Trudeau announces Amira Elghwabi as Canada’s first representative to combat Islamophobia
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of a special representative to combat Islamophobia who will advise the federal government on how to best fight discrimination against the Muslim community.
Human rights activist Amira Elghwabi will be responsible for serving “as a champion, advisor, expert and representative to support and enhance the government’s efforts”, the federal government said in a statement.
“No one in our country should have to experience hatred because of their faith,” Trudeau said in a statement. “The appointment of Ms. Elgawabi as Canada’s first Special Representative to Combat Islamophobia is an important step in our fight against Islamophobia and hate in all its forms.”
“I look forward to working with them as we continue to build a country where everyone feels safe and respected,” Trudeau said.
The federal government announced in June that it was looking to appoint its first Islamophobia representative.
The statement explained that in her new role, Elghawabi will provide policy and legislative advice and proposals and suggest programs and regulations that will be inclusive.
She will also be responsible for “highlighting the important contribution of Muslims” in Canada.
Elghwabi said his appointment was a “deep honour”.
“Muslims are sometimes caught between posing as a threat or representing a problem to be solved,” he told a news conference on Thursday. “It is our hope that we can use this moment to foster a national conversation about the value of Canada’s diversity, including the richness of Canada’s Muslim communities.”
The budget proposes $85 million over four years starting in 2022-23, which will also contribute to a new anti-racism strategy and national action plan to combat hate.
A spokesperson for the office of Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussain told CBC News that she would sit for a four-year term and that her office would have a budget of $5.6 million. The budget says the funding will cover the first five years of the office’s operation.
human rights advocacy
Elghawaby currently works as a Head of Communications for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism school, she worked briefly at the CBC in Ottawa after graduation and currently contributes a freelance column to the Toronto Star newspaper.
He has worked with the Canadian labor movement on human rights issues, and spent five years promoting civil liberties at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM); That appointment expired in 2017.
NCCM CEO Stephen Brown praised Elghwabi’s appointment during Thursday’s press conference.
“This is a turning point for our community,” he said. “It is imperative now that we all help hold each other accountable in the pursuit of change.”
Brown said he would like to see Elghwabi’s office work with civil society groups to challenge Islamophobia in Canada. Brown pointed to Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans public servants from wearing religious symbols such as the hijab.
During the press conference, Hussain was asked whether he saw the role of the new office in challenging Bill 21.
Hussain did not answer the question directly, but reiterated the federal government’s position – that it would weigh in on a Supreme Court challenge to the bill.
“We expect this matter to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. When that happens, you can expect that we will be part of that debate and we will take a position and make sure we are part of that process.” are,” he said. ,
The Quebec Court of Appeal heard arguments on the constitutionality of the law in November but has yet to rule on the matter.