Canada’s defence minister Peter Mackay recently wed former Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam in a private ceremony in Mexico. “She is the most important person in my life and over the coming months, Nazanin and I look forward to spending more time at home in Central Nova and sharing our happiness with all of you,” said Mackay in a statement on his website. Mackay is best known as the former leader of the Progressive Conservatives. He was the party’s final leader when the Progressive Conservatives merged with Stephen Harper’s Canadian Alliance Party to create the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. Afshin-Jam is also known for her extensive humanitarian work — most notably her successful campaign to save a 17-year-old Iranian woman from execution after she had stabbed a would-be rapist to death. Afshin-Jam shared her faith story with CanadianChristianity.com in 2009.
Beauty queen’s passion to fight injustice fueled by faith
MY ENTIRE LIFE, I have been searching for ways to speak on behalf of the most vulnerable. I have felt this calling to help alleviate suffering from a young age.
I was born in Iran on Easter, in 1979. This was at the start of the revolution that spiraled my country back into the middle ages, and put to shame what our ancestor Cyrus the Great worked so hard to build 2,500 years ago – when he established the first declaration of human rights.
Now, under the rule of a small minority of Islamic fundamentalists, there are state-controlled media, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, many political prisoners, and a gender apartheid that values women’s lives at half that of a man. People are stoned to death for committing adultery, limbs are cut off for stealing, and people are bound in sacks and thrown from cliffs.
My father was imprisoned and tortured at the start of the revolution, because he was allowing alcohol and music at the hotel he managed. In the chaos of the revolution, he had not received any memos telling him otherwise. By luck or fate, the judge in charge of giving the death decree to my father had a car accident.
This bought time for my mother to make arrangements to have him temporarily released from prison. When his wounds had healed enough, my father took the first flight out to Spain. My mother, sister and I followed, and a year later we immigrated to Canada. (Read more)