Canadian Muslim human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby has been nominated as Canada’s first representative to combat Islamophobia and fight discrimination against the Muslim community.
The appointment, announced Thursday, January 26, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, makes Elghawaby responsible for serving “as a champion, advisor, expert and representative to support and enhance” the government’s efforts, the federal government said in a statement, CBC News reported.
“No one in our country should experience hatred because of their faith,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“The appointment of Ms. Elghawaby as Canada’s first Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia is an important step in our fight against Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms.”
“I look forward to working with her as we continue building a country where everyone feels safe and respected,” Trudeau said.
Taking the new role, Elghawaby will provide policy and legislative advice and proposals and suggest programs and regulations that will be inclusive, the statement explained.
She will also be responsible for shining a “light on the important contributions of Muslims” to Canada.
Seeing her appointment as a “deep honor,” Elghawaby said “Muslims are sometimes caught between being perceived as a threat or as representing a problem to solve.”
“It’s our hope that we can use this moment to spur a national conversation about the value of Canadian diversity, including the richness of Canada’s Muslim communities.”
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Human Rights Advocate
Elghawaby is a human rights activist and a journalist. She works as a communications lead by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and is a freelance journalist who contributes columns to The Toronto Star.
She previously worked at the Canadian labor movement, and spent five years promoting the civil liberties of Canadian Muslims at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) between 2012 to the fall of 2017.
Elghawaby was also one of the founding board members of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and is a member of Canada’s National Security Transparency Advisory Group.
Canadian Muslims praised her appointment as a step in the right direction to combat rising Islamophobia.
“This turning point for our community is a tremendous moment,” Stephen Brown, the CEO of the NCCM, said during Thursday’s news conference.
“It is now imperative that we all help hold each other accountable in the pursuit of change.”