Posted on January 30, 2023

Trudeau Announces Amira Elghawaby as Canada’s First Representative to Combat Islamophobia

Peter Zimonjic, CBC, January 26, 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of a special representative on combating Islamophobia that will advise the federal government on how to better fight discrimination against the Muslim community.

Human rights activist Amira Elghawaby 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 experience hatred because of their faith,” Trudeau said in a statement. “The appointment of Ms. Elghawaby as Canada’s first Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia is an important step in our fight against Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms.”

“I look forward to working with her as we continue building a country where everyone feels safe and respected,” Trudeau said.

The federal government announced in June that it was seeking to hire its first Islamophobia representative.

In her new role, Elghawaby will provide policy and legislative advice and proposals and suggest programs and regulations that will be inclusive, the statement explained.

She will also be responsible for shining a “light on the important contributions of Muslims” to Canada.

Elghawaby said her appointment is a “deep honour.”

“Muslims are sometimes caught between being perceived as a threat or as representing a problem to solve,” she told a press conference on Thursday. “It’s our hope that we can use this moment to spur a national conversation about the value of Canadian diversity, including the richness of Canada’s Muslim communities.”

The budget proposed $85 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, which will also contribute to a new anti-racism strategy and national action plan on combating hate.

A spokesperson from Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office told CBC News she will sit for a four-year term and that her office will have a budget of $5.6 million. The budget says that funding would cover the first five years of the office’s operations.