OP-EDs


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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Supremacist attitudes are a universal enemy

By Amira Elghawaby | Hill Times April 25, 2016 OTTAWA—Is it time for a blanket condemnation of all future terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam, occurring anywhere in the world, to be featured on the front page of every Muslim organization’s website? Or perhaps, every Muslim should permanently pin an expression of horror and an accompanying plea of solidarity on their social media accounts. Don’t misunderstand: the horror, the pain, the solidarity—all of it is real and authentic. But so is the frustration at the expectation that when criminals ...

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Want to hurt the Islamic State? Call it something else

How politicians and media refer to the terrorist group may actually help in countering its destructive narratives By: Amira Elghawaby Toronto Star | February 23, 2016 Last June, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called on the country’s largest broadcaster to stop calling ISIS the “Islamic State” and to instead use the term ISIL (an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). “I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it’s not an Islamic state; what it is is an appalling, barbarous regime,” said Cameron in an interview on ...

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Are we ignoring the threat of xenophobic extremism in Canada?

By AMIRA ELGHAWABY | The Hill Times February 15, 2016 OTTAWA — Copies of Hitler’s manifesto, available for the first time in Germany since the fall of the Nazis, sold out in under a week. While historians insist that its popularity is solely attributed to it being a historical document, it nonetheless reminds us that the types of odious views expressed in Mein Kampf still find quarter in our societies today. Jewish communities know all too well what it is like to be a target of supremacist ideology. Swastikas are often the public manifestations of this hate, ...

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The Power of Words

By Amira Elghawaby January / February, 2016 | Alberta Views Magazine For the past decade, the former Prime Minister, along with some federal ministers and elected officials, would at times speak negatively about Muslims and Islam. Given the global and national fears around violent extremist threats, it isn’t surprising that politicians would need to discuss concerns about those who subscribe to delusional interpretations of the faith. But it often seemed that some politicians failed to appreciate the impact of their words. In 2010, the RCMP produced a report ...

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Children banned from flying? Sadly, it’s not that uncommon

By Amira Elghawaby The Globe and Mail | January 8, 2016 Sharing vacation stories makes returning to the humdrum of life more bearable, especially for school-age children who eagerly retell their family's holiday adventures. But how does a child explain to his classmates that he was delayed reaching a hockey game because his name appears on a mysterious list which even his parents are powerless to affect? Recently, 6-year-old Syed Adam Ahmed and his family's unbelievable story garnered headlines. The young boy, travelling with his father on what should be an ...

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What Canada needs now: a strategy against hate

The federal government should immediately partner with Canadian Muslim communities to fashion an effective strategy to combat extremist narratives. By AMIRA ELGHAWABY The Hill Times | November 23, 2015 A radio show host in Saskatoon tweets out an anti-Muslim message and is immediately taken to task by his own wife. He later deletes the tweet, but not before it was seen by many. He is not the only one to express views that would be considered racist were they targeting any other group. Some people have even acted out on these views: firebombing a mosque, ...

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To combat extremism, we must work together

Muslim communities are working to fight homegrown terrorism. But that’s hard to do in a climate of distrust By Abbas Kassam | The Toronto Star Last week, evil struck. There were vicious attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad. I grieve with the families and friends of the victims and hope the perpetrators are brought to justice. Violent extremism is universally condemned; terror is never the answer and the loss of one innocent life is equal to that of all of humanity. We cannot let such horrific violence achieve its goal of striking fear into our communities and ...

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What a difference a day makes: The reframing of Canadian Muslims has begun

By Amira Elghawaby The Globe and Mail | October 22, 2015 Women in headscarves are smiling everywhere. They are in the subway station in Montreal with brightly coloured headgear and cell phones to match. They are at a rally in Ottawa, up close with the prime-minister-designate as they snap selfies that will trend on Twitter. They are walking with their heads held just a little higher, returning smiles offered by random passersby. What a difference a day makes. The same women who were expressing feelings of fear and discomfort just walking to a mall, or to school, ...

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