Muslim Canadian equalities minister calls Taliban “our brothers”

Canada’s left-wing Muslim equalities minister Maryam Monsef has been slammed for referring to the Islamist group the Taliban as “our brothers” in a video clip that has since gone viral online.

“I want to take this opportunity to speak to our brothers, the Taliban” she said, in a slow and deliberate style. “We call on you to ensure the safe and secure passage of any individual in Afghanistan out of the country.”

Ms Monsef made the remark despite also recognising the campaign of violence and terror being carried out by the group, adding: “We are calling on them to immediately cease the violence, the femicide, the genocide, the rapes, the lootings and to return immediately to the peace negotiation table in an inclusive and meaningful way.”

But she reportedly insisted that it was appropriate for her to refer to the group as her “brothers” for cultural reasons, because they are fellow Muslims.

“In terms of the terminology, If you go to messages across the country, Muslims refer to each other as brothers and sisters” she is reported to have said by Global News journalist Rachel Gilmore.

The timing of the embarrassing comment is inopportune for her Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, with Canada set to go to the polls in less than a month.

Mr Trudeau failed to win an overall majority last time he went to the country in 2019, securing just 157 seats with 170 needed to form a single party government. He did however secure the most seats of any party despite winning 200,000 votes less than his Conservative opponents, and has led a minority government through the pandemic.

Polls in recent days show the election is all to play for with the Conservatives and Trudeau’s Liberals neck and neck.

This is in contrast to polls from before the election was called, which showed the Liberals with a consistent lead since September of last year.