Amira Elghawaby is Canada’s first representative to combat Islamophobia

Published 2023-01-27 15:43

Elghawaby hopes to start national conversations on diversity

Canada now has someone in charge of making the country a safer and more inclusive place for Muslims.

On Jan. 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Amira Elghawaby as Canada’s first representative to combat Islamophobia.

“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,” said Trudeau.

What is Islamophobia?

Islamophobia is defined as an irrational fear, or discrimination of or against Muslim people. You can watch the video below to find out more about it:

In recent years, racialized incidents of hatred or violence against Muslims have increased in Canada, which prompted the government to create a role to combat discrimination.

In 2021, for example, Statistics Canada reported that there was a 71 per cent increase in reported hate crimes directed toward Muslims.

It rose from 84 in 2020 to 144 in 2021.

Who is Amira Elghawaby?

Elghawaby is a human rights activist.

She has worked with the Canadian labour movement on human rights issues and spent five years promoting civil liberties at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).

Amira Elghawaby hopes her new role will spark important conversations around diversity in Canada. (Image credit: Simon Gohier/CBC)

She is Muslim and currently works as a communications lead for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

What will she be doing?

In general, Elghawaby will advise the federal government on how to better fight discrimination against the Muslim community.

She will provide policy and legislative advice and will give advice on how certain programs and regulations could be more inclusive.

She will also be responsible for shining a "light on the important contributions of Muslims" to Canada, according to the government.


Elghawaby said she was honoured to be picked for the role.

"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,” she said at a press conference on Jan. 26.

Stephen Brown, the CEO of the NCCM, said at Thursday’s press conference that the new role will mean a lot to Muslims across Canada.

"This turning point for our community is a tremendous moment," he said. "It is now imperative that we all help hold each other accountable in the pursuit of change."

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With files from Peter Zimonjic/CBC

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