OP-EDs


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 While historians insist that its popularity is solely attributed to it being a historical document, it nonetheless reminds us that the types of odious views expressed in Mein Kampf still find quarter in our societies today.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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The real threat to Canadian values isn’t the niqab, but fear

By Amira Elghawaby October 8, 2015 | TVO It’s every kid’s worst nightmare. You’re on the playground, minding your own business, and someone suddenly yells at you: “Look at that kid! What’s wrong with that kid?” Suddenly, everyone in the playground is staring at you. That’s how Canadian Muslim women are feeling these days. All of a sudden, everyone’s looking at us, with a mix of fear, anger and misunderstanding. Some are even turning to acts of hate. In the past two weeks alone, a pregnant woman was attacked by teenagers in Montreal who ...

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Forget labels when we witness such dire human need

By Amira Elghawaby and Bernie Farber The Globe and Mail | September 5, 2015 The image of Alan Kurdi’s small body on a Turkish beach has become a heart-wrenching symbol of the human catastrophe that continues to claim innocent lives and shatter any illusions that what happens in war-torn, crumbling nations remains hidden in war-torn, crumbling nations. We know very little about Alan other than that Canadian relatives were trying to find a way to bring him and his family to Canada. We don’t know, for example, whether he was a member of a minority religious sect in ...

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How can we encourage more Canadians to vote?

by Amira Elghawaby | The Link Canada, August 18, 2015 A few years ago, while visiting a mosque in a European capital, I came across a small circle of young women in a heated discussion about democracy. At first, I thought, ‘how refreshing to find young women speaking about such critical issues in a mosque!’ However, my heart quickly sank as I heard one woman decry any participation in the democratic system. “To vote in this Western system is to go against your religion,” she said. The other young women listened intently, and to my great surprise, no one ...

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The devastating cost of securing our skies

By Amira Elghawaby The Ottawa Citizen | July 29, 2015 Who pays the price for a highly-secretive security regime intended to protect North Americans who travel by air? As the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in the Latif v. Bombardier case last week illustrates, sometimes it is innocent bystanders who take the hit: paying with their reputations, livelihoods, and freedoms. Their crime is that they have the wrong name, and often the wrong ethnic, religious, or racial profile. The case of Javed Latif should serve as the latest warning that our security mechanisms ...

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