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.