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Alberta Human Rights Commission chair gets the boot
Collin May, who said Islam is "not a peaceful religion" in a 2009 book review, has refused to meet with Muslim community leaders and threatened to sue critics
Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro has asked Collin May, the chair of the Alberta Human Rights Commission who wrote an Islamophobic book review in 2009, to resign after a coalition of more than two dozen Muslim groups questioned the sincerity of May’s commitment to engage with the community.
Earlier that day, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) wrote a letter — signed by 28 Muslim organizations including itself — calling on Justice Minister Tyler Shandro to send May packing.
According to the letter, May has been threatening legal action against his critics while publicly purporting to seek engagement with Alberta’s Muslim communities.
The letter reads:
Dates were put forward to Mr. May to meet with leaders of Alberta’s Muslim community. He declined those dates; but Mr. May’s de-prioritization of accountability in terms of scheduling issues are far secondary to the more serious problem.
Even as Mr. May promised to engage with Alberta’s Muslim leaders to learn and reflect, we have learned that Mr. May has also been issuing demand letters threatening to sue his critics. This is simply unacceptable.
In a time when brazen attacks on Muslims in Alberta have been growing, specifically targeting Black Muslim women wearing hijab, Mr. May’s decision to threaten to sue his critics, while simultaneously suggesting outreach to Alberta’s Muslim communities, have been extraordinary and shocking.
Joseph Dow, a spokesperson for Shandro, told me after Shandro received the letter from NCCM, he demanded an explanation from May. “After reviewing the explanation, Minister Shandro has asked for Mr. May’s resignation,” Dow wrote in a statement.
The Progress Report broke news of May’s apparent anti-Muslim animus in July, digging up a 2009 book review of British-Israeli author Efraim Karsh’s Islamic Imperialism: A History, in which May contends “Islam is not a peaceful religion misused by radicals. Rather, it is one of the most militaristic religions known to man.”
Duncan Kinney reported:
May also wrote that, "Islam seems unable to make peace with its neighbours," and, "Of all the world’s major religions, none is at the center of as much controversy today as Islam. Wherever it comes in contact with other religions, a political storm arises." Throughout his review, May emphasizes his agreement with Karsh that Islam is “an imperialistic religion seeking universal dominion over the whole earth” and that this Muslim lust for world domination “tends to be the prominent driving force in politics and one accompanied by a great degree of wilful violence.”
By contrast, news that an organization that employs Laith Marouf, an activist with a history of making anti-Semitic remarks, received a $133,822 federal anti-racism grant received wall-to-wall coverage.
Responding to request for comment from the Progress Report in July, May vowed to continue his “personal education about Islam, and all faiths,” maintaining he does not espouse the views he articulated in 2009.
“Working with representatives from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, I will be meeting with leaders in Alberta’s Muslim community to learn more about their lived experiences in Alberta and to work towards overcoming discrimination against the Islamic community,” he added.
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About a week later, an article in the C2C Journal, where the review originally appeared, from editors George Koch and Peter Shawn Taylor claimed the Progress Report and CBC News were taking May out of context, and that he was merely describing Karsh’s views, not his own. At the same time, the piece defended Karsh’s views.
Prior to his firing, an email request to the human rights commission asking May to respond to NCCM’s letter went unanswered.
In other news …
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Alphabet he would support its aborted Sidewalk Labs smart city project in Toronto in a private call with its chairman two months before the proposal was made public.
Jean Charest says he’s returning to the private sector after getting trounced by Pierre Poilievre in the federal Conservative leadership race.
The Green Party shitshow continues post-Annamie Paul, with both MPs — Elizabeth May and Mike Morrice — threatening to quit the party if its leadership race, in which May is running, is postponed.
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