OP-EDs


Denying Islamophobia won’t make it go away

Discrimination against Muslims is far too often portrayed as a manufactured phenomenon By Amira Elghawaby CBC News | November 3, 2016 "The new racism is to deny that racism exists." That's a line dropped at the end of a new video by American rapper T.I. that explores police brutality against Black communities. It was originally said by the controversial late-night television host Bill Maher during an interview he gave in 2012, following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of police. The quote sums up the unintentional or willful attempts to ...

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Tories miss a chance to make amends for anti-Muslim election stance

By Amira Elghawaby The Ottawa Citizen | October 13, 2016 The Conservative Party of Canada has some explaining to do. Last week, NDP leader Tom Mulcair introduced a motion in Parliament to condemn Islamophobia by unanimous consent, based on a parliamentary e-petition sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis , which garnered an unprecedented 70,000 signatures. The motion could have easily passed. It was merely a symbolic gesture to disavow hate and reassure Canadian Muslims that their parliamentarians care about them. Yet a number of Conservative MPs – we don’t ...

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Islamophobic ‘feminism’ doesn’t help Muslim women

By multiple authors The Ottawa Citizen | October 3, 2016 Time and tired time again, we have seen how the claim of standing up for Muslim women has served as a pretext for singling out Islam and Muslims for excoriation. This was the case in the recent furor over Toronto’s Valley Park Middle School providing space for Muslim students to pray (in which girls and boys sat separately), and in the previous federal government’s efforts to prohibit women in niqabs from becoming Canadian citizens. The castigation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for attending an ...

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News media’s rush to be first can have real consequences

Is that what led to the decision to publish a deeply problematic article citing a so-called 'study' of Canadian mosques and Islamic schools that was first presented to readers across the country without any reality checks? A CBC newsroom in Ottawa in 2005. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright By Amira Elghawaby The Hill Times | September 6, 2016 News is not just about getting the story; it’s also about getting the story first. However, as journalist and author Madeline Drohan writes in the current issue of the Literary Review of Canada, in this ...

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Rift between Muslim communities and police deepen

Two recent news stories have highlighted the declining trust between Canadian Muslim communities and law enforcement agencies. By Amira Elghawaby Toronto Star | August 17, 2016 The past few weeks have deeply shaken whatever trust exists between Canadian Muslim communities and law enforcement agencies. First, news and video footage of the heartbreaking and unjustifiable death of a mentally ill Canadian-Somali man in Ottawa as a result of a police intervention. Then, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that the RCMP were the key architects of a terrorism plot that ...

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A women’s rights champion is arrested and jailed. What will Canada do?

By AMIRA ELGHAWABY The Globe and Mail | June 23, 2016 The first time I encountered Canadian-Iranian anthropologist Homa Hoodfar was during a small, intimate talk she gave to students at Carleton University. It was the late 1990s, and she was there to discuss her then-recent book,Between Marriage and the Market: Intimate Politics and Survival in Cairo. For a young woman who was raised in Canada, but who visited her parent’s homeland of Egypt frequently, Ms. Hoodfar’s findings were nonetheless revelatory. Even while I had seen firsthand the full agency of my ...

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Anti-discrimination campaign makes people uncomfortable — as it should

Critique of the “Toronto for All” campaign as racist is baseless. What it really represents is anti-Muslim animus, which is real. By AMIRA ELGHAWABY Toronto Star | June 21, 2016 Those who have come out in recent days to attack the new “Toronto for All” anti-discrimination ad campaign for being racist are missing the point. One of the ads depicts a white male confronting a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. The man in the print ad tells her to go back where she came from. “Where, North York?” reads her response. While the overwhelming reaction to ...

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Muhammad Ali’s enduring lesson

By AMIRA ELGHAWABY and YASIN DWYER The Toronto Star | June 9, 2016 Little boys with the name Muhammad have just discovered a new hero. The death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali has cracked open a chapter in history that will no doubt inspire a new generation of young people, and specifically, those who are Muslim and black. It’s still hard for many of us who wear either, or both, of these labels to feel fully at ease in our communities. Ali reminds us that to be heroic is to be proud of who we are and what we believe in. But there are other critical lessons in ...

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So who says Muslims can’t be both devout and patriotic?

By: Amira Elghawaby | iPolitics April 28, 2016 Social media was buzzing this week over a new Environics poll of Canadian Muslims. It should have served to dismiss a lot of poisonous misperceptions out there about matters of loyalty and belonging in Muslim communities. Instead, the initial media coverage ended up angering many. CBC’s original headline acknowledged some of the good news — but somehow still managed to frame the results in a negative light: “Muslim Canadians love Canada, but faith more important to their identity: survey”. That “but” ...

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Can Canada strike proper balance on rights and security?

As Canada reviews its national security policy, it’s time to raise issues that have been neglected or bungled for too long. By: Amira Elghawaby | Toronto Star April 26, 2016 Public safety is paramount to living in a functioning democracy. It’s why governments around the world are committed to ensuring their citizens are protected from those who would do them harm. However, in the frightening days following 9/11 and in the years since then western governments have struggled, and at times failed, at both safeguarding public safety and protecting the freedoms they ...

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