Justice Secretary Tyler Shandro asks Alberta Human Rights Commission head to resign | TBEN News


Attorney General Tyler Shandro has asked Collin May, head of Alberta’s Human Rights Commission, to resign in response to concerns raised by more than two dozen Muslim organizations.

In July, May came under fire after the surfacing of a 2009 book review he wrote that critics say emphasized Islamophobic ideas.

In response, May said in a statement that he was determined to meet with Alberta’s Muslim community “to learn more about their experiences in Alberta and work to overcome discrimination against the Muslim community.”

However, a open letter signed by 28 Muslim organizations in Alberta Claims published Monday that May failed to meet with Muslim leaders.

“After receiving the letter, Secretary Shandro requested clarification from Mr May,” Shandro’s press secretary Joseph Dow said in an emailed statement. “After reviewing the explanation, Minister Shandro has asked for Mr May’s resignation.”

TBEN requested an interview with May or a representative from the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Monday, but received no response. The commission told TBEN in July that its policy mandate prevents a chief from conducting media interviews to maintain neutrality.

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Canadian Muslim National Council spokesman Said Omar said Muslim leaders, after May committed to working with the community, suggested dates for a meeting with May, which he declined.

May never responded to their request to suggest dates that work for him, Omar said.

After the initial controversy, NCCM also became aware that May had sent letters threatening them with legal action, Omar said.

Omar declined to share who received legal letters from May, but confirmed that neither the NCCM nor any of the signatories to the open letter received any.

TBEN has received a letter threatening legal action from May over an article published July 16 about the book review controversy.

The open letter calls May’s actions “simply unacceptable”.

“At a time when brutal attacks on Muslims in Alberta are on the rise, particularly against black Muslim women who wear hijab, Mr May’s decision to threaten to sue his critics, while at the same time suggesting contact with the Muslim communities in Alberta has been extraordinary and shocking,” the letter said.

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May, a Calgary attorney, began his new five-year role as chief in July after serving on the committee since 2019.

Shortly afterwards, he was criticized for a review by the Israeli-British historian Efraim Karsh’s Islamic Imperialism: A History.

In the review, May Karsh’s Islamophobic position emphasized that Islam is inherently militaristic.

“[Karsh] defies the multicultural illusion of peaceful Islam and gets to the heart of the matter. Islam is not a peaceful religion abused by radicals. Rather, it is one of the most militaristic religions known to mankind, and it is precisely this militaristic heritage that informs the actions of radicals in the Muslim world,” May wrote in his 2009 review.

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In an interview in July, Omar explained that the understanding of Islam is incorrect and that it is not the view of most, if any, Muslims.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission established by the government of Alberta. The director and associates handle complaints filed under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

May’s role, as head of the commission, is to review appeals against the director’s decisions and appoint members of the commission to serve on human rights tribunals. The chief is also responsible for informing the minister of justice on human rights issues and guiding the director and other members of the commission.