Amira Elghawaby

Journalist &, Human Rights Advocate

Amira is an expert on issues of media representation, nurturing inclusive communities, hate crimes, human rights, and civic engagement.


The Stream - Canada’s stand against Islamophobia

On The Stream: What's behind the controversy: Canada's motion condemning Islamophobia.

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby comments on anti-Muslim hate with CBC News

June 9, 2015 | NCCM Spokesperson Amira Elghawaby discusses the anti-Muslim hate crimes awareness campaign launched by the NCCM. For more information, visit:

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby comments on the Orlando shooting

NCCM Communications Director Amira Elghawaby comments on the Orlando, Florida shooting | June 13, 2016

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby discusses anti-Muslim politics with CBC Radio

Source: CBC Radio December 10, 2015 | NCCM Communications Director Amira Elghawaby on CBC Radio to discuss the politics of fear and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. and its impact in Canada

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby discusses diversity and Islamophobia with CBC Radio

Source: CBC Radio November 23, 2015 | NCCM Communication Director Amira Elghawaby provides commentary on CBC Radio about the concept of 'diversity' and how it interacts with recent issues of Islamophobia. For more information, visit and sign-up for the NCCM's mailing list.

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby discusses federal MP's divisive comments

March 17, 2015 | NCCM Spokesperson Amira Elghawaby discusses MP Larry Miller's divisive comments about the small minority of Muslim women who wear niqab. For more information about the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), visit us at

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby discusses PM's divisive comments on CBC's Power & Politics

Source: CBC News NCCM Spokesperson Amira Elghawaby discusses Prime Minister Stephen Harper's divisive comments and new security legislation on CBC's Power & Politics | February 2, 2015 For more information, visit us at and subscribe to our e-list on our Web site.

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby discusses PM's remarks on citizenship with CBC News

Source: CBC News NCCM Spokesperson Amira Elghawaby on CBC's Power & Politics to discuss the Prime Minister's comments about citizenship & niqabs | February 13, 2015 Join NCCM's e-mail list at our Web site

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby on CBC News about anti-extremism efforts

Source: CBC News The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) today announced the public launch of a 38-page handbook for Canadian Muslim communities about radicalization towards violent extremism. Read the handbook:

NCCM's Amira Elghawaby on CBC News about vandalism of Quebec mosques

November 10, 2014 | NCCM Human Rights Coordinator Amira Elghawaby speaks with CBC News about the vandalism of several Quebec mosques. For more information about the NCCM, visit or subscribe to our e-list on our Web site!

Is the Niqab issue dividing Canadians?

Amira Elghawaby and Shaheen Ashraf believe the niqab debate can be set aside during the election when there are more critical issues to examine as a country. To read more: »»» Subscribe to CBC News to watch more videos: Connect with CBC News Online: For breaking news, video, audio and in-depth coverage: Find CBC News on Facebook: Follow CBC News on Twitter: For breaking news on Twitter: Follow CBC News on Google+: Follow CBC News on Instagram: Follow CBC News on Pinterest: Follow CBC News on Tumblr: »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» For more than 75 years, CBC News has been the source Canadians turn to, to keep them informed about their communities, their country and their world. Through regional and national programming on multiple platforms, including CBC Television, CBC News Network, CBC Radio,, mobile and on-demand, CBC News and its internationally recognized team of award-winning journalists deliver the breaking stories, the issues, the analyses and the personalities that matter to Canadians.

CAIR-CAN Rep. Amira Elghawaby on Global TV on Religious Rights and Citizenship Oaths

CAIR-CAN Spokesperson Amira Elghawaby discusses religious rights and citizenship oaths on Global TV 20/12/12

Opinion: Standing in solidarity with Jewish communities

Amira Elghawaby on Multiculturalism in Canada at TEDxOttawa 2019

Faces of Change: Amira Elghawaby fights for labour rights – and voices often overlooked

The People Do Good Stuff Issue: Amira Elghawaby

THIS Magazine, January 13, 2016Online


“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR THAT THING HERE?” “Why don’t you just go back to where you came from?” That these kinds of remarks are ever voiced might seem far-fetched, almost cartoonishly so, but they are actually common enough that many Muslim women in Canada who wear the hijab hear them at some point in their lives—some even routinely. In this case, it was at a long-term care facility in Ottawa in the mid-2000s. A older man and his ailing sister followed Amira Elghawaby down the hallway, hurling xenophobic comments at her for wearing a headscarf. Elghawaby was visiting her mother, who had multiple sclerosis, something she had done for years without incident. “My mother lived at that hospital. That was like my home … I had so many happy memories in that space,” she says. “I can’t emphasize enough how hurtful it is when it is addressed to you. It really does hurt—a lot.”

Resilient words, resilient women: New collection highlights voices of immigrants

Rabble, December 10, 2015Online


Contributor Amira Elghawaby wrote about becoming a visible minority when she first began to wear hijab. She said the collection captures a diversity of voices. "There is no one cookie cutter impression of what it looks like [to be Canadian]," she said. Elghawaby added that the book creates a space for women to talk about intersectional feminism.

Ottawa police alert Muslim women after reports of verbal abuse

CBC News, October 16, 2015Online


Ottawa police are asking Muslims to report "all forms of abuse" after three Muslim women reported being verbally harassed by strangers while wearing a head scarf, including one incident at a polling station.

Resilience and Triumph: Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories
by Edited by the Book Project Collective
Second Story Press

Resilience and Triumph is a fascinating collection of personal stories from 54 racialized immigrant women who have made Canada their home over the last five decades. Women in their twenties to those in their seventies provide snapshots of their experiences of both welcome and exclusion, and paint a sobering picture of what has been - until now - a buried history.

The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada: Culture, Politics, and Self
Mawenzi House Publishers Ltd.

This volume examines, from diverse perspectives, what it means to be a Muslim in Canada. Is it a public or a private identity, and as an identity is it compatible with a secular democracy such as Canada? What relation does it bear to historical, cultural, and ethnic identities? Is a total agnostic or an atheist a Muslim? Is a person who disavows being a Muslim still a Muslim? How do Muslims cope with anti-Muslim bigotry, especially when it goes “official”? What alterations in social and religious practice and what re-thinking of interpretation can one expect in its evolution? These vital questions of faith, culture, survival, and identity are addressed by prominent members of the Canadian cultural and intellectual community. The results are illuminating, sometimes surprising and sometimes—as in the recent niqab hysteria—deeply disturbing.

What a difference a day makes: The reframing of Canadian Muslims has begun

Published by The Globe and Mail

October 22, 2015

Women in headscarves are smiling everywhere. They are in the subway station in Montreal with brightly coloured headgear and cell phones to match. They are at a rally in Ottawa, up close with the prime-minister-designate as they snap selfies that will trend on Twitter. They are walking with their heads held just a little higher, returning smiles offered by random passersby.


Supremacist Attitudes Are A Universal Enemy

Published by National Council of Canadian Muslims

April 25, 2016

OTTAWA—Is it time for a blanket condemnation of all future terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam, occurring anywhere in the world, to be featured on the front page of every Muslim organization’s website? Or perhaps, every Muslim should permanently pin an expression of horror and an accompanying plea of solidarity on their social media accounts. Don’t misunderstand: the horror, the pain, the solidarity—all of it is real and authentic. But so is the frustration at the expectation that when criminals commit despicable acts of terrorism under the pretext of religion, Muslims everywhere should say something to assure everyone that they don’t support those views.


So who says Muslims can’t be both devout and patriotic?

Published by iPolitics

April 28, 2016

Social media was buzzing this week over a new Environics poll of Canadian Muslims. It should have served to dismiss a lot of poisonous misperceptions out there about matters of loyalty and belonging in Muslim communities. Instead, the initial media coverage ended up angering many. CBC’s original headline acknowledged some of the good news — but somehow still managed to frame the results in a negative light: “Muslim Canadians love Canada, but faith more important to their identity: survey”.


Opinion: Recent polls show a need to stand up for multiculturalism

Published by The Montreal Gazette

December 28, 2014

My dad recently retired from the federal public service after spending over three decades serving this country. His job was to make sure that Canadian-made airplanes were as safe as possible. He was celebrated for his dedicated service by his colleagues and staff upon his retirement. Accolades came in from international safety agencies and aerospace corporations from around the world.


Children banned from flying? Sadly, it’s not that uncommon

Published by The Globe and Mail

January 8, 2016

Sharing vacation stories makes returning to the humdrum of life more bearable, especially for school-age children who eagerly retell their family’s holiday adventures...


Can Canada strike proper balance on rights and security?

Published by The Toronto Star

April 25, 2016

Public safety is paramount to living in a functioning democracy. It’s why governments around the world are committed to ensuring their citizens are protected from those who would do them harm. However, in the frightening days following 9/11 and in the years since then western governments have struggled, and at times failed, at both safeguarding public safety and protecting the freedoms they are ostensibly fighting for. With Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale currently embarking on a sweeping review of national security policy in Canada, and promising to consult with communities and civil society, now is an opportune moment to raise critical issues that have been neglected or bungled for too long.


A women's rights champion is arrested and jailed. What will Canada do?

Published by The Globe and Mail

June 23, 2016

The first time I encountered Canadian-Iranian anthropologist Homa Hoodfar was during a small, intimate talk she gave to students at Carleton University. It was the late 1990s, and she was there to discuss her then-recent book, Between Marriage and the Market: Intimate Politics and Survival in Cairo.


Amira Elghawaby: The devastating cost of securing our skies

Published by The Ottawa Citizen

July 29, 2015

Who pays the price for a highly-secretive security regime intended to protect North Americans who travel by air? As the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the Latif v. Bombardier case last week illustrates, sometimes it is innocent bystanders who take the hit: paying with their reputations, livelihoods, and freedoms. Their crime is that they have the wrong name, and often the wrong ethnic, religious, or racial profile.



Amira Elghawaby is a journalist and human rights advocate. In January 2023, she was appointed as Canada’s Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia.

Prior to the appointment, Elghawaby was a contributing columnist at the Toronto Star and a frequent media commentator on equity and inclusion and delivers keynote presentations and tailored workshops for a variety of audiences.

Elghawaby most recently led strategic communications and campaigns at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She also previously worked in Canada’s labour movement in communications and human rights, spending five years promoting the civil liberties of Canadian Muslims at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) between 2012 to 2017.

Elghawaby has had an extensive career supporting initiatives to counter hate and to promote inclusion, including as a past founding board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and past board member at the Silk Road Institute. She has served two terms as a Commissioner on the Public Policy Forum’s Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression. She currently sits on the National Security Transparency Advisory Group, an independent, arms-length committee that advises the Deputy Minister of Public Safety Canada.

Elghawaby was a writer-in-residence at the 2019 Literary Arts Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Her 2019 TEDXOttawa talk is titled “Multiculturalism: Worth Defending”.

Amira obtained an honours degree in Journalism and Law from Carleton University in 2001.


Marisa Ann Golini Award for Investigative Journalism | Professional

1999 Awarded by Carleton University

Additional Titles and Affiliations

Muslim Youth Fellowship


Silk Road Institute

Board member

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Board member

The Toronto Star


Muslim Link

New Canadian Media

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Past Talks

Crime Prevention Ottawa: Speaker Series

“Addressing Hate Crimes: Creating A Safe City for All.”

Ottawa City Hall, November 25, 2016


  • Pluralism
  • Diversity
  • Islamophobia
  • Muslims in Canada
  • Human Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Anti-discrimination
  • Civic Engagement
  • Ethnic Media & Diversity


  • Carleton University
    Journalism, Law
    B.A., 2001

    Activities and Societies: Editor, writer at the Charlatan.