Canada: Human rights chief to not resign for alleged Islamophobia comments
By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA): The human rights commissioner of a Canadian province refused to resign Thursday for alleged Islamophobia remarks despite being told to do so by his boss.
More than two dozen Muslim groups wrote a letter on Sept. 12 and asked Alberta Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro to fire human rights chief Collin May.
The request came after written remarks made by May in 2009 recently came to light where he said that Islam was “not a peaceful religion misused by radicals. Rather it is one of the most militaristic religions known to man.”
The Muslim groups initially asked to meet with May to discuss the remarks and May said he would. But several dates were put forth by the Muslim community to meet and May declined them all, citing scheduling conflicts.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) then wrote the letter to Shandro, urging the minister to get May’s resignation. The NCCM also noted that May had threatened to sue his critics.
The Minister of Justice, who hired May, agreed and because he failed to meet with the Muslim groups as promised, ordered the human rights chief to resign earlier this week.
Justice Minister Shandro’s department did not formally announce it had removed Collin May as head of the commission but instead emailed to media without comment a copy of the official cabinet order rescinding May’s job.
The cabinet order contained no reasons for the decision or comment from Shandro.
Opposition NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir said Shandro did the right thing.
“I am glad that Mr. May has been removed from this position, and I encourage Minister Shandro to be more thoughtful and diligent in finding a replacement,” said Sabir in a statement.
Thursday, May refused, saying he does not hold the views expressed back in 2009. The comments were included in a book review written by May and he insists the opinion expressed was that of the author, not his own.
There now appears to be a stalemate as May has hired a lawyer to fight for his job. He was appointed to head the Alberta Human Rights Commission in May.
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Map of Canada by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]
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