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Court case will examine instances of Mormon, Muslim polygamy

A court case examining whether Canada's polygamy laws violate religious protection might focus on a fundamentalist Mormon sect in southeastern B.C., but it will also explore rarely discussed polygamy within North America's Muslim community.

Several affidavits have been sworn in B.C. Supreme Court for the constitutional challenge that began last year after charges were dropped against two religious leaders in Bountiful, B.C.

One of those affidavits is from a law professor at the University of Toronto who says having multiple wives is not morally forbidden among Muslims.

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But an Oregon nurse practitioner, who's also filed an affidavit after years of treating women in polygamous marriages, says they are more likely to be depressed, suffer from anxiety and have low self-esteem.

Dena Hassouneh says the exact prevalence of polygamy among Muslim populations in North America is unknown, but the women she's treated lead her to believe such lifestyles are harmful.

A start date for the case has not yet been announced, though the parties involved are scheduled to appear in court next month to discuss scheduling.

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