The Honourable Justin Trudeau-Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould- Minister of Justice
The Honourable Ralph Goodale- Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
CC: Iran Star Toronto
July 15th 2016
Re: Concerns about Iran Star Toronto’s Paid Advertisement Soliciting Polygamy in Canada
It has come to our attention that Iran Star Toronto an Iranian Canadian newspaper based in Toronto published a paid advertisement soliciting “Sighe marriage” also known as temporary marriage practiced by some Shia Muslims, in their July 2nd 2016 # 115 issue.
Sighe generally takes place between a man (married or unmarried) and an unmarried woman. While a man can have as many temporary wives as he can afford, a woman can only enter one temporary marriage at a time. Sighe can last as little as one hour and as long as 99 years and requires the man to financially compensate the woman for the temporary marriage. There is no divorce in Sighe marriages as the marriage ends at the end of the contracted time, and the woman does not have any of the rights a spouse would have under the law. This is in direct contradiction of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which explicitly bans polygamy and threatens offenders with a five-year prison term.
We strongly believe advertising Sighe, an official Islamic prostitution, is continuation of attempts to bring Sharia Law to Ontario, which was banned in 2005. We are concerned about the young girls and women who might be influenced or pressured by religious roles and be used for this criminal activity.
The practice of Sighe is not only tolerated but very much promoted by the Islamic Regime in Iran who uses this oppressive practice as a way to promote polygamy and create an extra stream of income for many clerics who perform this type of temporary marriages.
While the Islamic Regime in Iran has tried to push this misogynist practice on the people of Iran, this practice is strongly condemned by the majority of the Iranian society including human rights and women’s rights activists.
We are appalled and concerned that an Iranian Canadian newspaper which is published in Canada would publish an advertisement soliciting Sighe Marriages which not only go against Canadian values but is also in direct contradiction of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which expressly bans polygamy and carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.
While we have great respect for freedom of speech and expression, in our respectful opinion no newspaper published in Canada should print material that solicits actions that are contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and sincerely hope that Iran Star Toronto will immediately remove the advertisement and acknowledge its mistake at the earliest opportunity, with a promise that this type of incident will not occur in the future.
Sayeh Hassan, Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-Democracy Activist
Mahmood Ahmadi, Women’s Rights, Children’s Rights and Worker’s Rights Activist
Radio Payam Canada
Mansoureh Nasserchian Freelancer/Activist