July 29, 2014

Harper to Canadians: “Some citizens matter, some don’t”

By Zidane Mohamed

Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian, remains in prison  
On June 23rd, the Egyptian high court sentenced three reporters for Al-Jazeera to 7 years in prison, advancing the ongoing campaign of censorship of journalists and activists by the current military dictatorship, which has the support of the United States and Israel. One of them is a Canadian-Egyptian journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, who was arrested in December in Cairo as he was covering the aftermath of the army's removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July 2013.

The Canadian government, which prides itself as a champion of human rights, should do its best to intervene in aiding its citizens from the crimes of military dictatorships. But after the Omar Khadr fiasco, and a decade of “war on terror” jingoism, they passed a pernicious bill that would legally absolve the Canadian government of any responsibility to intervene. Bill C-24 reiterates the Harper government’s commitment in continuing institutionalized racism, which discriminates against migrant peoples, who are often racialized. Bill C-24 gives the immigration minister expanded powers over citizenship rights, which include revoking the citizenship of dual-citizens who have “engaged in certain actions contrary to the national interest of Canada”.

Enabled by the new C-24 bill, it is now within the powers of the immigration minister to simply revoke the citizenship of Mohamed Fahmy. He was charged with ‘terrorism’, a charge often used to silence political dissent, and further fuel Islamophobia. This gives the immigration minister grounds to revoke his citizenship as per amendment J in the security and fraud provisions in this bill which states that it is “providing for the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens who, while they were Canadian citizens, engaged in certain actions contrary to the national interest of Canada, and permanently barring these individuals from reacquiring citizenship”.

The YCL-LJC of Canada has demanded the repeal of this criminal law. Repatriating Mohamed Fahmy should be a top priority of the government of Canada. The government can’t be allowed to attach citizenship rights and whether or not it decides to protect its citizens to its imperialist agenda around the world.

Zidane Mohamed (author) speaks at an anti-Bill C24 rally in Vancouver

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