Open Letter to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Open Letter to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
June 2016 

Your Excellency, Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei


We are members of the Muslim Community of Canada. We are writing to you about the case of Professor Homa Hoodfar, an Iranian-Muslim Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal. She travelled to Iran in early 2016 to visit family and conduct scholarly research but on June 6, 2016 she was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Currently, she is being held incommunicado and without charge in Evin prison in Tehran.

We are writing to urge you to intervene on her behalf and to secure her immediate release.

Dr. Hoodfar has written extensively, influentially and respectfully about Muslim societies. She is a specialist in gender issues, with a focus on family law, reproductive rights, and the role of women in politics, as well as the intersections of gender with development and public health.

We are at a loss to understand why she has been arrested. At this moment in world politics when the words “Islam” and “Muslim” are regrettably associated on the global stage with violence, repression and intolerance, Professor Hoodfar’s arrest only serves to further these negative associations. It provides further ammunition to Islamophobic groups that seek to tarnish the reputation and image of Islam and Muslim societies.

Securing the release of Professor Hoodfar – and other Iranian political prisoners – would be a concrete manifestation to the world of the Islamic principles of compassion, forgiveness and generosity. We strongly urge you to take this step.


Ahmad Kutty, Resident Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto

Alia Hogben, Executive Director of Canadian Council of Muslim Women

Ayesha Chaudhry, University of British Columbia

Azeezah Kanji, Noor Cultural Centre

Dr. Adnan Qayyum, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Ahmet Fuat Sahin, Founder International Development and Relief Foundation

Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam, Dalhousie University

Dr. Amila Buturovic, York University

Dr. Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Brenda Anderson, University of Regina

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Huron University College

Dr. Jamal Badawi, Professor Emeritus, St. Mary’s University

Dr. Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Julie Macfarlane, University of Windsor

Dr. Karim H. Karim, Carleton Center for the Study of Islam, Carleton University

Dr. Kathy Bullock, University of Toronto

Dr. Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto

Dr. Murray Hogben, History Professor and Senior Staff, Camp Deen.

Dr. Nader Hashemi, University of Denver

Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo, Vice Dean School of Law, Jindal Global University, Delhi, India

Dr. Rula Abisaab, McGill University

Dr. Rumee Ahmed, University of British Columbia

Dr. Sajida Alvi, McGill University

Dr. Shabir Ally, Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International

Dr. Soroush Dabbagh, University of Toronto

Dr. Wael M R Haddara, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University

Faisal Kutty. General Counsel, Canadian-Muslim Civil Liberties Association

Fathima Cader, Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law

Hameed Shaikh, Past President, Council of Muslim Communities of Canada

Hanny Hassan, Past President of the Council of Muslim Communities of Canada

Huma Ahmed, president of Mississauga chapter of Canadian Council for Muslim Women

Imam Syed B. Soharwardy, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada

Kerry K. Gearin, Family & Child Protection Lawyer

Maria Salman, Canadian Muslim Women in Law

Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Morteza Hashemi, Vali-e Asr Islamic Center

Rahat Kurd, Past executive member, Queen’s University Muslim Student Association (QUMSA)

Samira Kanji, President of Noor Cultural Centre

Talia Joundi, McGill University

Yasmin Ratansi, Member of Parliament for Don Valley East

Zahra Rajabi, Islamic Community of Afghans

This letter is also available in Farsi