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CAEF Letter to PM Trudeau Re: failings of Ms. Amira Elghawaby, Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia

February 28, 2024


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2


Re: Ms. Amira Elghawaby, Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia


Dear Prime Minister Trudeau;


I am writing on behalf of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) which has been detailing the rise of antisemitism in Canada for over 20 years while urging action and appropriate education.


CAEF has been very concerned about the anti-Israel protests that have taken place across Canada in the aftermath of the October 2023 genocidal attack against the Jewish state Israel and its residents. The February 14 2024 anti-Israel protest that wove its way past down University Avenue in Toronto hit an all time low when the protestors stopped at the Mount Sinai Hospital, an institution founded a century ago by the Jewish community to overcome the discrimination they faced. It was this location that the protestors chose to block access to while waving their signs and calling their chants glorifying the terrorist attacks. What took place there was highly inappropriate and offensive to the entire medical and Jewish communities as you yourself rightly condemned.


Meanwhile in sharp contrast your appointee to combat Islamaphobia, Amira Elghawaby, took to social media to release a statement (https://twitter.com/AmiraElghawaby/status/1757593715084771795?s=20%20 )

in which she outright rejected the clearly antisemitic nature of the protest while claiming that the protestors’ only intent was to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian Arabs As the National Post reported,


“Taking to the social media platform formerly known as Twitter on Tuesday, Elghawaby noted that blocking the entrance to a public hospital was “troubling,” but also criticized “the rush to label protesters as antisemitic and/or terrorist sympathizers.”


We suggest this is an outright failure of Ms. Elghawaby to act pursuant to her mandate to combat hate. We would remind you that part of Ms. Elghawaby’s mandate is to promote “public awareness and understanding about Muslim communities in Canada by reframing narratives” not to rewrite such narratives. This was a last opportunity to correct her failure to condemn the massacre of Jews and foreign nationals at the hand of the terrorist group Hamas and the unleashing of hate at home that followed.


Over a year ago, CAEF reached out to you Mr. Prime Minister regarding her appointment. We raised serious concerns about her selection based on her past statements and therefore her ability to fulfill her mandate. (see https://www.caef.ca/post/caef-statement-on-the-appointment-of-amira-elghawaby-as-special-representative-on-islamophobia) Yet we were prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, to give her a chance. As we then wrote, if she continued in office we had hoped that she would be able to function as “a bridge builder, a staunch supporter of all minorities, respectful of Canadian values and history, and [be] ready to challenge all acts of discrimination and hatred against any individual or minority group.”


Sadly, this incident is a strong indicator that our concerns at that time were real. Canadians are expected to respect one another and stand together against hate and bigotry. Yet, the targeting of Mount Sinai, with its Jewish roots is witness to Ms. Elghawaby’s failure to act pursuant to her mandate. She has failed to acknowledge the antisemitism in clear view, failed to call out the Islamist messages and failed to condemn the slaughter of Israelis which included 20 Israeli Muslims.


We therefore join the call (see for example call by CIJA https://www.cija.ca/this_week_in_canadian_jewish_advocacy_february_18_2024) for you to re-consider Ms. Elghawaby’s appointment without further delay.


Thank you for your consideration.


Respectfully,






Anita Bromberg, President CAEF


Cc Deborah Lyons, Special Envoy on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism

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