Immigrants involved in multiple marriage watching polygamy test case: imam

Thank you, Martin Youssef for this timely piece and the Canadian Press for printing it.  I know many Muslims and only ONE has bragged around that he could have four wives if he wanted to!  The Muslims I know are peaceful, hard-working, family people who enjoy the freedoms of Canada and live by its laws.  They also have a disdain for polygamy–both men and women!  One beautiful Muslim woman is a pharmacist. 

Aly Hindi has been pulling his pranks for years, marrying Muslim men to second wives without the first wife’s knowledge.  As an anti-polygamy campaigner, I can only hope that he is thrown in jail with the rest of these culprits who take such joy in denigrating women’s rights in Canada.

I’ll say it again, Canada is the only first world nation that has all the legal ammunition it needs to conquer the crime of polygamy that for so long has been practiced with impunity in this country. 

Consenting adults be damned!  The rights of any woman entering into a polygamous marriage are being compromised.  In Canada, they need to know their Charter equality rights!  They need to know the international conventions signed and ratified by Canada to protect women and children from the harms of such practice.

Nancy Mereska, President
Stop Polygamy in Canada

Thank you, again, Mr. Youssef!


Winnipeg Free Press

By: Marten Youssef,

The Canadian Press


VANCOUVER – The women of the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., in their ankle-length skirts and long hair reminiscent of a different century, have become the face of polygamy for most Canadians.

But members of that tiny sect of the Mormon church aren’t the only ones watching for the outcome of the landmark court case challenging Canada’s polygamy law. Leaders in the country’s Muslim community say the decision will have wide implications.

Aly Hindi, an outspoken imam at Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, Ont., said there are more than 200 polygamous Muslim marriages in the Greater Toronto Area alone. The figure is impossible to verify as polygamy among Muslim and other immigrant groups in Canada is often shrouded in mystery.

Hindi believes banning polygamy is harmful to women.

“If the three adults — the husband, the first wife and (the other) women — have consent, I don’t think the government should interfere in this,” Hindi said in a telephone interview.

By disallowing polygamy, the government is encouraging affairs, he told The Canadian Press.

“This is unjust law drawn by men who do not want to carry responsibility for the second woman,” Hindi said.

Hindi would not say how many polygamous marriages he has officiated at, but he did say that he has witnessed marriages where both women celebrated the relationship, contrary to popular views of polygamy.

Advocates say polygamy is justified in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad himself is often cited as an example of being able to marry more than one woman. According to Surat al Nisaa, the “Book of Women” in the Islamic holy book, it is permissible to marry up to four women.

But Muslims are divided on the interpretation of that passage. Tunisia outlawed polygamy in 1956 and Moroccan legislation has made multiple marriages virtually non-existent in the kingdom.

Alia Hogben, director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said the Qur’anic passage referring to multiple wives ought to be understood in the context that it was written.

“Marriage was the only way out for women to gain any kind of status … it was a form of protection. That section has nothing to do about men’s needs for multiple wives,” said Hogben.

She said it is a myth that women make a free choice to enter into polygamous relationships.

“I know of no woman who freely chooses to become a second or third wife,” said Hogben.

Hogben has submitted an affidavit to the B.C. Supreme Court reference case, where the subject of multiple marriage in the multicultural world has been noticeable by its absence.

Hogben said there is a reason for that: the lack of evidence on the subject.

“No one has come forward on polygamy… all we know is anecdotal. So, how would the court take on the Muslim (issue)?”

Over the years, many B.C. justice officials wrestled with the controversial topic until former judge Wally Oppal became the province’s attorney general and took it on.

Under Oppal’s direction, the two leaders of Bountiful, Winston Blackmore and James Oler, were arrested and charged with practising polygamy.

“Women are chattels and property in polygamous relationships. There is no way around that,” Oppal told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

“I wanted a court to hear evidence and particularly evidence of the harmful effect of polygamy on women and children,” Oppal said, reflecting on his decision to seek a criminal case as opposed to the type of constitutional reference case currently before the court.

But the case against Blackmore and Oler was thrown out after the judge found that Oppal was “shopping” for a special prosecutor to charge the two after receiving previous legal opinions against laying charges.

When Oppal lost his seat in the provincial election, his successor, Mike de Jong, did not appeal the decision but chose to ask the court to examine whether Canada’s current laws against polygamy violate religious freedoms guaranteed in the charter.

The case focusing on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, started in November and is expected to continue into the spring. The FLDS is a breakaway sect of the mainstream Mormon church, which abandoned polygamy more than a century ago.

“While much attention has been given to what is happening in Bountiful, the fact is there is a larger issue here,” said Oppal, who was also the province’s minister for multiculturalism at the time.

Although immigration and multiculturalism were topics hardly discussed leading up to the prosecution of Blackmore and Oler, Oppal said, it was the elephant in the room.

“There are certain acts that I think Canadians find to be abhorrent and that is people who come here from other cultures with multiple wives,” Oppal said.

If the law against polygamy fails, there will be consequences, he said.

“If we find that polygamy is legal and the section is unconstitutional, there is nothing stopping people from coming in and I think that’s contrary to our standards as Canadians. We don’t want that,” Oppal said.

“If a court decides or parliament decides that polygamy is legal, then the whole face of our Canadian society will change.”

  1. There is a lot of “hidden” polygamy in Canada already, from recent immigrants, and a great deal of that is unknowingly supported by taxpayers, mostly by programs like social assistance, and the Child Tax Credit, GST/HST credits, disability programs etc. — it all adds up — but also by other forms of welfare/health/education programs.

  2. ”…culprits who take such joy in denigrating women’s rights in Canada.” A few long time residents may be misogynist. As for some campaign, this is unlikely. ” Joy?” All are happier when the future seems predictable and fixed, but that is not, very often, possible. How does my religion denigrate your rights because we have different religions or practices?. I do not believe this, Our bill of rights guarantees
    “the pursuit of happiness”. You seem to believe that your emotional lack makes us criminals via religious belief.

  3. Mohammeds reasoning behind four polygamist wives is somehow always left out of the argument in favor of Islamic polygyny? Why not two wives, six wives or eight wives? Mohammed reflected on this specific number because he reasoned the physical limitations of a household overburdened for most of the faithful and he reasoned that given the compliment of SEX SLAVES that four polygamist wives seemed to him to be the uppermost number. Does anyone think that four is a reasonable number, anymore, because there is a dirge of sex slaves within Canada? Certainly no self-respecting FLDS Priesthood member would ever agree to such an artificially low number. Mormon President John Taylor put the maximum number of plural wives at 999 wives, does this seem to be the form of polygamy that Canada is soon to embrace?

  4. A Micha the simple truth is that polygamy as practiced and manifested by the tenets fo Fundamentalist Mormons is an archaic system that perceives women as property, the priesthood members as sole benficiary of celestial matrimony and wedlock is as dictated by the prophet and not any priesthood member. The ‘One Man Rule’ devised by Rulon Jeffs and further honed by Warren Jeffs is a total invasion of any Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for all FLDS Church members, no wife or children will be granted any freedom or rights based upon this brand of polygyny. As to the number of plural wives allowed by the FLDS Church brand of polygyny the point is that no limit upon the number of wives that may be celestially wed is affixed, there is no limit. Just like the limit on the minimum age of consent, there is no limit in age. Mohammed’s youngest wife is believed to have been seven (7) years of age. Warren’s actions isn’t just to cross the legal limits, it is a specific act to defy ‘Gentile’ authority to prove his fanatical adherence to his Higher Power. Legalizing polygamy is just the first step to satisfy the FLDS Church brand of ‘Religious Freedom’ they also want to marry as many and as young as they choose, traffick minors across international borders, reassign plural wives by the prophet’s whims, release (divorce) plural marriages as the prophet dictates and practice preeminence by the prophet or his hierarchy which Joseph Smith, Jr. practiced. Warren Jeffs recent purge of bishops leaves him in charge to reassign all the bishops wives and children to whomever he sees fit, so legalizing polygamy is just step one on where granting the FLDS members their ‘Religious Freedom’.

  5. Michamartina you don’t need to hatch some homespun view of brainwashed Mormons to grasp the rligious tenets that explains the belief system of Fundamentalist Mormons. Google: Doctrines & Covenants 132 and read Joseph Smith. Jr.’s revelation on polygamy. He used eternal damnation and ordinace from Heavenly Father to convince his fanatical followers back in the 1830s, long before WWII and any mind control techniques of the Nazis. In fact the FLDS Church predates Hitler and his brown shirts from the revelation of President John Taylor in 1887 when it was revealed that polygamy had to be preserved as a Mormon religious tenet. Your comment about English recruits to Mormondom is equally flawed as no missionary learned of the practice of polygamy while still in England but rather learned of its practice once they arrived in Zion and it was too late to return home. Mormon missionary newspapers printed in England vhemently denied the practice of polygamy by LDS members in America and the reality of its practice was not formally made until 1852 and not an open topic while President Brigham Young ran the LDS Church. Brigham Young had 55 wives and more than that number in his own children, so this form of polygamy is unique to the US as an institution.

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