IslamismFebruary 1 2023, 4:56 am

Canada’s First Special Representative to Fight Islamophobia Embroiled in Controversy

Cana­di­an media is report­ing that the Québec provin­cial gov­ern­ment is call­ing for the removal from office of the Cana­di­an fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s first spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive on com­bat­ing Islam­o­pho­bia. Accord­ing to the Ottawa Cit­i­zens report, Ami­ra Elghawa­by was accused of a his­to­ry of mak­ing “anti-Que­bec, anti-Jew­ish and anti-police” remarks:

Jan­u­ary 30, 2023 Quebec’s min­is­ter respon­si­ble for Cana­di­an rela­tions on Mon­day called for the removal from office of the Trudeau government’s first spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive on com­bat­ing Islam­o­pho­bia on the grounds of “odi­ous” state­ments she made about Que­bec. “In the name of the gov­ern­ment, I asked her to with­draw her com­ments and apol­o­gize. How­ev­er, she has only tried to jus­ti­fy her odi­ous com­ments,” Jean-François Roberge said in a writ­ten state­ment, refer­ring to Ami­ra Elghawa­by. “This will not do. She must resign and if she does not do so, the gov­ern­ment should remove her with­out delay.” Roberge’s call for Elghawaby’s dis­missal fol­lows com­ments she made in a 2019 opin­ion piece in the Ottawa Cit­i­zen about Bill 21, where she said Que­be­cers seem to be “influ­enced” by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. On Fri­day, fed­er­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Leader Pierre Poilievre called for Elghawaby’s removal for hav­ing made “anti-Que­bec, anti-Jew­ish and anti-police” remarks.

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Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has vowed to stand by Elghawa­by, say­ing she had been appoint­ed because she knew the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty well and could share their con­cerns. Mark­ing Elghawaby’s appoint­ment on Jan­u­ary 27, 2023, Trudeau’s office announced she would “serve as a cham­pi­on, advi­sor, expert, and rep­re­sen­ta­tive to sup­port and enhance the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s efforts in the fight against Islam­o­pho­bia, sys­temic racism, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, and reli­gious intolerance.”

From 2012–2017, Elghawa­by, a jour­nal­ist for the Toron­to Star, served as Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor of the Nation­al Cana­di­an Coun­cil of Mus­lims (NCCM), the Cana­di­an branch of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR). CAIR is among the most promi­nent US Mus­lim advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions and has close ties to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB). The most impor­tant leader of the NCCM was Jamal Badawi, who also has been a leader in many oth­er of the most impor­tant GMB orga­ni­za­tions. In Octo­ber 2022, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that the NCCM had pub­lished a Que­bec elec­tion pol­i­cy guide ahead of the Octo­ber 3rd vote, which rec­om­mend­ed the abro­ga­tion of Bill 21. In Sep­tem­ber 2022, the GIOR report­ed that the NCCM had released an open let­ter co-signed by 28 Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions and mosques in Alber­ta call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of the Alber­ta Human Rights Com­mis­sion Chief over what they said were anti-Mus­lim com­ments he made in a 2009 book review.



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