OP-EDs


Bill 62: The European experience shows us it’s a bad idea

By Mihad Fahmy The Globe and Mail | October 25, 2017 To understand the effects of Quebec's Bill 62, it is important to understand what is going on in Europe. Driving the wedge deeper into an already divided society, Quebec politicians are copying policies that produce predictable results: rising xenophobia, violence against minorities and discrimination. Historically, Canada has had a more accommodating approach to individual liberty than European countries, where the case law and legal discourse is built on the premise that public spaces and, by extension, public ...

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Concrete action and results on human rights are needed

A UN report raises questions about Canada’s human rights. The parliamentary committee studying discrimination and systemic racism should take note. By Amira Elghawaby Policy Options | September 20, 2017 The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has begun hearing from witnesses as part of its study of Islamophobia, religious discrimination and systemic racism. After a summer of anti-Muslim rallies and hate incidents and crimes, there is little doubt Motion 103 is necessary —despite past opposition from some Conservative members. This isn’t the view only ...

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Canada must call Islamophobia what it is – racism

By Sehrish Amjad The Ottawa Citizen | August 30, 2017 Canadian officials were in Geneva this month to answer critical questions about the country's human rights record. The appearance before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination comes every four years and is an opportunity for racialized communities to hold our governments to account for their action, or inaction, on promoting racial equity in a pluralistic society. This year, there was a painful omission. Canada omitted identifying Islamophobia as a form of racism in its official report. ...

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Hate laws put reasonable limits on freedom of speech

By DARKO PRODANOVIC and ESSA ABDOOL-KARIM Toronto Star | August 8, 2017 "It is time for us to take our masculinity back and beat the living hell out of these [Muslims]. Pin them down on the ground, and beat them until they pass out. And when they're passed out, you beat them further; and when they're on the ground passed out, kick them, break a kneecap, break an elbow, press their hands backwards turn their wrists sideways, start breaking these guys down." This is a particularly egregious excerpt from one of Kevin J. Johnston's Freedom Report videos, in which he ...

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Quebec media has perpetuated stereotypes about Muslim Canadians

It's time for change, writes Amira Elghawaby By: Amira Elghawaby This year, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. Ours is a country of rich history—but not all Canadian stories are told equally. In this special report, This tackles 13 issues—one per province and territory—that have yet to be addressed and resolved by our country in a century and a half New Eid stamp, unveiled this May. Photo courtesy of Canada Post.  I hadn’t been this excited about a stamp since I collected them back in Grade 6. Canada’s first commemorative Eid stamp ...

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Losing our religion: How anti-Muslim sentiment threatens religious freedom

Some Muslim women in our circles are now seeking religious edicts that deem it acceptable to remove the head scarf in order to feel safe. By Amira Elghwaby and Asma Maryam Ali Toronto Star | July 21, 2017 Through disproportionate negative media portrayals, along with the despicable rise of terrorism, the Islamic faith is constantly under scrutiny; it is everyone’s to inspect, analyze, and judge. This has led to the unfortunate reality that ordinary citizens seem to believe Muslims in Canada should not have the same rights as everyone else. The most recent, ...

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History of Muslims in Canada reminds us all of who we are

By Amira Elghawaby and Hassam Munir Ottawa Citizen | July 1, 2017 There’s nothing like a birthday to inspire introspection. For Canadian Muslims, the opportunity to commemorate and celebrate our history since pre-Confederation comes at a critical juncture. Those who hold bigoted and racist views have become more vocal – emboldened by populist politics that can fuel fear of the “other” and engender the disillusioned to turn against minority communities. If ever there was a time to fully acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of various communities to ...

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Inclusion isn’t just a buzz word — and Canada can prove it

Considering that we have just marked the 35th anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, now is a good time as any to review exactly why Canadians have something valuable to share — and where there is room for improvement. By Amira Elghawaby Toronto Star | April 26, 2017 Many years ago, then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that the world needs more Canada. We heard it again from former American president Barack Obama in 2016, and even more recently from UN special rapporteurs who were visiting the nation’s capital earlier this month. But ...

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How to stand up to online trolls – and profit – with humour

By AMIRA ELGHAWABY The Globe and Mail | April 24, 2017 Hatred is at the root of much of the world’s horrors, and it often spreads online. It’s hard to imagine humour may be a way to counter this modern, borderless phenomenon. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most creative campaigns against online hate emerges from Germany, a country that remains painfully aware of the devastating consequences of fear and xenophobia. Donate the Hate is a cheeky campaign through which one euro is donated for every hateful comment that is spotted and responded ...

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The medium is the message when it comes to social change

Sometimes it can be too political — threatening even — to call out systemic racism, sexism, and discrimination, even at the heart of our government, where freedom of expression is supposedly sacrosanct. By AMIRA ELGHAWABY Toronto Star | March 14, 2017 I’m often bemused by the scrutiny afforded to the matter-of-fact buttons on my backpack whenever I’m visiting the House of Commons. Security guards will often make a show of examining each round pin, oddly expressing particular concern with such slogans as “challenge racism” and “take action on ...

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