How Has Birju Dattani’s Appointment Not Been Rescinded Yet?

The Liberals continue to send the message that anti-Semitism is tolerated in Canada at the highest levels of government.

At a time of rising anti-Semitism, the Liberal government should – at the very least – try not to make things worse.

To avoid making things worse, the government could try things like not appointing someone who has endlessly criticized the world’s only Jewish State as the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

So of course, the Liberals did the exact opposite.

Justice Minister Arif Virani appointed Birju Dattani to head the CHRC.

This isn’t just some obscure appointment.

Under the Online Harms Act (Bill C-36), the CHRC would be in charge of handling ‘hate speech’ complaints:

“The Bill would define “hate speech” in the CHRA and empower individuals and groups to file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against users who post hate speech online.

As part of the proposed amendments, “hate speech” would be defined based on Supreme Court of Canada decisions. The Bill defines “hate speech” as the content of a communication that expresses detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of prohibited grounds of discrimination.”

This makes Dattani’s appointment quite disturbing, given his history.

As noted by Michael Geist, the government seemed to ‘overlook’ a few things when making the appointment:

“Yet what the release did not say is that Birju Dattani once went by the name Mujahid Dattani. Search under that name and it reveals a deeply troubling record of posts and appearances that call into question the ability for Jewish or Zionist Canadians to get a fair, impartial hearing at the Commission.

The Globe story covers the stunning history: a now deleted tweet that linked to an article comparing Israelis to Nazis, which is considered antisemitism under the IHRA definition adopted by the Canadian government. Further, there was a tweet to an article likening Palestinians to Jews incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto and a joint conference appearance with a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist fundamentalist organization which is opposed to the existence of the state of Israel and banned in Britain. In addition, he was interviewed at a rally featuring chants that “Zionism is terrorism” as he personally called for a boycott of Israel.”

If his appointment stands, Dattani will be in charge of deciding what is and isn’t considered online hate speech.

Given his history, many Canadians would be right to imagine that Dattani would give a wide berth to anti-Semitic rhetoric, while cracking down hard on any criticism of radical Islam.

We can imagine the Liberal government would continue letting anti-Semitism spread like wildfire, while using the full power of the state against anyone deemed ‘Islamophobic.’

By appointing Dattani, the Liberals are sending a clear message that anti-Semitism is tolerated at the highest levels.

And no apology from Dattani or spin from the government changes that, because they will just be saying what they need to say to get through the next news cycle, wait for people to move on to other issues, and then have Dattani remain in the role.

Thus, nothing short of an immediate revocation of Dattani’s appointment will do.

Not only is it outrageous that Dattani was appointed in the first place, but it’s outrageous that he still hasn’t been removed from the role.

The Liberal government must take immediate action.

Birju Dattani cannot remain as the head of CHRC.

Spencer Fernando


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