Amira Elghawaby, a human rights advocate and journalist, deserves a chance. Recently, she was appointed by the Prime Minister as Canada’s first Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia. The appointment was well-received by many, as Elghawaby has a long track record of promoting equality and inclusion and has been a vocal critic of hate and bigotry in all its forms.
However, the appointment has also come under criticism from some quarters, particularly from Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, who called for Elghawaby’s resignation due to a 2019 article she co-wrote criticizing Quebec’s Bill 21. The article argued that a majority of Quebecers appeared to be “swayed” by anti-Muslim sentiment and that the bill, which sought to restrict religious symbols in public service, was an affront to basic human rights.
Blanchet’s actions have been criticized as disingenuous, as the bill was widely condemned for its discriminatory nature and for violating freedom of expression and religion. Sections of Bill 21 were even struck down by the courts in parts for being unconstitutional. The Bloc Quebecois’s stance on this issue has been seen by many as not being in the best interests of the majority of Canadians and as only serving the interests of the French-speaking majority.
In today’s world, the need for equality and inclusion has become increasingly important. The rise of hate crimes and bigotry, especially against marginalized communities such as Muslims, has been a cause for concern for many. The appointment of Elghawaby as Canada’s first Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia is a step in the right direction in addressing this issue. Her years of experience and activism on human rights and equality will be an asset to this role, as she brings a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges facing the Muslim community.
Elghawaby’s appointment is a clear signal that the Federal government is committed to combating Islamophobia and promoting inclusiveness. It is important to note that Islamophobia is not just a problem faced by the Muslim community but is an issue that affects society as a whole. By appointing a Special Representative, the government is taking the necessary steps to address this issue head-on and to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all Canadians.
As a leader, Blanchet should understand the importance of promoting inclusiveness and the fight against discrimination, especially in light of the current climate where hate crimes are on the rise. It is important to remember that the Muslim community in Canada faces daily racism and bigotry, and it is shameful that Blanchet, who has never faced such discrimination, would so easily dismiss the struggles of others.
Furthermore, Quebec’s language laws, enforced by the language police, have been criticized for being oppressive and limiting the use of non-French languages, including English. The fact that many genuinely believe Blanchet and his support for these laws may one day lead to eradicating English in Quebec is alarming and shows a lack of tolerance for linguistic diversity. The flourishing of three languages, one Indigenous, English, and French, should be celebrated and embraced in Quebec, not discouraged and suppressed.
Calling for Amira Elghawaby’s resignation by Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet is a disappointing and unacceptable stance. It goes against the principles of equality and inclusiveness that Canada strives to uphold. We must stand together in the fight against hate and bigotry and work towards creating a safer and more inclusive environment for all.
Image source, Elghawaby’s Twitter Feed