Quebec Government Wants Amira Elghawaby to Resign as Federal Representative to Combat Islamophobia
Rachel Watts, CBC, January 30, 2023
The Quebec government is calling on the federal government to withdraw its support of Amira Elghawaby, the new representative to combat Islamophobia, only four days after she was first appointed.
This comes a day after her attendance at the sixth commemoration of the deadly mosque attack in Quebec City, honouring the six men who were killed in 2017 when a gunman opened fire just before 8 p.m. in the Islamic Cultural Centre in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood.
Since her appointment on Thursday, the journalist and human rights activist has been pressured to clarify her position on Quebec’s secularism law.
In 2019 she wrote a column for the Ottawa Citizen where she denounced the “anti-muslim sentiment” that surrounded the adoption of Bill 21 — which bans public servants from wearing religious symbols such as hijabs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated his support for Elghawaby on Monday.
Shaheen Ashraf, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, says Muslim women and women of colour in leadership often face increased scrutiny and criticism.
Jean-François Roberge, CAQ minister responsible for the French language, said Eghawaby has not properly apologized for her comments about Quebec. She “seems to be overcome by an anti-Quebec sentiment,” said Roberge.
“All she did was try to justify her hateful comments. That doesn’t fly. She must resign and if she doesn’t, the government must remove her immediately.”
In an interview with CBC’s Quebec AM, Elghawaby said she has nothing to apologize for.
“The article in question actually provides the context in it,” said Elghawaby.
“It was never meant to suggest that my opinion is that the majority of Quebecers are Islamophobic. I don’t believe so. I was merely analyzing the polling numbers … [an] opinion piece is meant to cause people to think, to talk, to reflect.”
On Monday, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet requested an “urgent meeting” with Elghawaby, saying her actions were “more divisive than unifying.”