By Gus Lyn-Piluso

“ All those interested in how humans overcome adversity must read this book. Yasmine is one of the bravest people of our time. She is a shining example to all of us.”  — Ayaan Hirsi Ali

First-generation Canadian children often complain about feeling trapped between two worlds. At home, they live in the world of their parents’ traditions. These traditions come with beliefs and practices that have been around for so long that they are self-evident to those from back home. Yet their children only know “back home” to be the confines of family life. When these children are out and away from familial pressures, they encounter the complexity of Canadian life, which is at once liberating in its potential and terrifying in its lack of clarity. It would be easier to simply observe the age-old practices of home. The problem is that, once exposed to other possibilities, the yearning to explore and to see what else is out there is difficult to satisfy.

As a young Canadian, Yasmine Mohammed was caught between these worlds. She grew up in a fundamentalist Muslim family and, for the most part, assumed that this was just the way families were. But once she started to venture out, she soon found herself in conflict. Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam is the story of how she dealt with this internal conflict and how it led her to courageous and selfless social and political activism.

Unveiled tells the story of how Yasmine became one of the most important human rights activists in Canada. Her work challenges Canadians of all stripes. She confronts Islamic cultural norms by asking hard questions about terrorism, female genital mutilation, and the subjugation of women, while also asking liberals like me why we go out of our way to make allowances for illiberal practices simply because of our desire to be supportive of new Canadians. She doesn’t tell us what to believe, but asks the uncomfortable questions that leave few stones unturned. As a result, we learn about our own blind spots and are transformed — and that is what a great book should do.

This is not an easy book to read, but it is also not an easy book to put down. It is at once personal and political, powerful and gentle, distressful and yet — in the end — hopeful.

Yasmine says that she “wrote this book to expose the dangerous blind spot many well-intentioned liberals have toward Islam. They give an outdated religious patriarchy a free pass when it comes to oppressing women. As someone who has lived through it, I want to speak up and insist that women’s rights are indeed universal.”

As one of the well-intentioned liberals this book is intended for, I know that many of my blind spots are no more. I have Yasmine to thank for this. Challenge yourself. Read this book.

Issues covered in  Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam include :

  • Growing up Muslim in the West
  • Fundamentalist Islam and children
  • Being married to an Al Qaeda operative
  • Forced marriage
  • Surviving abuse
  • Failure of Western institutions to protect children in minority communities
  • Forced hijab
  • Feminism in the Muslim world

Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam
Format: Paperback, e-book, and audiobook available at Amazon
Publisher: Free Hearts Free Minds (September 25, 2019)
ISBN: 978-1999240509

This article appears in the December 2019 version of Critical Links.