OP-EDs


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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Senate report leaves bitter taste with Canadian Muslims

By AMIRA ELGHAWABY The Globe and Mail | July 10, 2015 Reading this week’s Senate interim report on countering terrorism was spit-out-your-cereal unbelievable. Thankfully most Canadian Muslims were likely observing their Ramadan fasts when news of it broke; but it’s enough to make anyone lose their appetite. The report is contradictory in places, nonsensical in others, and at times based on unsubstantiated claims. None of this should come as much surprise to those who watched the at-times farcical Senate hearings which led up to it. A parade of pseudo-ex...

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Canadian Muslims: Are we ready for the challenges ahead?

by Amira Elghawaby Published 30/04/15, the Link Canada Some time ago, a distraught acquaintance phoned me up and asked me if I would be heading to Parliament Hill that day for a protest rally. The phone call came just as federal politicians were bickering over how much time should be allotted to reviewing the controversial new anti-terror legislation proposed by the government. The legislation would grant sweeping new powers to security agencies while broadening definitions of terrorism which many civil groups fear could be used to clamp down on legitimate protest ...

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Who has the most to fear from C-51? Canadian Muslims.

Amira Elghawaby | iPolitics, April 15, 2014 Just over a month ago, Canadian citizen Benamar Benatta quietly settled his lawsuit against the federal government over the unlawful treatment he suffered in the days immediately after 9/11. Benatta, an Algerian, spent five years in American prisons because Canadian border officials at Fort Erie, Ont., turned him over to U.S. officials for investigation after he showed up at the border crossing and said he wished to claim refugee status. It took him years to clear his name. “Canada is a great country but, unfortu...

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Prime Minister, this isn’t how we should do things in Canada

In these difficult times, the government's public messaging has been polarizing. By Amira Elghawaby Toronto Star | February 24, 2015 The governing party was quick to issue an email blast this week requesting support for its stand against the imaginary mob of niqab-wearing women clamoring to gain citizenship in Canada. "This isn't how we do things here," reads the Conservatives' pitch for support, echoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's own public statements about the case. This sentence reflects exactly how many Canadians would feel, bolstering the prime minist...

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Charlie Hebdo just meeting demand for Islamophobia

Charlie Hebdo was ultimately promoting the very stereotypes it was supposedly trying to satirize, which is detrimental for society. By: Abbas Kassam Toronto Star | January 18, 2015 Charlie Hebdo has long operated on the fringes and is now only popular for doing what seems to be in vogue — being Islamophobic. Many of the magazine’s cartoons were plainly bigoted and unnecessarily inflammatory. They depicted Muslims as brown-skinned and turban-wearing violent misogynists. The cartoons reinforced harmful stereotypes about Muslims and were designed to shock. But ...

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Recent polls show a need to stand up for multiculturalism

By Amira Elghawaby Montreal Gazette, December 28, 2014 My dad recently retired from the federal public service after spending over three decades serving this country. His job was to make sure that Canadian-made airplanes were as safe as possible. He was celebrated for his dedicated service by his colleagues and staff upon his retirement. Accolades came in from international safety agencies and aerospace corporations from around the world. He immigrated to Canada in the early 1970s. Eventually settling in the nation’s capital, my dad would build a family and a ...

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Why Has Canada Still Not Signed the UN’s Optional Protocol on Torture?

By Amira Elghawaby Huffington Post Canada, December 19, 2014 Canada, along with other democratic nations, is against mob rule. That’s essentially what groups like ISIS and their ilk of various faith denominations and political persuasions represent. These groups have no time for the rule of law, human rights, or internationally recognized rules of engagement. Their words and deeds are in direct contradiction with the principles that Canada, and its coalition partners, claim to be defending whenever launching military action to stop their spread. So why is it so ...

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Extremists distort all religions, not just Islam

By Ihsaan Gardee National Post | September 12, 2014 If the aim of recent commentaries by Rex Murphy and Tasha Kheiriddin ('The I-word,' Aug. 23; 'Western civilization to the barricades,' Sept. 4.) was to enlighten readers about the threat that Islam poses to the world, then they earn a failing grade. Instead of facing the reality of the situation, both writers preferred to regurgitate outdated stereotypes, by arguing that the first step toward stopping the threat of terrorism, is to acknowledge that it emerges from Islam. This argument is flawed for the obvious ...

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