News Analysis Oct 27, 2021 11:48 AM EST

CBC embarrasses itself with bizarre column by woman afraid of white voters

Author Zeahaa Rehman said she lived in fear of white voters hating her because she is Muslim.

CBC embarrasses itself with bizarre column by woman afraid of white voters
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC
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An article written by an Elections Canada info officer was edited by the CBC in wake of receiving massive backlash, after author Zeahaa Rehman wrote that she lived in fear of white voters potentially hating her because she is of Muslim faith.

In the article, Rehman writes that she had an interaction with an elderly white woman with a walker, with whom she had a pleasant experience with—but was struck by fear when she remembered that this old woman could, potentially, be a vehement racist.

"I was buoyed both at her dedication to her civic duty as well as her kind words," she wrote. "However, after she left, I couldn't help but wonder whether — despite our pleasant interaction —she was one of the people who hate people like me."

Rehman continues on to acknowledge that though this view of the world is "unhealthy," the fact that she is a visible Muslim and a South Asian woman means she sometimes needs to worry about being hated. This, she says, is to events such as the murder of a Muslim family that took place in London, Ontario over the summer.

Later, the article would be stealth edited, with Rehman's comments tweaked by the CBC. An updated version of the article states: "despite our pleasant interaction —she was one of the voters (of which there are many, across all backgrounds) who might hate people like me. Similar thoughts ran through my mind as I greeted others during my shift."

The update is perhaps meant to remove specificity away from the elderly woman's potential hatred of Muslims, and to instead pin Rehman's paranoia more on the author herself.

Rehman writes that she was floored when counting votes at the end of the night, when she realized that "many of the people who had seemingly been nice to me might have voted for candidates who have supported" laws that Rehman believes negatively target Muslim women.

Rehman specifically calls out Conservative MPs, including Conservative leader Erin O'Toole and his use of the campaign slogan "Take Canada Back," which she deems xenophobic. She also decided to lump in Derek Sloan, who was booted from the party. Rehman does admit that there have been issues with anti-Semitism within NDP ranks.

An editors note at the bottom of the article reads, "This column and headline has been revised to clarify the writer's reaction was to some conservative candidates and their policies, and not broadly to conservative parties."

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