Canada discovers its first Muslim refugee to become a cabinet member faked her background
When Maryam Monsef was installed as Canada’s minister of democratic institutions last November, she was the poster child for refugee advocates.
President Barack Obama even spoke of her in favorable terms during his address to the Canadian House of Commons in June of this year:
The girl who fled Afghanistan by donkey and camel and jet plane and who remembers being greeted in this country by helping hands and the sound of robins singing, and today, she serves in this chamber and in the cabinet because Canada is her home.
All was fine and dandy in this little fairy tale until Robert Fife of the Globe and Mail committed journalism on September 22 by publishing an earth-shaking article that revealed how Monsef’s story about being born in Afghanistan was inaccurate. She was actually born in Iran:
Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef, whom the Liberals have championed as this country’s first Afghan-born MP, says she was actually born and lived most of her early life in Iran before arriving with her mother and two younger sisters in Canada as refugees.
This revelation contradicts a key narrative that Ms. Monsef has built ever since she entered public life as a local politician in Peterborough, Ont., and when she ran for Parliament in the 2015 election.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, “[t]he Prime Minister’s Office said it had no idea that such a fundamental feature of Ms. Monsef’s life story was wrong. Officials scrambled to put together a detailed timeline of her family’s life in Iran and Afghanistan and the journey to Canada.”
Scramble to put together a detailed timeline of a key governmental minister? What could possible go wrong? The national security failure on the part of the Trudeau government was breathtaking:
When asked why security vetting for cabinet posts didn’t uncover this error, an official said “we learned of this information about Maryam Monsef’s place of birth when it was brought to us recently by the The Globe and Mail.”
In other words, the government of Canada’s leadership only learned that their “Minister of Democratic Institutions” was born in the Islamofascist authoritarian nation of Iran through reporting in a national newspaper nearly one year after Monsef’s appointment.
According to Monsef, the blame for this misrepresentation lies entirely with her mother: “For years, Ms. Monsef’s mother allowed her daughter to misrepresent her birthplace as she built a political base in Peterborough, including a failed run for mayor in 2014 and her successful win in last year’s general election.”
Except that as the days goes by, more and more questions about Monsef’s past arise, both for her and her family. At present, no national security investigations appear to have been publicly released on her and her family’s past, meaning that it is apparently unverified – potentially even unverifiable.
According to Monsef, it was apparently Fife’s recent reporting in the Globe and Mail that alerted Monsef to her own erroneous life story:
“In the last few days, my neat and tidy refugee story has proven to be a bit more complicated than I originally thought. [The Globe’s] inquiry led me to have a conversation with my mom and I have since found, while I am still an Afghan citizen, I was born in a hospital in Iran,” she said.
But in a June interview with the same journalist, Monsef said the following:
In June, Robert Fife, then host of CTV’s Question Period, asked Monsef in an interview if she was born in Afghanistan. “I believe I was,” Monsef replied.
I believe I was? Monsef was not sure at that time? When did her uncertainty as to her real birthplace arise? More questions, and even fewer answers. Nothing more than uncritical softballs lobbed at her from Canada’s “journalism” establishment.
According to Monsef, “she now knows she was born at a hospital in Mashhad, Iran, in an area with a large Afghan population. She says her mother never told her she was born in Iran because she didn't think it was important.”
Didn’t think it was important? Misrepresenting the place of birth on an immigration application is a very serious offense and renders the application false and subject to a variety of remedies, including citizenship revocation and deportation. Monsef herself went so far as to justify her mother’s apparently false statements to immigration authorities, which in itself renders her unfit for holding a ministerial position.
Follow-up reporting by Fife and Michelle Zilio on September 22 made the situation even more problematic:
Ms. Monsef also corrected her birthday on her parliamentary website, which had been listed as November, 1985, to a year earlier.
Other than Fife’s original investigations, the only journalist who has been seriously probing Monsef’s past is Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan Halevi, co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. On September 23, Halevi published two screencaptures from the Parliament of Canada website showing how Monsef’s birthplace and birth date had recently changed from November 1985 in Herat, Afghanistan to November 7, 1984 in Iran.
But here is the problem. This suggests that up until very recently, Monsef believed – based on the story her mother apparently told her – that she was born in November 1985. And yet, in her “maiden speech” to the House of Commons on January 25, 2016, Monsef states the following at about 1m:15s in reference to herself: “Where the concept of a 31 year old parliamentarian and cabinet minister was unthinkable.”
Thirty-one years old as of January 25, 2016? If Monsef believed she was born in November 1985 as of this date, she would be only 30 years and two months old, not 31. Leaving aside the utterly bizarre situation where we have a minister of democratic institutions in a major Western nation changing both her birthplace and birth date well after holding office, the information at hand suggests that Monsef may not have believed she was born in November 1985 much earlier than media reports otherwise suggest. Monsef’s Wikipedia page history also shows birth date changes going back and forth over the past year, which seems most odd.
Next we have the questions about Monsef’s memories. According to the Globe and Mail:
The Prime Minister’s Office also provided a detailed timeline of Ms. Monsef’s life that showed she was born and lived until age 9 in Iran. The family moved to her mother’s family home in Herat, Afghanistan in 1993 and then fled the Taliban in 1996, ending up in Canada where they claimed refugee status.
In interviews, Monsef has claimed that she has “very warm memories of growing up as an Afghan in an Afghani community.”
Monsef’s own Twitter feed, and that of others discussing her, adds to the questions surrounding national security. A tweet about Monsef in March 2016 refers to Monsef “speaking about how her (attempted) trip to Iran in 2004 fuelled her passion.” In June 2014, Monsef retweeted that she was “talking about her recent trip to Iran.” On June 15, 2013, she indicated that “the Nikah ceremony is a great symbol of that whole matrimonial practice/process. Sharia fascinates me :).”
According to separate media reports in the National Post, the Toronto Sun, and even the Los Angeles Times, knowledge that Monsef was actually born in Iran was widespread in her electoral district for at least several years, claims that contradict Monsef’s original and revised narrative.
Monsef’s supporters in the media and academic circles are working feverishly to protect her from what is most needed: a full, public national security investigation conducted by the RCMP (Canada’s national police force) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, working in concert with security agencies in the USA, the U.K., and Israel as needed for additional resources and objectivity.
Aisha Ahmad, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and the director of the Islam and Politics Initiative at the Munk School of Global Affairs, wrote an article attempting to dismiss any concerns over Monsef’s apparently unverifiable and controversial history while claiming “there are a few ignorant people out there who are saying she's not a real Afghan,” also tweeting that she’s “[s]uper proud of @MaryamMonsef - got your back, girl.”
Got your back? Objective, critical investigations are needed, not a defense network that includes other academics incorrectly referring to those with concerns regarding Monsef’s background as an “unfortunate crop of Canadian birthers.”
The supposed “birther” claim, which seems to have originated from Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick, that other academics are also spewing forth seems to conveniently overlook there is no “birther” controversy in this case: Monsef herself has admitted her original birthplace story was incorrect. At VICE Canada, serious questions about Monsef are potentially “just a racist witch hunt.”
On the contrary, if the backgrounds of elected officials cannot be verified, they should not be allowed to hold office. This applies to individuals born within the nation, as well as immigrants, and especially applies to immigrants with family ties back through problematic regimes, which includes not just Iran, but China, Russia, and so forth. Race is irrelevant, unless you are a race-baiter or members of the mainstream media attempting to dampen further investigations.
The Liberal Party of Canada will try to bury this scandal. The left-of-center New Democratic Party won’t touch it because it has long defended mass migration, and its position on national security is nonexistent (which helps explain why its public support is nearing single digits). That leaves the Conservative Party of Canada, which has, unfortunately, been neutered on issues of this type after succumbing to the ceaseless bullying by liberals in the media and academia.
An objective and rigorous investigation is required. One that isn’t tainted by the “screamers” who have a hysterical fit every time basic questions of national security are raised. And once that investigation is complete, then Canada can decide what – if any – steps are needed. But sweeping an issue of this magnitude under the carpet is a non-starter.