Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Canada: Multi-faith stamp proves to be hoax

Ajit Jain in Toronto

A purported multi-faith 0.8 cents Canada postage stamp found its way to the Internet and annoyed leaders of a number of religious groups, but at the end of the day many people discovered it was a hoax.

"It appears that the whole thing is a hoax and there is no Canada Post stamp like that," one Leslie Mezei said in a widely circulated e-mail message.

The stamp was not an official stamp issued by Canada Post. "I believe somebody came up with an idea as to what the multi-faith stamp should look like and it got circulated and things went out of hand," Stan Middlestadt, president of the Ontario Multi-faith Council said in an interview on Wednesday.

Several leaders of the Jain community got worked up, exchanging dozens e-mails as to why 'Janism was not included in that stamp.'

"It is painful to see Jainism not shown on the Canadian stamp while Congo does," wrote Jain community leader Arvind Vora.

"Canadians having taken a lead on the multi-faith front (calendars, etc.) and authorities being aware of the Jain faith, it is twice painful," Vora added.

Prakash Mody, Jain community representative on the multi-faith council, who with the support of Middlestadt, had written the letter to the chair of Canada Post Philatelic Committee to issue a multi-faith stamp. That letter was written in May, but so far there's no response from them, Middlestadt said.

Desmond Sequeira from the local Goan community said, "It would be useful to find out what criteria were used in deciding which religion 'qualified' to have its symbol included on the postage stamp and who were consulted and informed before the final version was produced."
He said the purported stamp "has only 10 symbols and it means, besides the Jain community, several others have also been left out."

Despite efforts of a number of people, Canada Post hasn't so far reacted to this hoax.
However, the same people who started exchanging e-mails against this stamp have now started telling others the stamp was a hoax.

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