published on Nov. 8 a response to the public criticism contradicting some earlier posts and stating that no offence was intended by the content of the site and that its members and directors are law abiding Muslims that practice their religion in a manner that is entirely consistent with the rights afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"The Board of the Khalid Bib Al-Walid Mosque maintains the view that women are an extremely important part of the workplace in Canadian society and that they have made and will continue to make many meaningful contributions to Canada's economy and the well-being of their communities and families," reads the message recently posted on the site's main page.