Time Shift is a smart, funny and thrilling science fiction novel filled with lovable and relatable characters.

Author Kris Trudeau weaves a seamless story between four different time zones and more than 10 main characters. I absolutely loved all the attention to details in the story, including description of various “future” tools, cars, machines and equipment and the different way things are done in the future, including machine delivery pizza. The details give this book a very realistic feel even though quite a bit of the story is set in 2095 and 2097.

Another engaging part of this novel is the characters. Even though there are quite a few characters in this book, the author takes her time and does a wonderful job of developing a story line for each character, including a past history, believable story line and fascinating personalities to match. While reading this novel I felt connected to many of the characters both male and female and found myself rooting for them throughout the story.

While I am generally not a science fiction fan, I can honestly say I enjoyed this book thoroughly and had a hard time putting it down. There is enough in the book, with different relationships and different story lines that can draw in anyone who likes to read a good story with many twists and turns.

I highly recommend this book and looking forward to Kris Trudeau’s future novels!

I was provided with a review copy of this novel.

Serious Health Concerns for Arash Sadeghi after a 42 day Hunger Strike!

Arash Sadeghi and his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee must be freed immediately and unconditionally!

Arash Sadeghi is an Iranian human rights activist who is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence on trumped up charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.” In reality Arash is a human rights activist who has been arrested, tortured and imprisoned for his peaceful human rights activities.

Aras Sadeghi’s wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is also a political prisoner who is serving a six year prison sentence at the notorious Evin prison for “insulting Islamic sanctities”. Golrokh is a peaceful activist and a writer, and the true reason for her imprisonment is an unpublished story she wrote about stoning in Iran.

42 days ago Arash Sadeghi went on a hunger strike in protest to the arrest and imprisonment of his wife. There are some unconfirmed reports that Arash was able to hear Golrokh being tortured in a cell nearby. According to reports coming in from activists in Iran Arash’s health is deteriorating at an alarming rate, and prison officials have had no choice but to transfer him to a hospital outside of the prison.

It is sad and disappointing to see this young and brave couple be sentenced to a combined 21 years of prison in the brutal Evin prison, for their peaceful human rights activities, while the Canadian Liberal Government turns a blind eye to this atrocity and considers re-establishing its political ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran.

Arash Sadeghi, Golrokh Ebrahimi and all other political prisoners in Iran must be released IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDITIONALLY. Canada must start to hold the Islamic Regime in Iran accountable for the violent human rights abuses it carries out on a systematic basis.

Mousavi Ardebili, a founding member of the Islamic Republic Party and a close friend to Khomeini (the butcher of Iran) died this week in Iran at the age of 90.

Mousavi Ardebili was appointed as Chief Justice of Iran in 1981 and remained Chief Justice until 1989. Ardebili was a key perpetrator in the 1988 massacre of thousands of Iranian political prisoners, who were subjected to 10 minute mock trials behind closed doors, and were summarily executed. Ardebili’s support and complacency for the mass murder of thousands of political prisoners was confirmed in a letter written by Ali Montazeri to Khomeini (the butcher of Iran) which stated:

“This situation with Mr. Mousavi Ardebili whom I know to be more liberal than others, he said in the Friday prayer that all of them must be executed…And then people chant during the Friday prayers that the Monafegin (Mujahedin) prisoners much be executed.”

It should be noted that Montazeri himself was a founder and a key figure in the Islamic Republic Party, and a designated successor to the “Supreme Leader” Khomeini. In fact between 1985 and 1989 he served as the “Deputy Supreme Leader”, and was arguably the second most powerful person in the country, yet he did not stop or interfere with the massacre of thousands of political prisoners, many of whom had already served their prison sentences.

While many Reformists consider both Ardebili and Montazeri as figures who opposed the 1988 Iranian Massacre, it is crucial to remember their positions within the government, and the power they possessed at the time these atrocities took place. While some groups might want to “re-write” history, we will not forget the role Ardebili and Montazeri played in one of the most heinous crimes against humanity in modern history.

Sayeh Hassan, Iranian Canadian Lawyer and Chairwoman of Marze Por Gohar Movement Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran

Long Live Iran

Press Release

TORONTO

Date: November 17th 2016

Statement of Sayeh Hassan , the New Chairwoman of the MPG Resistance Movement

It is with great pleasure that I announce my election as the Chairwoman of the Marzepogohar Resistance Movement of Iran (MPG).

When I decided to become a political activist and fight against the Islamic dictatorship some 15 years ago, I was quite inexperienced; however, there were certain principles that were engrained in me and I knew I would never compromise.

I believed and still do, that Iran needs to become a Secular Republic, that the Islamic Regime in Iran must be overthrown by the people of Iran without any foreign military interference, and that the Iranian people must be able to choose their own path. Lastly, I have always been proud of our history and our ancient Lion and Sun flag which I have named my blog after.

Having armed myself with these principles I started searching for people or organizations that had similar beliefs, hopes and dreams for Iran, and that’s when I discovered and joined the Marzeporgohar Movement (formerly, MPG Party) in 2003. After a few years I was promoted to the Head of the Human Rights Committee where I focused on bringing awareness about the human rights situation in Iran.

Over the past 15 years of my activism, I have never come across a political party, movement or organization whose ideals, goals and dreams align with mine the way it has with Marzeporgohar and the wonderful, smart and hard working people who have made this organization what it has become.

That is why I feel privileged to have been elected as the Chairwoman of the Marzepogohar Movement, and I look forward to following in the steps of Roozbeh Farahanipour, the founder and the outgoing Marzeporgohar Chairman, who with his hard work, dedication and the love he has for Iran and Iranians, has been able to make the Marzeporgohar Movement a real threat to the Theocratic dictatorship in Iran.

I have every intention of using my expertise as a Criminal Defence Lawyer and my experience as a political activist and blogger to ensure that we continue in the path towards success which can only be realized by the overthrow of the Islamic Regime in Iran and the establishment of a secular and democratic republic.

Among the things I would love to see us accomplish in the next year are the development of an extensive English website where we can reach out to the younger Iranian generation living abroad who may not be fluent in reading or writing in Farsi, as well as promoting our movement in Canada and European Countries where they may not be as familiar with the Marzeporgohar Movement as they are in Iran and in the United States. I would like to see us building similar connections, both politically and through the media in other countries, as we currently have in the United States.

I strongly believe that the path to political success will come from the involvement and support of the younger Iranian generation both inside and outside of Iran. To that end, we must make greater use of social media including Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Youtube, Skype and other available and popular Apps in Iran, in order to ensure that we are connected to the younger generation, to guarantee that they can hear us, and most importantly that We can HEAR THEM.

I look forward to working with all Marzeporgohar members to take the Marzeporgohar Movement to the Next Level and ever closer to the overthrow of the Islamic Regime in Iran and the rebuilding of our beautiful mother country

Sayeh Hassan

Chairwoman

Marze Por Gohar resistance movement

Down with Islamic Republic of Iran

Long Live Iran

Contact: Sayehhassan30@gmail.com

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a young Iranian activist and writer was arrested on October 24th after the Islamic authorities violently raided her home and broke her front door.

According to Amnesty International and other news sources she has been transferred to the notorious Evin Prison to serve a six (6) year prison sentence on charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities.” Ms. Ebrahimi-Iraee’s husband Arash Sadeghi, a human rights activist and a political prisoner has started a hunger strike to protest her arrest.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is one many female Iranian activists and writers how have been arrested recently on trumped up charges, subjected to unfair trials behind closed doors with no due process and imprisoned.

Canada must condemn Islamic Regime’s systematic arrest of peaceful political activists and writers and condemn these brutal human rights violations. It’s crucial for Canada not to turn a blind eye to the Islamic Regime’s brutality and arrest of innocent young people who carry out their activism in a peaceful matter, especially while considering renewing diplomatic relations with this Islamic dictatorship, and re-opening their embassy in Ottawa.

See Below Amnesty International Report on Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee

The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release writer and human rights activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, following her arrest today, Amnesty International urged.

Despite the fact that no official summons has been issued, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee’s home was raided this morning by officials, who violently broke through her front door before taking her to Evin Prison in Tehran. It appears that she has been taken to the women’s ward to begin serving her six-year sentence. She has been convicted of charges including “insulting Islamic sanctities,” for writing an unpublished story about the horrific practice of stoning in Iran. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee’s husband, Arash Sadeghi, a human rights activist and prisoner of conscience, has since started a hunger strike in protest at her imprisonment.

“Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is the latest young writer and activist to be caught up in Iran’s relentless crackdown on artistic expression. Her imprisonment for peacefully voicing her opposition to stoning is a terrible injustice and an outrageous assault on freedom of expression. It is also a shocking and deeply disturbing display of support for the cruel and inhuman punishment of stoning,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“The Iranian authorities must break this cycle of injustice and immediately and unconditionally release Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee. We also urge them to ensure that her conviction is quashed.”

The unpublished fictional story, for which Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee has been convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities”, describes the emotional reaction of a young woman who watches the film The Stoning of Soraya M - which tells the true story of a young woman stoned to death for adultery - and becomes so enraged that she burns a copy of the Qur’an.

The story was discovered by authorities when Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was arrested together with her husband, Arash Sadeghi, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in Evin Prison on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “gathering and colluding against national security” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”, which stem from his peaceful human rights activities.

On 6 September 2014 both were arrested at Arash Sadeghi’s workplace in Tehran by men believed to be Revolutionary Guards. The men showed no arrest warrant, but took the couple back to their home, where they proceeded to search through their possessions and found the story which Golrokh Ebrahimi had written.

Arash Sadeghi was subsequently moved to Evin prison while Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was transferred to a secret location. She was detained there for one night before also being transferred to Evin prison, where she was held for 20 days without access to her family, a lawyer or a court. Her first three days were spent in solitary confinement.

During her detention, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was subjected to extended interrogations, where she was blindfolded and warned she could face execution for “insulting Islam”. In the next cell she could hear her husband being threatened and verbally abused by his interrogators. Arash Sadeghi has since stated that he was punched in the head, kicked, slapped and choked while in custody.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was tried and sentenced to six years imprisonment in two brief sessions by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. She had no legal representation at the trial. The first lawyer she appointed was put under pressure by intelligence and security officials to withdraw from the case, and the second was barred from reading her court case and representing her. She was not given the chance to speak in her own defence, because the first session was focused on her husband’s activism. At the second session she was in hospital recovering from major surgery and could not be present; she provided the court with her medical records, but her request to adjourn the hearing was rejected.

Earlier this month Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee received a phone call from the Centre for the Implementation of Sentences ordering her to present herself to Evin Prison to begin serving her six-year prison sentence, and threatening that if she did not she would be picked up on the street or her house would be raided. However, she was never served with a formal summons.

“Golrokh Ebrahimi is being punished for the peaceful exercise of her human rights. But the crime at the root of this case is Iran’s ongoing retention of the horrific practice of stoning, which amounts to torture. Instead of doggedly intimidating and imprisoning critical voices, the authorities should abolish this cruel punishment once and for all,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

“Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power” is a comprehensive book on Obamacare with in-depth discussions about the issues that led some groups to support it while others vehemently opposed it.

The book is expertly divided into eight (8) sections making it easy to follow and comprehend. Given the limited knowledge I had about Obamacare prior to reading Josh Blackman’s book I found section I-IV most useful for my purposes, as these sections gave an excellent overview of both legal and political issues related to Obamacare.

The first section “The Promise of Obamacare” discusses the birth of the bill and the legal issues that plagued it almost immediately. Part II “Conscience and Contraception” is probably one of the most interesting chapters with a focus on the controversial issues of abortion, contraception and the initial rejection of Obamacare by pro-life democrats.

Part III “shutdowns discusses Obama’s difficulty with the implementation of Obamacare and the problems surround the HealthCare.gov. website, while Part IV focuses on the time period between October 1st 2013 and December 30ths 2013 with a deeper look at the technical difficulties surrounding HealthCare.gov including the fact that only six (6) people were able to register on the first day that the website was launched.

As a criminal defence lawyer and a human rights advocate for me the most fascinating aspect of “Unraveled” was the deliberation surrounding the freedom of religion debate including the case law that was reviewed in detail and helped shed light on the issue as a whole.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Obamacare, even those with very limited knowledge, as Josh Blackman has managed to write a book that is both detailed, comprehensive and at the same time easy to follow and understand.

I was provided with a copy of this book for the purpose of review.

“One Cowrie Shell” is a tale of growing up, love, loyalty and betrayal. It’s the story of a young African tribesman Jaiye, whose love for Kambi causes him to betray his tribe and make terrible decisions that have serious consequences for himself and those around him.

While the story is historic with a focus on slavery some of the themes in the book are just as relevant today as they were during the time of slavery. In “One Cowrie Shell” two African tribes the Youruba and Dahomey are constantly battling each other, capturing prisoners and selling the prisoners to slave traders in return for cowrie shell’s and tools. While both tribes keep on fighting neither one has any idea when and why the fighting started and why it continues.

Unfortunately this theme is still very much relevant in today’s world where we see sects within countries destroying each other without gaining anything from the destruction, and various countries especially in the Middle East and Africa waging war against each other while those who are responsible for creating and selling weaponry benefit and profit from the destruction.

While I really enjoyed the story and the different themes in this book I found the writing itself can be improved, as there was a lot of repetition throughout the entire book. The constant repetition gave the book a simplistic style making it more appropriate for a younger audience. I would love to see a more polished and well edited version of this book, as the story itself is captivating and well worth the read.

I was provided with a review copy of this book for review purposes.

I recently had the pleasure of writing an op-ed on Women's Human Rights and Pro-Democracy movement in Iran for the "American Military News" Please see the op-ed below with the original link on the American Military Website.

“Female Chess Players threaten boycott after being told to wear hijab at the World Championship in Iran.”, “Iranian women defy Supreme Leader’s Fatwa against bicycling.” These are the news stories we have become accustomed to reading about women in Iran, the attempts by the Islamic Regime to repress women’s rights, and the fight of brave Iranian women against the Islamic tyranny in Iran.

Living in secular democracies may sometimes cause us to take for granted some of our most basic rights including the right to choose one’s own clothing, the right to choose what subjects to study, the right to choose a career path, the right to choose when and where to travel and the right to choose our partners and the type of relationship we would like to have.

Unfortunately in many Islamic countries, including Iran, women don’t have any of these basic rights that we enjoy in secular and democratic countries.

As young women grow up in Iran they are told that they have to cover themselves and wear the “Islamic Hejab” which is prescribed by law. From the very beginning this very basic right to choose what to wear is taken away from young women and lack of compliance often leads to arrests, imprisonment, and flogging.

Young women are not allowed to wear makeup or nail polish. They are not allowed to travel without the permission of their male guardian. Women are not allowed to enter relationships outside of marriage. Any relationship outside of marriage will lead to arrests, lashing, and even stoning. The barbaric act of stoning is still carried out by the Islamic Regime in Iran. Same sex relationships are also outlawed and a woman that chooses to enter into a same sex relationship can be flogged or even stoned.

In November of 2012 the Islamic Regime passed a new law banning women from entering 77 different degree programs from English Literature to Biology to mining engineering. This was part of Islamic Regime’s efforts to push women back in to the home instead of allowing women to be productive members of society. Fortunately this plan was not successful, Iranian women continue to attend university in large numbers and work outside of the home regularly.

Family Law in Iran is also stacked against women due to the oppressive nature of Sharia Law. Under Sharia law men can legally have up to four (4) permanent, and many temporary, wives and men are generally awarded the custody of their children after divorce. In 2013 the Islamic Regime approved a new law which allows men to marry their step children who are 13 years or older, essentially legalizing pedophilia.

While things might appear bleak for women in Iran, there is a bright light: the strength and determination of Iranian women to tirelessly fight for their rights. While women face systematic and widespread persecution by the Islamic Regime, they still manage to be in the forefront of the pro-democracy and human rights movements in Iran. In 2015 as part of the “Stealthy Freedom Movement” Iranian women took to social media to post pictures of themselves without the mandatory hejab, creating a major uproar not only within social media but internationally.

Most recently after the Fatwa of Ali Khamenei banning Iranian women from riding bikes, women took to social media once again posting pictures of themselves writing their bikes, clearly and openly defying this oppressive fatwa.

One of the things that has been significantly lacking in the past 35 years is the lack of support from women in democratic countries for women in Iran, however that seems to be changing significantly as women worldwide start to realize that violations of the rights of women in one country can affect the rights of women worldwide.

The most recent example of this is female chess players being told they must compete at next year’s world championship (which is being hosted in Iran) wearing the hijab. World’s top female chess players have reacted with horror to being forced to wear the mandatory hijab and have threatened to boycott the tournament. With strong international pressure from women worldwide I am hopeful that the Islamic Regime will be forced to take a step back, and every step back for the Islamic Regime is a step forward for the Iranian Women and the women’s rights movement in Iran!

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian Pro-Democracy activist. She is the author of the shiro-khorshid-forever blog (www.shiro-khorshid-forever.blogspot.com) which focuses on the pro-democracy movement and Regime Change in Iran.She regularly speaks at conferences, has appeared on television and radio programs and her writing has been published by publications such as National Post, Toronto Star & Ottawa Citizen. She can be contacted atsayehhassan30@gmail.com

آزادی دکتر هما هودفر شهروند ایرانی کانادا از زندان های رژیم جمهوری اسلامی خبر مسرت بخشی بود، اما نباید فراموش کرد که هم اکنون هزاران زندانی سیاسی دیگر در بند رژیم اسلامی اسیرند و سعید ملک پور شهروند ایرانی کانادایی یکی‌ دیگر از این زندانیان می باشد.

به عنوان یک فعال دموکراسی برای ایران ما می توانیم و باید نقش مهمی در تحت فشار گذاشتن رژیم جمهوری اسلامی داشته و رژیم را وادار کنیم که به خاطر نقض سیستماتیک حقوق بشر پاسخگو باشد. و اطمینان داشته باشیم صدای آنهایی که حقوق اولیه شان پایمال شده است را هم در کانادا و هم در سراسر جهان شنیده شده است.

نکته قابل اهمیتی که بایستی به آن اشاره کرد، این است که نقض سیستماتیک حقوق بشر در ایران، شامل دستگیری و زندانی مخالفان سیاسی یا آنهایی که به چشم مخالف سیاسی دیده می شوند، نشانگر معضلی بزرگتر در سیستم هست که گویای این است که دیکتاتوری اسلامی هیچ احترامی برای حقوق شهروندان خود ندارد. به عنوان شهروند ایرانی- کانادایی که ممکن است به کیس هایی مثل، دکتر هما هودفر و سعید ملک پور بیشتر بپردازیم نباید سرکوب زنان، معلمان، روزنامه نگاران، کارگران، دانشجویان، و مخالفان سیاسی رژیم را از یاد ببریم و هوشیارانه باید صدای آنها باشیم.

همچنین می بایستی دقت کنیم که پاره ای اوقات رژیم اسلامی احتمالا از افرادی مثل دکتر هودفر برای پیشبرد اهداف سیاسی خود استفاده می کند و در این مورد معین برای رابطه احتمالی دیپلماتیک مجدد با کانادا و بازگشایی احتمالی سفارت رژیم اوتاوا!

به عنوان جامعه ایرانی- کانادایی وظیفه ماست که نه تنها برای آزادی زندانیان سیاسی کمپین به راه بیاندازیم، بلکه برای یک ایرانِ سکولار- دموکراتیک بکوشیم. یکی از مهمترین وظایفی که ما می توانیم انجام دهیم ارتباط با دولت کانادا و آگاه کردن آنها از وضعیت زندانیان سیاسی می باشد و می توانیم از آنها در خواست کنیم که فشارِ سیاسی روی جمهوری اسلامی بگذارند. می بایست با نمایندگانِ خود در پارلمان و با مقامات دولتی که به حقوق بشر یا امور خارجه مربوط می شوند یا در این زمینه ها فعال هستند، ارتباط برقرار کنیم. مایه تاسف است که دولت لیبرال مایل به همکاری با جمهوری اسلامی می باشد و در نظر گرفته که به طور جدی برای بازگشایی سفارت جمهوری اسلامی تلاش کند. با این کار آنها چراغ سبز نشان می دهند که نقض حقوق بشر توسط جمهوری اسلامی در جامعه جهانی برایشان قابل تحمل است.

به خاطر این موضوع بسیار مهم است که ما، جامعه ایرانی کانادایی با نمایندگان خود ارتباط برقرار کنیم و آنها را در جریان نگرانی خود نسبت به وضعیت حقوق بشر و معضلات سیاسی قرار دهیم. همان قدر که مهم است نمایندگان خود را از وضعیت نابسامان حقوق بشر در ایران مطلع کنیم، می بایستی اذهان عمومی را نیز با نوشتن مقالات به زبان انگلیسی و با فعالیت گسترده در شبکه های اجتماعی مثل فیسبوک و توییتر، آگاه سازیم، تا بتوانیم با مردم کانادا ارتباط برقرار کنیم.

برای این کار ما نیاز داریم که با رسانه های چاپی، رادیو و تلویزیون کانادایی تماس برقرار کنیم تا بتوانیم پیام مان را در سطح گسترده به مردم کانادا برسانیم. هر فردی می تواند تغییری در جامعه به وجود بیاورد و این مستلزم برداشتن قدم هایی هر چند کوچک برای رساندن صدای بی صدایانی باشد که تحت سلطه جمهوری اسلامی هستند.

سایه حسن

وکیل ایرانی- کانادایی، وبلاگ نویس و کنشگر خواهان دموکراسی و مخالف جمهوری اسلامی

Please see the original article here

مسئولیت و راهکارهای جامعه ایرانی کانادایی در پیوند با نقض حقوق بشر در ایران

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Ottawa on Wednesday to meet with Justin Trudeau and discuss a possible Extradition Treaty between Canada and China. While China claims the extradition would be geared towards “economic fugitives” I am greatly concerned that real targets may be Chinese dissidents who are currently living in Canada.

As well it is no secret that China is one of the worst human rights violators in the world with the highest rate of execution per capita in the world. There is serious concern surrounding China’s judicial process including rule of law and due process. The Chinese Government systematically arrests, imprisons and tortures peaceful Falun Gong practitioners and there is credible evidence that China may be killing Falun Gong practitioners in prison, and selling their organs for profit!

China is also known for its execution of non-political prisoners including those accused of “economic crimes”. Agreeing to an Extradition Treaty with China will put Canada in the position of sending people back to face torture and even execution which goes against Canada’s obligations not to extradite people who would be facing the death penalty.

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the possible Extradition Treaty is that Prime Minister is doing it for economic gain only. Canada will not gain anything from an extradition treaty as China’s extradition law does not allow anyone of Chinese nationality to be extradited to a foreign country. Canada is only considering the extradition treaty in order to gain more favorable terms around Canola Imports!

If Justin Trudeau is willing to send people to their death for favorable terms surrounding Canola Import what is to stop him from agreeing to have an extradition treaty with a dictatorship like Iran for economic gain, and endanger the lives of Iranian Canadians like myself who are considered to be “criminals” by the Regime in Iran for our political activities against the dictatorship?

Today it’s Canada China, tomorrow it might be Canada Iran or Canada Saudi Arabia or any other dictatorship in the world. We need to speak up now to make sure human lives are not traded for economic gain at least in Canada.

The Honourable Justin Trudeau-Prime Minister of Canada:

The Honourable Stéphane Dion- Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Re: Canada must not Restore Diplomatic Ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran and has a Duty to Canadians not to re-open their Embassy in Ottawa When Canada decided to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran four years ago, many Iranian Canadians rejoiced that the Islamic Regime’s Embassy in Ottawa also known as the “House of Terror” would finally be shut down.

At the time many in the Iranian Canadian Community referred to the Embassy as the “House of Terror” because the Embassy served as an operation headquarters for attempts to spy on Canadians and manipulate public policy and opinion. It identified and intimidated pro-democracy activists, with particular regard to Iranian Canadian dissidents whose families in Iran may have been vulnerable. Along with front organizations Embassy personnel penetrated our universities and some “students” boasting embassy connections warned campus democracy activists not to get out of line.

On the eve of the four (4) year anniversary of Canada breaking diplomatic ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran, the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) created a petition asking the Canadian Government to re-establish ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran and to re-open the embassy.

It is important to note that ICC does not represent the Iranian Canadian Community as a whole, but only a small numbers of Iranians most of them currently based in Toronto. It is further important to note that while a fraction of our community may support the re-opening of the Islamic Regime Embassy in Ottawa, there is a large number of us who vehemently oppose it!

There is great concern among our community about Islamic Regime’s systematic human rights violations against women, students, journalists, workers, teachers, religious and ethnic minorities and political dissidents in Iran. We watch in horror as Islamic Regime continues to have one of the highest rates of executions in the world. We are horrified to watch our brothers and sisters as they are arrested, arbitrarily detained and tortured for peacefully protesting or standing up for their rights.

We are also extremely concerned about the health and well being of Iranian Canadians currently detained by the Islamic Regime in Iran, including Saeed Malekpour and Homa Hoodfar. As you are well aware Mr. Malekpour has been detained for over eight (8) years, while Ms. Hoodfar was arrested in June of this year and there are serious concerns with regards to her health.

Lastly as opponents of the Islamic Regime in Iran, and activists who campaigned for years for Canada to cut diplomatic ties with the Regime and shut down its embassy, we have serious concerns about the re-opening of the “House of Terror” and the effects that might have on our safety and safety of our families and friends in Iran, as well as our ability to peacefully oppose the Islamic Regime.

We are urging the Canadian Government to continue to take a strong stand against Iran’s human rights violations, and take into account the safety and security of Iranian Canadians living in Canada. We urge Canada not to re-engage with Islamic Regime at a time when the Regime is holding Iranian Canadians hostage and brutalizing its own people.

It’s crucial for Canada to take a strong stand and make it clear to the Islamic Regime that torture, rape, public executions and hostage taking of dual citizens will not be rewarded by renewal of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of the Islamic Regime’s Embassy.

Yours truly,

Sayeh Hassan, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-Democracy Activist

Mahmood Ahmadi, Women’s Rights, Children’s Rights and Worker’s Rights Activist

Radio Payam Canada

Mansoureh Nasserchian, Activist, freelancer

Shabnam Assadollahi, Human Rights Activist, Freelance journalist, Former Radio Producer and Host

Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court In Canada

Avideh Motmaen Far, political activist, journalist

Yad Mahmodi, Secretariat of the international Committee Against Execution

Iraj Rezaei, Council of Iranian Refugees and Immigrants in Toronto

Soheila Dalvand, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI), Canada branch

David Aram, Iranian, Canadian labour Solidarity, Canada

In “After Obama, Reviewing American Leadership, Restoring Global Order” Robert Singh does a brilliant job of setting out challenges faced by the Obama administration with respect to foreign policy, analyzing the approaches taken by Obama and finally making suggestions on what the new U.S. administration can do to combat those challenges, and to make sure the United States remains a strong force in world politics.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was “underinvestment in the military and overinvestment in global cooperation has left America with more international challenges but fewer capabilities to meet them.” Singh is referring to both threats posed by an “exploding Middle East” as well as “existential threats on the USSR’s scale”. I found myself agreeing with most of Singh’s analysis and reasoning, and found them to be soundly based on objective facts and statistics.

As an Iranian-Canadian pro-democracy activist for me some of the most interesting parts of the book dealt with Iran and how Obama chose to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat. The author discusses in length the Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and makes the analogy “despite the administration offering less an olive branch than entire forest for a nuclear accord.” I certainly agree with the analysis that Obama not only made huge concessions in order to have Iran sign the nuclear agreement (without Iran making similar concessions), Obama also chose to turn a blind eye to Iran’s systematic human rights violations, and gave the Islamic dictatorship the green light to carry on with arresting, torturing and murdering its citizen.

I found a lot of data and statistics in this book to be stirring, in that they show how fluid politics can be and how issues that are not significant during one election campaign may become crucial during the next campaign.

Robert Singh also took some time to give an overview of the history behind both the Republican and Democratic Party and their historic stand on foreign policy, which put the current election campaign and the rise of the two current Presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton into perspective.

I really enjoyed reading this book and found it easy to digest. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in U.S. politics and foreign policy.

I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.

Hard To Believe is a documentary about the state approved murder of Falun Gong practitioners in China, in order to harvest their organs. While many of us may be familiar with the systematic human rights violations in China, which include the imprisonment and torture of Falun Gong practitioners, very few of us are familiar with organ harvesting in China. Hard To Believe sheds light on this inhumane practice by the Chinese Government.

Hard To Believe is about 56 minutes long and very engaging from the beginning to the end. It gives a great overview of the persecution of Falun Gong practice which is a peaceful spiritual practice that focuses on truth and compassion. The Chinese Government considers Falun Gong a cult and started the crackdown on its practitioners in 1999.

According to Hard To Believe there are between half a million to one million Falun Gong Practitioners in prison at any given time in China. The documentary discusses the mandatory blood and eye tests and organ examinations directed at Falun Gong practitioners. We hear from Enver Tohti, a former Chinese surgeon who was told to remove the organs of a live prisoner who had just been shot to be executed. The shot had not killed the prisoner, however Tohti was told not to worry about anesthesia and remove the organs as soon as possible.

We also hear from former political prisoners who were imprisoned and tortured, but also subjected to cornea tests, extensive blood tests and organ examinations.

David Matas a Canadian human rights lawyer who has done extensive research on this issue and has tried to shed light on the brutal practice of organ transplant in China tells us how the organs of Falun Gong practitioners are ideal because of their healthy life styles, and the Chinese Government sells these organs for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the tragedies we learn about in this documentary is the silence of the main stream media, which essentially amounts to giving China the green light to keep on murdering prisoners of conscience to sell their organs for a profit.

After watching this documentary you come to realize it is NOT hard to believe, and it is happening, and it’s time for the international community to stand up and condemn organ harvesting in China. I highly recommend this documentary to any human rights activist or organization who is interested in the human rights situation in China. I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.hardtobelievemovie.com/ and learn how to help.

I was provided with a free copy of this documentary for review purposes.

“Resurrection an American Journey” is a provocative philosophical read that requires thinking and analysis. While I initially had some difficulty following the plot, soon things started falling into place and making sense, and I started to slowly connect the dots.

This book touches on so many subjects relevant to today, including philosophy, economy, politics, war and religion and it forces the reader to take a deeper look and develop a new understanding for each of these subjects.

One of the most fascinating themes within this book is the concept of Have’s v. Have Not’s and how a small but a powerful group is able to manipulate the larger group in upholding the status-quo.

The author WH WiseCarver does a brilliant job of developing memorable characters, some like Mickslaw who we love to hate, and others like Danzig a proud, dignified Captain who refuses to compromise his principles even under the most difficult circumstance.

“Resurrection an American Journey” is not an easy beach read, but it’s clever, fast paced and will make you pause and question the status quo. A very rewarding read I recommend to anyone who is not afraid to dig deep, and find new meaning within older concepts.

I was provided with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Roozbeh Farahanipour an Iranian in exile who lives in United States as a political asylum and an international leader in the Iranian pro-democracy movement is one of the eight (8) candidates who is seeking to replace Ahmed Shaheed as the next U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights in Iran.

Mr. Farahanipour is a well known pro-democracy and human rights activist who founded and became the Chairman of the Marze Por Gohar resistance movement as well as founding the National Society of Journalists in Iran. As an outspoken Islamic Regime opponent he was imprisoned by the Regime three times the final time being in 1999 and was forced to escape from Iran. In 2000 Mr. Farahanipour received political asylum in the United States where he continues his lifelong passion of advocating for human rights and democracy in Iran.

Since his arrival in the United States, Mr. Farahanipour has demonstrated his dedication to civic engagement by becoming involved with the Westwood Village Rotary Club. As the International Chair of the Club he has worked to build connections with other members of the worldwide organization in an effort to mobilize resources for the purpose of advancing international understanding of good will and peace.

In the past 15 years Mr. Farahanipour has continued his activism by advising government officials both in Washington D.C. and California, and has spoken in countless universities across the United States. He has also received numerous Certificates of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles, the California State Assembly, the California State Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

The untimely removal of Mr. Ahmed Shaheed has been welcomed by high officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as reported by numerous media sources in that country. Mr. Shaheed has issued numerous reports about systematic human rights violations in Iran, focusing international attention on the persecution of women, children, ethnic and religious minorities as well as political opposition.

The Islamic Regime in Iran now seeks to have someone appointed who will not be critical of Regime’s brutal and systematic human rights violations in order to allow them to continue ruling through fear and oppression. It is crucial for the United Nations to take a strong stand and make it clear that they are committed to upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations aims to uphold and protect the rights and freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through various measures including multilateral treaties, courts and tribunals and Roozbeh Farahanipour’s leadership and expertise qualify him as an excellent candidate for appointment as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.

The Lafayette Campaign is a masterfully crafted satirical page turner. In this cyber thriller, our hero “Frank,” a quirky and eccentric “cyber geek” will keep you smiling and at times laughing out loud when he tries to figure out who is manipulating the election polls, while attempting to write a novel about his previous adventures.

Andrew Updegrove does a brilliant job of creating likeable characters one can relate to, while weaving a gripping story with constant twists and turns you never see coming. The story moves at a very fast pace, but it’s easy to follow, enjoyable and impossible to put down.

This is one the best and most entertaining books I have read this year, and I would highly recommend it not only to “cyber geeks” and anyone interested in cyber security issues, but also to anyone with any interest in politics, elections, or anyone who is simply looking to read a fun yet technically accurate book with unforgettable characters you can’t stop thinking about long after you have finished the novel.

I loved how Andrew Updegrove was able to make such a technical subject so fun and entertaining, and can’t wait for “Frank’s” next adventure!

I was provided with a copy of this novel for review.

As a criminal defense lawyer with a serious interest in the human rights situation in the Middle East I found "As the Dust Devils Danced" a necessary, enticing and informative read.

The author Jeffrey Crowther gives the reader an in depth insider view of the lengthy and difficult process of developing a sustainable justice system in the Uruzgar Region of Afghanistan.

In my opinion one of the most fascinating aspects of this book is the detailed discussion about the opium trade in Afghanistan and its role and integration within the Justice System. It appears everyone of consequence in Afghanistan has a hand in the opium trade and controlling the opium trade brings power, prestige and money, all things necessary when developing a sustainable justice system in a country with verity of cultural tribes competing for power.

I also enjoyed reading about the integration of Rule of Law, Sharia and the Afghan culture in the development of the Justice system.

What I would have enjoyed reading about a bit further would have been any role played by the Afghan women within the justice system, sadly the lack of this discussion may have more to do with the fact tha twomen currently have very little if any role within the Afghan Justice system.

Overall an informative must read for anyone interested in the human rights issues in the Middle East especially with a special interest in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday August 2nd 2016 The Islamic Regime in Iran executed more then 20 Kurdish activists of Sunni decent. While all these activists were “convicted” of allegedly committing terrorism related offences, there is serious doubt and concern about the lack of both due process and rule of law which eventually led to these mass executions.

The Islamic Regime in Iran is known for their lack of due process especially with respect to political prisoners. Often political prisoners are subjected to 10 minute mock trials, behind closed doors and without a jury, and more often then not without access to a lawyer.

The use of forced confessions obtained under torture is widespread and it’s often the only piece of “evidence” used to convict political prisoners of crimes they have not committed. The Islamic Regime in Iran is one of the world’s top executioners with at least 230 people having been executed so far this year. It is crucial to note that the number of actual executions might be much higher as many executions are also carried out behind the closed doors of prisons and are not reported.

While many of those executed are political prisoners who have not had a fair trial, the Regime in Iran does not discriminate when it comes to executions. Amnesty International recently reported the execution of a homosexual juvenile offender Hassan Afshar (19) who was convicted of “forced male to male anal intercourse.” By executing juvenile offenders the Islamic Regime in Iran has show that they have zero regard or respect for international conventions protecting the rights of juvenile offenders.

Canada must condemn the recent wave of political and non-political executions and hold the Islamic Regime in Iran accountable for their systematic lack of due process and legal procedure for detainees who have been charged with both political and non political offences.

Canada cannot turn a blind eye to the Islamic Regime’s serious and systematic human rights violations while considering renewing its political relationship with the Regime, until and unless the issues of human rights and mass executions are properly addressed.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian-Canadian lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activists

“The Sacred Calling” is a fascinating collection of essays tracing the history of women in the rabbinate, focusing on both their personal and professional lives. The book is divided into seven (7) broad sections including “Those Who Came Before Us”, “Reform Ordination of Women”, “Ripple Effects: The Impact of Ordaining Women”, “Women Rabbis and Feminism”, “Jewish Life”, “Congregational Culture and Community Life” and finally “image”. Each section contains numerous essays dealing with different aspects of each topic.

History of women in the rabbinate is fascinating, not unlike the history of any other field where women pioneers have paved the way for the future generation. I enjoyed learning about the very first women who were ordained, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

One of my favorite quotes from the book states:

"Women’s stories are particularly vulnerable since, until recently, we were not the keepers of these stories. What will happen to our stories, the stories of women breaking through the barriers at the admissions office of HUC-JIR, coping with an institution built for only male students, professors who were not used to women students, and the barriers of congregations who didn’t want women rabbis as their leaders, once we, who experienced these things, pass from the world?" (Who Controls the Narrative? P. 7)

What makes this book really special is not the fact that it tells the story of these women, but that the story is told by some of the very same women who lived through the challenges of becoming rabbi’s in a male oriented religious structure. We hear firsthand from these women the challenges they faced and how they persevered.

I particularly enjoyed the essay “Women Rabbis in Israel” which dealt with professional experiences unique to female clergy, and the way these women confronted such experiences including overt sexism with humor, confidence and zeal.

This book is a must read not only for those in the Jewish faith, but for anyone interested in learning about how historically marginalized groups, challenges they faced and how they managed to overcome the barriers and succeed.

Iran Star Toronto has published a paid add for "Sighe" temporary marriage also known as islamic prostitution in their paper. The Regime in Iran has used "sighe" or temporary marriages which can be as short as an hour to legalize prostituion and further marginalize women who have no other way of making an income. Now the Islamic Regime is attempting to bring the practice of "sighe" to Canada. This is totally unacceptable and goes against all of our Canadian Values.

Toko Loshe’s novel Shades of Africa is a riveting page turner about growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid. The story is told through the lenses of a young girl growing up in a family with a violent father and a passive mother, in the background of the violence and horror of the South African apartheid.

What I loved about this novel was the seamless parallel story lines between the personal and political. While Shades of Africa sets out an accurate and heartbreaking account of the Apartheid, that is not the only focus of the book. The novel discusses in a very frank manner domestic violence and abuse of women and children during that time.

The story focuses on a young girl Shirley who grows up in a family with an alcoholic and abusive father who takes no issue with violently beating his wife and children on a regular basis. Unfortunately Shirley’s mother is no protection against the abuse, in fact she is a passive woman who often gives up on her own needs and wants and goes along to get along. It’s quite tragic that Shirley grows up to end up in a similar situation as her mother, in a violent abusive relationship and children that she must protect.

One of the most intriguing things about this novel is the fact that a lot of the issues in the books are still very much current and relatable. While the Apartheid in South Africa has ended there is still so much violence and discrimination going on in many countries around the world, where dictatorships continue to persecute religious and ethnic minorities. As well the domestic violence of women and children are still prevalent in many countries in the world.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the South African Apartheid or general issues of oppression of ethnic or religious minorities.

Today I attended the Turkish “Anatolia” Festival at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto, expecting a wonderful experience filled with Turkish culture, art, food and music. I had been looking forward to this festival for weeks as I have a very special place in my heart for Turkey and its wonderful people, and couldn’t wait to get a taste of everything Turkey.

Unfortunately what I came across was anything BUT Turkish, but everything Islamic. One of the most noticeable things when I arrived was the fact that 90% of the women who were either selling tickets or were in the booths were covered from head to toe with the Islamic Hijab. Turkish women are some of the best dressed, beautiful and modern women in the world; however anyone attending this festival would have been left with the impression that Turkey has an Islamic dress code for women, as there were very few women who were not covered head to toe. What was more disturbing was the clothing booth selling Islamic Hijab outfits at very discounted prices, while there was not a single booth selling or advertising either Turkish modern clothes or the gorgeous and colorful traditional outfits worn by women while performing traditional dances.

In terms of music the major featured band was a NON-Turkish group called Dean-Squad who are known for their Islamic music. I have nothing against this band and had not heard of them prior to the Turkish festival; however I was left very confused about why a Turkish Festival organized by the cultural branch of the Turkish Embassy would not feature a Turkish band for their festival… While I did not have an opportunity to watch Dean Squad’s performance, I did have a chance to watch another live performance of a Turkish groups who seemed to be chanting the Arabic word “Allah,Allah” which means God, instead of singing anything in Turkish.

Other areas of concern were the displaying of the Ottoman Empire Flag beside the Turkish red moon crescent and star flag. One of the major differences between the Ottoman Flag and the Turkish Flag is the representation of the “Caliphate” the Supreme religious leaders of an Islamic State within the Ottoman Flag. The Ottoman Flag represents the Caliphate in green colors and the Sultanate in red colors. While the Ottoman Flag represents Islam as much as the Ottoman Sultans, the current Turkish Flag is secular and does not represent Islam. For the first time in my life I attended a Turkish event where the Ottoman Flag was displayed along with the Turkish Flag no doubt to represent Recep Erdogan’s strong Islamic affiliation.

I was sad to see there was not even a single picture of Mustafa Kemal ATATURK, the founder of Republic of Turkey who modernized Turkey and created a secular government. Ataturk is a well loved and respected figure in Turkey; in fact his surname Ataturk means “the Father of Turks”. The Islamic Government of Erdogan has done everything in its power to reverse everything Ataturk did to secularize and modernize Turkey, however I can’t see the people of Turkey allowing Erdogan to get away with that.

The festival was not all bad as I had a chance to meet a wonderful Turkish woman who hand makes beautiful soaps, and had a chance to speak to two beautiful and talented ladies who had come from Turkey to display their art first in the Montreal Jazz festival and then in the Turkish Festival in Toronto.

Unfortunately apart from those three wonderful ladies there was nothing Turkish about this so called Turkish festival. Turkish art, music, cinema, clothes and literature was all missing, however Islamic clothes, books and culture were plentiful.

After waiting for weeks to attend this Turkish festival I left disappointed, confused and mostly sad for Turkey and its wonderful people who are being represented by an Islamic Extremist Government who is doing everything it can to change a secular and modern country into an Islamic Dictatorship. While disappointed I also have great faith and hope in the people of Turkey, the descendants of Ataturk who will not allow Erdogan’s dictatorship to destroy their country.

Long Live a free and secular Turkey

I am so saddened to see the ever increasing number of suicide bombings in Turkey, a country that has always been very close to my heart. No doubt Erdogan's Islamic extremism, the persecution of Kurdish minority and Erdogan’s support for ISIS has led to the increase in terrorism killing innocent people and destroying Turkey’s tourism industry. Such a shame...

10 dead after explosions at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk: Media reports

This year once again Islamic extremist groups and organizations who support the brutal and systematic human rights violations by the Islamic Regime in Iran and who openly call for the destruction of Israel will be holding another Al-Quds “Hate Rally” in front of the U.S. Consulate in Toronto on July 2nd 2016.

International Al-Quds day was founded by Ruholla Khomeini, the barbarous Islamic Dictator who high jacked the Iranian revolution of 1979 and was responsible for the arrest, torture and summary execution of thousands of political dissidents.

Khomeini’s Islamic Regime continues to reign terror on its own people, sponsor terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and has been trying for years to acquire nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly Islamic extremists and supporters of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and people who have zero regard for human rights and dignity rally on Al-Quds day every year by holding up pictures of Khomeini and flags of outlawed terrorist organizations.

They go on to praise the Islamic dictator Khomeini who is responsible for torture and murder of thousands of Iranians while they openly call for the destruction of Israel. Recently it was brought to my attention that Independent Jewish Voice, an organization that claims to be “human rights organization” has been actively participating in Al-Quds Day for the past several years and also had a speaker at the Memorial of Khomeini in May of this year.

I am very disappointed to see a group that recognizes itself as a human rights group turn a blind eye to the plight of millions of Iranian people suffering under the current Islamic Dictatorship, while praising Khomeini the founder of that dictatorship.

I call on all human rights and pro-democracy organizations and activists to join together and say No To Al-Quds Hate Rally in Toronto and anywhere else in Canada. I urge you to stand with the people of Iran in their fight for a democratic and secular Iran, rather than standing with the dictators that are responsible for the oppression of millions of Iranians.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian-Canadian lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activists

Today is the International Day to Support Iranian Political Prisoners. It was 7 years ago today that Neda Aghasoltan, a beautiful young woman was shot to death and murdered by Islamic Regime Agents for participating in a peaceful protest.

Unfortunately in the last 7 years things in Iran have become worse not better and the brutal prisons in Iran are still full with political prisoners. Today gives us an opportunity to stand in solidarity with all Iranian Political Prisoners and demand their immediate and unconditional freedom. The Islamic Regime in Iran must be held accountable for their brutal human rights violations.

Today we remember Jafar Azimzadeh, Zeynab Jaliliyan, Habibollah Latifi, Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand and so many others who have suffered at the hands of the Islamic Regime. We stand with them in their fight for a free and democratic Iran.

Book Review: Scapegoats-How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms: By Arsalan Iftikhar

I found Arsalan Iftikhar's book "Scapegotas" both fascinating and challenging to read, as while at some parts I found myself nodding and agreeing with Mr. Iftikhar in other parts of the book I found myself shaking my head and coming up with counter arguments.

In his book Mr. Iftikhar makes some excellent points about scapegoating of minorities by the government and social/ethnic majorities both historically and currently in the United Stated and in other countries in the world. I found his discussion on historic scapegoating of African Americans, Japanese Americans and Jewish Americans and its comparison to today's scapegoating of the Muslim American Community compelling.

As written by Martin Luther King in 1963 and referenced by Mr. Iftikhar " Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere." Mr. Iftikhar certainly does an excellent job of outlining the dangers of scapegoating minorities and its effects on society in large.

Where I found myself disagreeing with Mr. Iftikhar was the notion of "victim blaming" (at least that's the way I read it) of victims of Islamic Terrorism. A clear example is Mr. Iftikhar's clear reference to the terror rampage of Charlie Hebdo in January of 2015.

Mr. Iftikhar references the publication of "offensive" Muhammad Cartoon on a number of occasions including on page 108 where he states" But Charlie Hebdo's mean-spirited cartoons against the Muslim faith simply brought shrugs, or chuckles, from France's culturally savvy liberal champagne class." There are similar references throughout the book.

Based on what Mr. Iftikhar wrote about Charlie Hebdo terror it appears he almost believes the magazine brought the terror attack on themselves by publishing pictures of Muhammad which may have been offensive to some or even many Muslims worldwide.

While I found this aspect of his book somewhat controversial as a lawyer, blogger and a pro-democracy activist with a focus in the Middle East I found "Scapegoats" to be a worthwhile read dealing with both issues of Islalmophobia and the scapegoating of minorities both historically and currently and would recommend it to anyone with interests in these topics.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian-Canadian Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-democracy activist.

Homa Hoodfar an Iranian Canadian Professor at Concordia University has been arrested and imprisoned by the Islamic Regime in Iran.

According to news reports from CBC Ms. Hoodfar was in Iran conducting historical and ethnographic research on women’s role in the public.

Amanda Ghahremani, Ms. Hoodfar’s niece has told the CBC that Ms. Hoodfar was an academic conducting research; she was not a political activist and was in no way involved politically. Unfortunately Ms. Hoodfar is not the only Iranian Canadian arrested and imprisoned by the Islamic Regime in Iran. In 2003 Iranian Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested and imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison for taking pictures outside of the prison. She was brutally tortured and died as a result of torture.

Saeed Malekpour is another Iranian Canadian permanent resident who was arrested by the Islamic Regime in 2008 while visiting his ill father in Iran. He still remains imprisoned! While the Trudeau Government is seriously considering re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Islamic Regime in Iran, and re-opening their embassy in Ottawa, Islamic Regime continues to arrest and imprison Iranian-Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

If the Trudeau Government is determined to re-establish diplomatic relations at the very least it MUST implement serious checks and balances including making sure Human Rights issues including the rights of imprisoned Iranian Canadians are at the top of the discussion agenda.

Re-establishing diplomatic relations and re-opening the embassy before the establishment of serious pre-conditions, and without requiring the Islamic Regime to make any concessions, is nothing but turning a blind eye and giving the Regime the green light to continue with its systematic and wide spread human rights violations which are completely contrary to our fundamental Canadian values.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian Canadian lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activist fights in to change the Regime in Iran.

On May 25th 2016 17 Gold Miners were flogged in Iran for protesting against the layoff of 350 of their co-workers. A week later the Islamic Regime was attending the 104th session of the International Labour Board Conference in Geneva. A dictatorship that persecutes workers by imprisoning or lashing them for asking for their legal rights should not be allowed to attend international conferences on labour law! This is complete hypocrisy. The International Labour Board must condemn Islamic Regime's treatment of it's workers rather than allowing the Regime to make a mockery of the international labour conference!

Seventeen miners in northwestern Iran have been lashed on orders of the Judiciary after their employer sued them for protesting the firing of hundreds of their colleagues, the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported on May 25, 2016.

A prominent Kurdish Human Rights Activist and the former President of Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan has been on a hunger strike since May 8th 2016 to protest against new and unfounded charges brought against him.

Mr. Kaboudvand has been imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for over 9 years. While he has been approved for early release by prison officials the Prosecutor’s refuse to approve his release and continue to bring false political charges against him in order to continue his imprisonment.

Mr. Kaboudvand was taken to the hospital on May 25th 2016 and is at risk for a heart attack. While in prison for the past 9 years he has suffered from two heart attacks and numerous other health issues. It’s important to note Mr. Kaboudvand is not the only political prisoner who has recently gone on an extended hunger strike to protest against brutal human rights violations in Iran. Jafar Azimzadeh, a prominent labour activist has also been on hunger strike for over a month protesting against the systematic violations of the rights of Iranian workers.

I urge all human rights activists and organizations to stand in solidarity with Mr. Kaboudvand, Mr. Azimzadeh and all Iranian political prisoners and to make sure their voices are heard. Kurdish Political Prisoner Resumes Hunger Strike Despite Risk of Death

The Islamic Regime in Iran continues its brutal attack on human rights! This month 17 mine workers were flogged for peacefully protesting the dismissal of 350 workers who worked in gold mines. The Islamic Regime in Iran continues to systematically violate the rights of Iranian workers by not paying them fair/market wages, withholding payment of wages for months at a time and dismissal and firing of workers.

At the same time the Islamic Regime will not allow workers to exercise their legal rights to peacefully protest or to unionize and demand their rights. A prominent labour worker Jafar Azimzadeh is currently serving a 6 year prison term, and has been on a hunger strike for more than 30 days to protest against the brutal treatment of Iranian workers.

Other workers are wrongfully imprisoned and now the Regime has taken on flogging workers for peacefully protesting in order to create an atmosphere of fear and terror! I urge all human rights activists and organizations as well as the Government of Canada to condemn Islamic Regimes systematic persecution of Iranian workers.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian-Canadian lawyer, blogger and pro-democracy activist.

I know many of us in the Iranian Canadian community are extremely concerned about the re-establishment of Canada-Iran relations as well as the possible re-opening of the Islamic Regime Embassy in Ottawa.

It is crucial at this time that we make sure our voices and concerns are heard both by the Canadian Government and the Canadian Media, which is why it is imperative for everyone of us to take the appropriate steps to make sure the Canadian Government hears our voices as loudly and clearly as the voices of Iranians who are lobbying for the re-establishment of relations and especially re-opening of the embassy. What can you do to make a difference?

1. Contact your local Member of Parliament and Provincial Member of Parliament by phone, email or by meeting them personally and speak to them about your concerns. Remember MP’s and MPP’s are generally very receptive and sensitive to the concerns of their constituents, so please take the time to contact them.

2. Contact the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and voice your concerns both with respect to the human rights issues in Iran and any safety and security concerns you might have about the re-opening of the embassy.

3. Contact the Canadian Media! Tv, radio, print media as well as online media are excellent sources for bringing awareness about the human rights situation in Iran, raising concerns about Iran’s support for international terrorism and concern for safety and security of Iranian Canadians and their families in Iran if the Embassy was to re-open. Take the time to contact reporters who have written or reported on this issue before.

4. Write English articles and share on online media as well as social media. Remember while Facebook and Twitter are excellent tools for raising awareness, to make a real difference we need to take our concerns to the Canadian Government and the Canadian Media. Please take the time to do so.

Together we can make a difference, please start taking action today!

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian Canadian Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-Democracy Activist.

Jafar Azimzadeh, is an Iranian prominent labour activist who was arrested in November of 2015 and sentenced to a six year prison term for his peaceful involvement in Labour Rights Activities. Mr. Azimzadeh went on an indefinite hunger strike three (3) weeks ago in order to protest Islamic Regime's criminalization of peaceful labour activities.

In an open letter Mr. Azimzadeh co-authored with an imprisoned teacher activist Ismail Abdi they demanded the removal of the charge “associating and colluding with intent to act against national security" from the open files of all imprisoned protestors and activists including themselves.

Among Mr. Azimzadeh demands are the end to low and below poverty wages of workers in Iran, an end to the ban by the Regime to mark and celebrate International Workers Day as well as Teachers day as well as an end to the ban against forming independent labour unions.

Mr. Azimzadeh is currently imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison and has been on a hunger strike which has greatly deteriorated his health.

The Islamic Regime in Iran must release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and it must stop violating the rights of workers & teachers immediately!

Canada must continue to hold Islamic Regime accountable for its systematic and brutal human rights violations and urge Iran to upheld the rights of its own citizen.

قدردانی از فعالیتهای ۴ زن ایرانی کانادایی در سنای کانادا

هما ارجمند- نازنین افشین جم- سایه حسن- شبنم اسداللهی شهروند- مجلس سنای کانادا در جلسه سه شنبه ۱۰ می ۲۰۱۶ خود به نقض حقوق بشر توسط رژیم اسلامی ایران اعتراض کرد و خواهان آزادی زندانیان سیاسی، شد. خانم سایه حسن وکیل برجسته جنایی و فعال دموکراسی خواه است که ضمن همکاری با ایرانیان و دیگر کنشگران ملیت‌های گوناگون در راستای دفاع از حقوق بشر و دموکراسی در سرزمین نیاکان خود گام برمی‌دارد. او از طریق وبلاگ خود که در پی یافتن راه هایی برای تغییر بدون خشونت رژیم در ایران است، با بسیاری از سازمان‌های حقوق بشر و دموکراسی خواه در تماس است. او در کنفرانس‌ها و برنامه‌های رادیو تلویزیونی و رسانه های چاپی بسیاری در کانادا شرکت کرده است. http://www.shahrvand.com/archives/72124

Canadian Senate raises awareness about the plight of Iranian political prisoners:

This month, the Federal Conservatives in Canada held Iran Accountability Week 2016, which was organized by Senator Linda Frum and MP Tony Clement. Around the same period of time, the Canadian Senate held an Iran Inquiry that reported on the systematic human rights violations committed against political prisoners within the Islamic Republic of Iran. A number of Senators from across the political spectrum in Canada presented information about the dire plight of Iranian political prisoners.

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/world-news/around-the-globe/canadian-senate-raises-awareness-about-iranian-political-prisoners-21127

My recent article "Elections mask brutal reality of life in Iran" which was published by The Hill Times on March 14th 2016, where I discuss why Canada should continue to exercise extreme caution in dealing with Iran and should maintain sanctions against elements of the regime implicated in the sponsorship of terrorism and the abuse of human rights.

TORONTO—On June 15, 2013, The New York Times declared effusively that the election of Hassan Rouhani represented the victory of “a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms.” One year into his presidency, 411 Iranians had been killed in a six-month spate of executions carried out by the regime in Tehran, often in gruesome public ceremonies. According to the UN report on which these shocking statistics are based, offenders guilty of “adultery,” drug possession, alcohol consumption, and “enmity against God” are all eligible for the death penalty.

Readers will therefore understand my skepticism in response to headlines this past week proclaiming a “reformist” victory in the recent Iranian parliamentary elections. As history demonstrates, such a scenario is impossible under Iran’s election laws, which require all candidates to be vetted in advance by Iran’s staunchly repressive Guardian Council. Reports have revealed that the Guardian Council disqualified some 60 per cent of all prospective candidates, including 99 per cent who could be categorized as “reformists.”

These denuded “reformist” factions then proceeded to back a number of appalling but approved candidates for the Assembly of Experts, which will be tasked with choosing the country’s next supreme leader. This includes two former intelligence ministers alleged to have organized the killing of political dissidents, radical clerics with virulent anti-Western agendas, and another cleric who has endorsed violence as a means to force Iranian women to adhere to dress codes.

This is not to disregard the many pro-democracy activists working to bring about democratic change and respect for human rights in Iran. But the tragic reality is that they are either imprisoned, working fearfully underground, or—like me—living abroad. There is no place for meaningful dissent in the Islamic Republic, and the recent election reaffirms this unfortunate reality.

Having fled Iran in the 1980s with my family, I have spent years raising awareness here in Canada about the regime’s ongoing human rights abuses. I regularly explain to my colleagues that, as in many autocratic states, there is a world of difference between the Iranian people and the regime. The people of Iran are remarkably educated, moderate, and engaged with the world. In stark contrast, the regime is a regressive theocracy with an expansive structure of oppression in Iran and a ruthless, hegemonic agenda for the region.

Tehran works systematically to identify and destroy any source of potential challenge to its rule and agenda. The regime also targets any community that undermines its utopian vision of a Shia theocracy—including LGBT and Baha’i citizens, as well as Christian pastors the regime believes could entice Muslims to convert.

What far too many in the West fail to recognize is that superficial elections—which represent the transfer of nominal power to the people on a limited basis—are not only consistent with an authoritarian theocracy. These “democratic” exercises are central to the regime’s efforts to manage public discontent at home and alleviate Tehran’s public relations challenges abroad. The international community must send a united message to the regime that it will never enjoy global legitimacy so long as it restricts public office to a select group of candidates, rejects pro democracy candidates, jails political dissidents, and imposes archaic religious laws that victimize women, religious minorities, and LGBT Iranians.

For its part, Canada should continue to exercise extreme caution in dealing with Iran and should maintain sanctions against elements of the regime implicated in the sponsorship of terrorism and the abuse of human rights. For as we have seen in countless troubled parts of the world, a ballot box can be a convenient prop for a decidedly undemocratic state to deflect attention from an insidious record.

Sayeh Hassan is a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto and a pro-democracy activist fighting to change Iran’s Islamic regime.

http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/03/14/elections-mask-brutal-reality-of-life-in-iran/54183

The Islamic Regime in Iran has arrested 8 women for “un-Islamic” acts namely posting photos of themselves on social medial without wearing a head scarf.

Among those arrested is a model Elham Arab who is well known for modelling wedding dresses and posting pictures of herself on social media without the head scarf. The arrest of these 8 women is part of a greater crackdown on at least 170 other women who have not yet been identified.

This is further example of how oppressive the government of Hassan Rouhani, the so called “moderate” President really is. I hope to see human rights organizations; in particular feminist groups and women’s rights groups stand in solidarity with the Iranian women and don’t remain silent in the face of such oppression and injustice. Iran Cracks Down On 'Un-Islamic' Modelling

Yukon Senator Calls for the Release of Iranian political prisoner Amir Amirgholi and salutes four Iranian-Canadian women for their work in promoting human rights

11 May 2016, Ottawa, ON – Yukon’s Senator, Daniel Lang joined his colleagues in the Senate on Tuesday in calling attention to the human rights abuses in Iran and the detention of numerous political prisoners. Specifically, Lang raised the plight of Ali Amir Amirgholi, a 33-year-old human rights activist and former university student who is currently held in Ward 8 of Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.

According to one survivor of the Evin Prison, Ms. Shabnam Assadollahi: “There is only one experience worse than being tortured; having to listen to others scream and beg, not for their lives but for their death. . . . At night, I would count around 60- 70 bullets, which meant 60 to 70 souls had been executed and I was hearing the last shot they would give the victim in the head.”

Senator Lang noted that “despite Amir's being a prisoner of conscience, he is reportedly being held in a cell with dangerous prisoners who suffer from life- threatening diseases, rather than a cell for political prisoners. Colleagues, if the Iranian authorities have their way, Amir will be a prisoner for the next 20 years, if he survives his confinement.”

The Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided over by Judge Salavati, sentenced this non-violent activist to a 21-year prison term on the basis of outlandish charges, such as insulting religious sanctities, insulting the supreme leader and propaganda against the regime. In 2014, The Guardian, in the U.K., identified Judge Salavati as one of Iran's most corrupt judges owing to his leading role in cracking down on free speech and pro-democracy activities.

Through his peaceful activism in 2014, Amir was defending the human rights of Iranians and participated in a peaceful protest outside the United Nations' office in Tehran in solidarity with the people of Kobane, Syria, who were then under siege. A couple of months later, Amir was arrested by Iranian authorities and transferred to a solitary confinement cell in Evin Prison, where he endured two months of interrogation and torture.

Lang noted that “In light of this torture and the unreasonable political sentence of 21 years in jail for standing up for democracy and human rights, and countless similar human rights abuses in Iran, I call upon the Senate to pay close attention to the human rights abuses in Iran, and particularly the plight of imprisoned pro-democracy activists like Amir Amirgholi. Mr. Amirgholi is a courageous man, not a criminal, one who is willing to sacrifice his life to stand up for what is right and just.”

In addition to raising the case of Mr. Amirgholi, Lang saluted the work of four Iranian Canadian women, Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Ms. Homa Arjomand, Ms. Sayeh Hassan, and Ms. Shabnam Assadollahi, all of whom were very fortunate to escape to Canada from the Ayatollah's Iran and are actively leading efforts nationally and internationally to promote Human Rights and democracy.

Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam is an international human rights activist and author and co-founder of Stop Child Executions. She has utilized her role as a pageant winner to become a voice for those who need to be heard. She continues to champion causes, which makes all Canadians proud.

Ms. Homa Arjomand continues the struggle for freedom, supporting Iranian children's and women's rights. She also works with battered women and girls in Canada through the Let's Talk program with abused children. She is also the coordinator of the International Campaign Against Shari'a Court in Canada. Ms. Arjomand appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence last year during our study on radicalization and threats to Canada. She was most eloquent in her presentation and in describing her escape from Iran to a UN refugee camp and then on to Canada.

Ms. Sayeh Hassan is a prominent criminal defence lawyer and pro-Iranian democracy advocate who collaborates with Iranians and other transnational activists to advance the cause of human rights and democracy in her oppressed ancestral homeland. Through her blog focusing on the pro-democracy movement and regime changes in Iran, she stays in close contact with activists in Iran and retains contact with various human rights and pro- democracy organizations abroad. She regularly speaks at conferences and has appeared on television and radio and in numerous publications in Canada.

Lang noted that at the beginning of these remarks I described life in Evin Prison where Mr. Amirgholi is held. These words were from a brave survivor, Ms. Shabnam Assadollahi, who is here with us today in the gallery. Ms. Shabnam Assadollahi is an outstanding democracy activist who writes and broadcasts in Canada. Through her international network, she exposes clandestine Iranian influence activity in our country.

In conclusion, Lang stated “as we bring much-needed attention to the issues in Iran through this inquiry, let us urgently redouble our support for Ali Amir Amirgholi. In doing so, we salute courageous Canadian women of Persian heritage who are leading human rights efforts nationally and internationally to help bring attention to Iran's vile and brutal regime and the plight of individuals like Mr. Amir Amirgholi.”

Full statement: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/421/Debates/034db_2016-05-10-e.htm#41

Photo attached of the Honourable Daniel Lang and the Honourable Linda Frum, meeting with former Evin Prisoner and Canadian human rights activist, Ms. Shabnam Assadollahi in the Senate following the inquiry into Human Rights Abused in Iran.

-30- For more information, contact Senator Daniel Lang 613-947-6234

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