Ontario MPP Goldie Ghamari accused of ‘Islamophobia,’ again

By Alan S. Hale June 27, 2024

Ontario PC MPP Goldie Ghamari met with controversial far-right activist Stephen Yaxley Lennon, known commonly as “Tommy Robinson.” (Photo: Ontario NDP Press Office)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is, once again, refusing to remove PC MPP Goldie Ghamari from caucus despite renewed calls from the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) after she met with controversial far-right activist Stephen Yaxley Lennon, known commonly as “Tommy Robinson.”

“The premier is extremely disappointed in MPP Ghamari’s decision to engage with and give a platform to an individual whose behaviour and beliefs are at odds with our government,” said Ford’s spokesperson Caitlin Clark. “It is deeply regrettable that this engagement took place. As soon as this matter was brought to our attention, the post was immediately taken down.”

Robinson is the founder of the English Defence League, a far-right activist group. The NCCM noted the league was praised by Anders Behring Breivik in his manifesto, written before he killed 69 people in a 2011 mass shooting in Norway.

Ghamari shared a screenshot on social media of her video chat with Robinson, which took place after he was arrested in Calgary this week for what a police officer described as “an outstanding immigration warrant.” He has since been released from custody, although he is not allowed to leave the city, which he was visiting as part of a podcast tour.

Although evidence of her meeting with Robinson has been taken down, Ghamari has not removed another social media post criticizing Robinson’s arrest as a “double standard,” complaining that pro-Palestinian activist Firas Al Najim — who B’nai Brith Canada has called a “dangerous antisemitic agitator” — has not been arrested the way Robinson was.

After her meeting with Robinson became public, the NCCM said it was “shocked and furious,” calling Robinson a “well-known British Islamophobe and criminal” and noting he was sentenced to prison for assaulting an off-duty police officer in 2005.

Robinson was also sentenced to nine months in jail for contempt of court in 2019 after breaking a publication ban on a court case, where he described the defendants publicly as running “rape jihad gangs.”

For her part, Ghamari responded to the criticism by saying she was “not aware of [Robinson’s] history prior to the meeting” and that she condemns “all forms of Islamophobia and antisemitism.”

“I chose to meet with him because I am an Iranian-Canadian immigrant who has been speaking out on behalf of human rights violations by the Islamic Regime in Iran against Iranians in Iran and their attempts to spy and threaten Iranians in Canada,” Ghamari explained.

“He wanted to discuss the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which was recently listed as a terrorist entity in Canada.”

In November, Ghamari faced another call for her removal from the PC caucus because of her social media posts, which the NCCM argued “recycled some of the worst Islamophobic fear-mongering” while criticizing pro-Palestinian protests in the initial weeks of the war in Gaza.

NCCM CEO Stephen Brown said Ghamari should not be given a third chance.

“This latest conduct is truly disappointing and egregious,” said Brown. “No apology is sufficient at this point.”

The NDP also jumped on the controversy Wednesday, sending a fundraising email to supporters telling them that “the Conservatives are platforming racist bigots.”

Meanwhile, Premier Ford attended an Eid celebration in Milton the same night.