TORONTO, CANADA - Roberge, along with Quebec Premier François Legault, is calling for Amira Elghawaby’s resignation as Canada’s newly appointed representative on combating Islamophobia, writes the Toronto Star.
What really is odious, however, is gaslighting Canadians into believing Bill 21 is not anti-Muslim and has nothing to do with the public outrage targeting a visibly Muslim woman.
In the lead-up to the 2021 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who named Elghawaby to the strategic role, tossed word salads in response to questions about Bill 21, pandering to valuable (non-Muslim) Quebec voters. Elghawaby was appointed three days before the National Day of Remembrance in recognition of the Quebec City mosque massacre.
Trudeau called Elghawaby’s new role as a federal policy and legislative adviser “an important step in our fight against Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms,” adding that he hoped “to continue building a country where everyone feels safe and respected.”
However, the following day, in the wake of attacks from Quebec media and politicians, the PM placed Elghawaby directly in the line of fire, asking her to “clarify” the comments critical of Bill 21 in that 2019 op-ed, betraying a staggering lack of care and understanding of how Muslim women are portrayed and positioned in Canadian politics and media.
It is almost impossible to imagine Trudeau and his staff had not anticipated a swift backlash from proponents of Quebec’s discriminatory law. The patterns of right-wing trolling of racialized women in Canada are well-documented. Several journalists, many of whom identify as Muslim women, have spoken publicly about orchestrated campaigns of online threats and violence.
So, why would Trudeau single out a visibly Muslim woman to take on a mandate that would no doubt include a critique of Bill 21, which he himself has been skirting at every opportunity? Why set Elghawaby up as a lone target for gaslighting politicians, online trolls and right-wing media voices?
For Amira Elghawaby, surviving this witchhunt won’t be through civility — she needs to stick to the ugly truth.