Originally published under the title "The Push to Boot Candidates Accused of Islamophobia Raises Questions."
On Friday, the Green Party fired their candidate in the Quebec riding of Lévis-Lotbinière after he was labelled an 'Islamophobe' because he dared to criticize a mosque leader.
Luc Saint-Hilaire, who until recently was in Algeria giving professional training as part of a UN Empowerment Program for mostly veiled Muslim women, told me all he did was "urge an identified spokesperson of the Muslim community of Quebec to react after [an alleged] brutal aggression that shocked the entire region. ... I consider that the silence of the spokesperson (otherwise very active on the public square in the name of the community) suggests a refusal to condemn the act of aggression."
Saint-Hilaire was referring to 39-year-old Quebec City cab driver Frej Haj Messaoud who was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly setting his ex-wife on fire in Quebec City.
"I do not want to be at the centre of a controversy in the public square. I prefer that all this be forgotten as soon as possible," Saint-Hilaire said, but emphasized, "I am not a racist and an Islamophobe."
If there was any consolation, Saint-Hilaire is not the first and certainly not the last Canadian politician falling victim to lobbying that started with the infamous M-103 moved in 2018 by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid and one that I had predicted could lead to stifling any criticism of Islamist theocracy in Canada.
Saint-Hilaire is not the first Canadian politician to fall victim to the anti-'Islamophobia' lobby.
Before Saint-Hilaire was punished by the Green Party for criticizing an Islamic cleric, Salim Mansur's nomination as a candidate was disallowed because he too was judged too critical of Islamic issues, despite him being a Muslim.
And just three days after Saint-Hilaire's vilification, another Conservative Party candidate came in the cross hairs.
This time the victim was Ghada Melek, the federal Conservative candidate for Mississauga-Streetsville and the complaint came from Imam Ibrahim Hindi of Mississauga.
Writing for an online website, Imam Hindi demanded that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer fire Malek. He wrote: "Scheer needs to be quick and decisive by removing Melek from the ballot, and setting a tone for the coming federal election this October that scapegoating Muslims and identity politics are not welcome."
So, what was Melek's crime? It seems that in 2018, the Egyptian Coptic Christian community activist had advocated against the presence of advertisements on Mississauga city buses promoting the hijab by invoking Christianity and Christian symbolism.
Saint-Hilaire and Melek know a thing or two that gullible, guilt-ridden, mainstream politicians are blind to.
The bus ads were sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In his demand to Scheer that he fire Melek, Imam Hindi asked the Conservative leader "Why effectively endorse a candidate who feels that religiosity should not be found in the public sphere at all?"
My answer would be because Melek knows a thing or two that gullible guilt-ridden mainstream politicians are blind to. Melek's letter to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie on the issue of the hijab promotion advertising reveals why imams such as Hindi want her out of the race.
"When I first saw this ad on a Mississauga transit bus, I didn't pay much attention as I thought it was an advertisement in Egypt. After all, many Egyptian women today are removing the hijab after realizing that it was more of a political and cultural symbol and less of a religious one."
And for having the courage to stand up to this in Canada, activists have the audacity to demand she be fired.
And if Scheer does fire Melek, Trudeau wins a second term as prime minister.
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.