Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi urges politicians to stand up for Amira Elghawaby

Of note:

Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi addressed concerns about Islamophobia in Canada to the Senate Committee on Human Rights virtually on Monday afternoon.

During his presentation, the former mayor urged politicians to stand up for Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s first special representative on combating Islamophobia.

Elghawaby has been mired in controversy since being appointed to the role due to a 2019 opinion column about Quebec’s religious symbols law — widely known as Bill 21 — that she co-authored. She has since apologized.

Nenshi, who has been a vocal critic of Bill 21, says he’s been “extraordinarily vexed” in the last few weeks about the lack of political response to the situation.

“The fact that the special representative has been browbeaten, has been harangued, has been lectured to, has been forced to take meetings with people who are not interested in listening to her but are interested in using her to score political points — to me, really highlights a very serious problem in our country,” said Nenshi in his presentation.

He points to moves the Alberta government has made in effort to deter vandalism of faith institutions, but says that only goes so far. Policymakers also need to stand up for those being impacted by hate, he says.

“I thought that it would be important to make a statement in the corridors of power in Ottawa, in the institutional framework of government to say, ‘Guys … as policymakers, you actually have to be able to have a little more courage,'” said Nenshi on CBC Calgary News at 6.

“We talk about it as though it’s about courage or bravery to stand up for people, but it’s really not. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and it is actually just about doing the right thing.”

Recommendations to government

In the meeting, Nenshi was asked to list three recommendations the committee should make to the government to address Islamophobia.

Source: Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi urges politicians to stand up for Amira Elghawaby

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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