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Terry Glavin: Embattled Amira Elghawaby being used by Liberals to woo Muslim votes

It’s profoundly unfair to Amira Elghawaby that she was engulfed in a whirlwind of opprobrium and damage emotions and disgust fairly effectively from the second the Trudeau authorities introduced final week that she’d been chosen to function Canada’s first Particular Consultant on Combatting Islamophobia.

It doesn’t matter what you would possibly take into consideration Elghawaby or about her harshest detractors — amongst whom you possibly can rely members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal cupboard — the appointment was doomed to prove badly, regardless of who’d been picked for the put up. The entire level of Elghawaby’s job — who she’s alleged to signify, precisely, and what she’s anticipated to be combating — has been obscured in a shambles of pious boasts, half-truths and cynical disinformation.

You are reading: Terry Glavin: Embattled Amira Elghawaby being used by Liberals to woo Muslim votes

In accordance with Trudeau’s announcement final week, Elghawaby is meant to be Canada’s consultant within the matter of this factor that has come to be referred to as Islamophobia. However after sure of his Quebec lieutenants and the Quebec authorities erupted in umbrage owing to indelicate insinuations she appeared to have made about Quebeckers, Elghawaby went from being a consultant of the Authorities of Canada to what Trudeau referred to as “a consultant to the Authorities of Canada.” On Monday, Trudeau put it this fashion: “She is there to talk for the group with the group and construct bridges.”

This isn’t fairly throwing Elghawaby underneath the bus. Neither is it a case of Trudeau having unfairly arrange a Muslim girl within the first place to problem Quebec’s entrenchment of laïcité secularism, which clearly disfavours religious Muslim girls within the public service. On the identical time, it’s not exhausting to make the argument that Trudeau hasn’t proven a lot mettle in forcefully difficult Quebec on this entrance himself.

The difficulty isn’t simply Elghawaby’s views about Quebec’s Invoice 21, which the Canadian Civil Liberties Affiliation fairly describes as a “horrendous regulation that violates human rights and harms people who find themselves already marginalized” as a result of it prevents lecturers, law enforcement officials and different public servants from sporting hijabs and turbans and yarmulkes and crosses.

The difficulty isn’t simply Elghawaby’s views about Quebec’s Invoice 21

A part of the issue is that this: If a job description in a federal posting referred to as for the composite stereotype of a faintly obnoxious and earnest upper-class social justice fanatic from one of many leafier Liberal strongholds of the Larger Toronto Space, Elghawaby can be the perfect candidate.

As an activist and frequent opinion-pages contributor, Elghawaby has adopted all of the respectable standpoints with simply the correct diploma of transgressive élan, not often too strident or too squishy. She referred to as for eradicating the Queen as Canada’s head of state and dismissed Canada Day as a pageant of “Judeo-Christian storytelling.” She’s been gushing in her reward for Trudeau and backs the Trudeau authorities’s extraordinarily contentious strikes to control commentary on the web. She’s argued in favour of Muslim prayer rooms in faculties, and as soon as blasted the previous Conservative authorities of Stephen Harper as having executed extra hurt to the picture of Canadian Muslims than al-Qaida’s atrocities in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

That final declare was clearly excessive, however honest sufficient. In sure high-fashion “progressive” circles, that’s the type of factor one is predicted to say.

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Extra worrisome is Elghawaby’s obvious contentment with the conflation of anti-Muslim bigotry with real and justifiable alarm amongst liberal Muslims and national-security businesses arising from the presence of reactionary, grossly antisemitic and foreign-influenced Islamist parts inside Canada’s Muslim management itself. For years, the Trudeau authorities has used the spectre of “Islamophobia” to dismiss these considerations.

The Trudeau authorities has used the spectre of ‘Islamophobia’ to dismiss these considerations

It’s a sample that started within the traumatic days of January 2017, after six Muslims had been massacred at a mosque within the Quebec Metropolis suburb of Sainte-Foy. Again then, the Trudeau authorities sacrificed all-party consensus round a definition of the time period Islamophobia, leaving it sufficiently open-ended to incorporate a mere disdain for the Islamic faith itself and even high-pitched opposition to the theocratic-fascist ideologies of Islamism — which isn’t the faith, Islam.

In accordance with the definition set out within the contentious federal anti-racism technique, Islamophobia is outlined this fashion: “Consists of racism, stereotypes, prejudice, concern or acts of hostility directed in direction of particular person Muslims or followers of Islam typically. Along with particular person acts of intolerance and racial profiling, Islamophobia can result in viewing and treating Muslims as a higher safety menace on an institutional, systemic and societal stage.”

So no matter Islamophobia is, it consists of this stuff.

Two years in the past, on the nationwide Summit on Islamophobia the place the institution of the put up Elghawaby has taken up was first proposed, the principle matter at hand was the Canada Income Company’s audits of sure Muslim-centred charities. At that summit, Trudeau stated the CRA was concentrating on Muslims, and it ought to cease. “Establishments ought to help individuals, not goal them,” Trudeau stated.

This places the prime minister squarely at odds with Canada’s nationwide safety businesses and the Analysis and Evaluation Division of the CRA’s Charities Directorate. Primarily based on the Finance Ministry’s 2015 Evaluation of Inherent Dangers of Cash Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Canada, the “most definitely” locations for Canadian funds supporting terrorism had been Afghanistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories and several other different largely Muslim-majority international locations. Terrorist teams with “a Canadian nexus” within the evaluation included a number of Islamist fronts related to al-Qaida, the Islamic State (ISIL), Hamas, Hezbollah and so forth — terrorist teams that depend on an Islamic cowl story for his or her savagery.

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Trudeau ordered the CRA Workplace of the Taxpayers Ombudsperson to inquire into the declare that the CRA’s audits of sure Muslim charities constituted “systemic Islamophobia,” however the assessment has been stymied by the ombudsperson’s incapability to ferret out particular national-security data from the related businesses.

The Muslim Affiliation of Canada and the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims — Elghawaby’s employer in the course of the Islamophobia summit — are actually demanding that the CRA audits be referred to as off altogether. Additionally they need the ombudsman’s assessment scrapped as a result of it’s apparently ineffective. They definitely have a degree there.

The entire thing is a multitude, and it’s as simply as jumbled and fractious as Elghawaby’s appointment, which is as Trudeau described it — to “construct bridges.” However it’s to construct the Liberal social gathering’s bridges to Muslim voters.

In a 2017 opinion piece for the Ottawa Citizen, Elghawaby fairly fairly described the Quebec authorities as a bully that was “out to achieve votes off the backs of weak minorities.” That’s at the least arguably precisely what the Trudeau authorities is doing right here, too.

As Trudeau himself stated of Elghawaby: “Her job now’s to ensure she’s serving to the federal government.”

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