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Tuesday, 04 October 2016 19:12

Born where?

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 Maryam Monsef, seated with her niece, Leila Taheri, Leila’s parents Mina Monsef and Mehdi Taheri (centre standing), plus sister Mehrangiz Monsef and mother Soriya Basir-Monsef.

           Peterborough (including Trent Lakes) MP Maryam Monsef was not born in Herat, Afghanistan—as she has always claimed. According a Globe and Mail article published Sept. 22, she was actually born in Mashhad, Iran.

            As Monsef’s arrival with her mother and siblings in Canada as refugees from Afghanistan has long been a

part of her feel-good life story—a story that helped her get elected MP last year—the rookie MP immediately put out a statement to explain her situation. Here are excerpts from that statement:

             “In recent days, my mother told me for the first time that my sisters and I were in fact born in Mashhad, Iran, approximately 200 kilometers from the Afghan border.

             “Following my parents’ wedding in Herat, the local security situation became untenable. The town was severely damaged by war and thousands were killed. 

            “No longer safe in their home town, my parents decided not to take risks and went to Mashhad, Iran, where they could be safe.

            “While we were technically safe in Iran, we did not hold any status there, and like the thousands of other Afghan refugees, we were not afforded all of the same rights and privileges given to Iranian citizens.

            “After my father’s death, we travelled back and forth between Afghanistan and Iran when the security situation permitted it.

             “My sisters and I asked my mother why she never told us we were born in Iran. She told us she did not think it mattered. We were Afghan citizens, as we were born to Afghan parents, and under Iranian law, we would not be considered Iranian citizens despite being born in that country. 

             “Conflict has robbed me of a father, and it has scarred my family and I for life. We thankfully found a welcoming home in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, where we began the challenging and difficult process of resettlement. 

             “Coming to Canada as a refugee—20 years strong, and now a member of cabinet in the 42nd Parliament—I feel a tremendous deal of responsibility in upholding all that this great country has allowed me to become. This includes accountability to the public and transparency.

             “Canada has played an important role in allowing me to become who I am today. It’s the only place I’ve ever truly felt I belonged, and I couldn’t be more proud to be Canadian.”

Read 840 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 19:17

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