“I don't think Quebecers are Islamophobic,” clarifies Amira Elghawaby
Former journalist and human rights activist Amira Elghawaby is now spokesperson and adviser to the federal government in the fight against Islamophobia and systemic racism.
Barely appointed Ottawa’s special representative for the fight against Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby had to reconsider statements made in 2019 about Quebec, shortly after the province’s adoption of the Act respecting the secularism of the State (Law 21).
On Twitter, the former journalist said today that she “didn't think Quebecers are Islamophobic.”
“My past comments referred to a poll about Bill 21,” she defended.
I don’t believe that Quebecers are islamophobic my past comments were in reference to a poll on Bill 21. I will work with partners from all provinces and regions to make sure we address racism head on.
— Amira Elghawaby (@AmiraElghawaby) January 27, 2023
In a letter published in 2019 in the Ottawa Citizen, Amira Elghawaby wrote that “unfortunately, the majority of Quebecers seem to be influenced, not by the rule of law, but by anti-Muslim sentiment”. Excerpts from this text were shared today by La Presse. These revelations provoked the ire of some elected officials.
Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said he was “hurt and shocked as a Quebecer” by Amira Elghawaby's comments.
Quebec's Minister of French Language, Jean-François Roberge, told La Presse that he believed an apology was necessary and that Amira Elghawaby should withdraw her remarks .
Asked earlier Friday on the subject, Justin Trudeau said he “did not agree with her comments” and expected “that she clarify them”.
< p>“I will work with partners in all provinces and regions to ensure that we directly combat racism,” assured Amira Elghawaby.