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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
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.
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 ...
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 ...