February 3, 2023
For Immediate Release
The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation welcomes the Government of Canada’s creation of a Special Representative on Combating Islamophobia. This appointment is well justified in view of several extremely serious incidents of hatred against Muslims, including the June 6, 2021 truck-ramming attack in London, ON in which four members of the same family were murdered, and the January 29, 2017 attack on a mosque in Ste Foy QC, in which 6 worshippers were murdered and 5 additional worshippers injured. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Special Representative to collaborate on addressing the hatred of Jews and Muslims; both of our communities share an equal commitment to a society in which religious freedom is guaranteed and the safety of everyone is inviolate.
Nevertheless, our organization must express reservations about the selection of Amira Elghawaby as the first person to hold this appointment. Ms. Elghawaby has on several occasions made public statements disparaging the people of Quebec, disapproval of Canada Day celebrations as “Judeo-Christian story telling”, and animosity toward the State of Israel, characterizing it as an "apartheid state". ( A narrative shift on Palestinian experiences is disrupting the status quo | The Star ) Israel is the state in which 45% of the worldwide Jewish population reside, and is the spiritual home of 100% of the Jewish people. The Government of Canada is a signatory to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism; it is essential that the Government’s commitment to confronting antisemitism, as defined by the IHRA Working Definition, be reflected in all of its public appointments.
While we welcome Ms. Elghawaby’s apology from earlier this week for some of the remarks she made prior to her appointment, we note the deep concern of the Government of Quebec as to whether this apology mitigates the effect of those remarks on her legitimacy and credibility, and hope that if she continues in office, she will be a bridge builder, a staunch supporter of all minorities, respectful of Canadian values and history, and ready to challenge all acts of discrimination and hatred against any individual or minority group.
Contact: Andria Spindel, Executive Director, CAEF firstname.lastname@example.org | 416-409-3822