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Template:Infobox Officeholder El-Farouk Khaki (born October 26, 1963) is a Canadian refugee and immigration lawyer, and human rights activist on issues including gender equality, sexual orientation, and progressive Islam. He was the New Democratic Party's candidate for the House of Commons in the riding of Toronto Centre in a March 17, 2008 by-election. Khaki came in second to Liberal Bob Rae with 13.8% of the vote.


He was born in Tanzania, which his family fled in 1971 escaping political persecution. His parents arrived in Canada in 1974 and settled in Vancouver where Khaki grew up.[1] He earned a law degree from the University of British Columbia before moving to Ottawa in 1988[1] and has lived and worked in Toronto since 1989.[2] He worked as a political staffer at Queen's Park until 1993 when he left to establish his legal practice.[2] Khaki is a member of the Upper Law Society of Canada and has been in private practice since 1993.[3]


Khaki founded Salaam in 1991, a support group for LGBT Muslims.[1]

In 2003, he helped organized the first female-led, mixed-gender Muslim congregational prayers in Canada for the Salaam/Al-Fateha International Conference, and in 2005, organized the first such prayers anywhere to be held in a mosque.[4][5][6] He has served on the Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Community & Race Relations, on the board of The 519 Community Centre, and is now elected chair of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS.[7]

Khaki regularly speaks publicly at events and in news media on issues ranging from refugee protection,[8] to the global AIDS crisis, Canadian multiculturalism,[9] racism,[9] Zpersecution of sexual minorities around the world,[10] and religious and racial profiling in the war on terror, among other topics. His appearances include CTV's morning television program Canada AM,[11] CBC Radio One's The Current,[12] and others.

On April 30, 2007, Khaki won the New Democratic Party's nomination in Toronto Centre.[13] Since then, incumbent Bill Graham resigned necessitating a by-election to be held on March 17, 2008.[14]

Refugee law

In 1994, Khaki represented a refugee claim before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada which lasted eight sittings rather than the usual single session and led to the implementation of sensitivity training for IRB Members and staff on sexual orientation issues.[2]

Khaki continues to specialize in representing before the IRB a variety of severely marginalized social groups, such as persons living with HIV/AIDS and women fleeing domestic violence or other gender-based persecution.[2]

Progressive Islam

Main article: Liberal movements within Islam

Khaki founded Salaam, the first gay Muslim group in Canada and second in the world, in 1993, and organized the Salaam/Al-Fateha International Conference in 2003.[1] He also co-founded and served as Secretary General of the Muslim Canadian Congress, which, after its inception in 2002, became nationally known in Canada as the voice of progressive Canadian Muslims. In August 2006 the group split in two over the issue of participation in demonstrations against Israel's role in the 2007 Lebanon conflict. Khaki and many other members including much of the leadership lea the MCC and created a new organization, the Canadian Muslim Union (CMU), stating that the new organization "will be far more responsive to the issues being faced by the community at large, rather than having a very single agenda that the MCC (has)".[15]


Khaki was honoured at the 2006 Pride Week gala for his role in promoting queer Muslim awareness through Salaam.[1] Reverend Brent Hawkes of the Toronto Metropolitan Community Church said of Khaki and the group, "I think Salaam is very important, both locally and internationally, in terms of creating a safe place for people of Muslim tradition to be able to come together both socially and spiritually". Of Khakis role, he said "The work that El-Farouk has done is to help to make sure there is an option there."[1]

In spring 2007, Khaki received the Steinert and Ferreiro Award from the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal Foundation for his "major role in paving the way in Canada for refugee protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender", and because he "broke ground" in his work on gender equality in the Muslim community.[16] The previous summer, Pride Toronto, one of the world’s largest gay-pride festivals, recognized his work building tolerance and inclusiveness in the Muslim community with the 2006 Pride Award for Excellence in Spirituality.[17] Also in 2007, Khaki was honoured with the Canadian Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference Hero Award for contributions made in the area of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people for his work with refugees who are sexual minorities or suffering from HIV.[18]

Electoral record

Template:CanElec5-by |- Template:Canadian elections/Liberals |Bob Rae |align=right|14,187 |align=right|59.2 |align=right|+7.0% |- Template:Canadian elections/NDP |El-Farouk Khaki |align=right|3,299 |align=right|13.8 |align=right|-9.9% |- Template:Canadian elections/Green |Chris Tindal |align=right|3,263 |align=right|13.6 |align=right|+8.4% |- Template:Canadian elections/Conservative |Donald Meredith |align=right|2,982 |align=right|12.5 |align=right|-5.7% |- Template:Canadian politics/party colours/AAEVP/row |Animal Alliance |Liz White |align=right|123 |align=right|0.5 |align=right|+0.4% |- Template:Canadian elections/Canadian Action |Doug Plumb |align=right|97 |align=right|0.4 |align=right|- |- Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row |align="left" colspan=2|Liberal hold |align="right"|Swing |align="right"| +8.5 |align="right"| Template:End


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Catherine Patch, "Queer Muslims find peace; El-Farouk Khaki founded Salaam Offers a place to retain spirituality," Toronto Star, June 15, 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Nicholas Keung, Gay, Muslim lawyer bucks stereotypes -- El-Farouk Khaki says human rights abuses call for a 'jihad,' a struggle against injustice, Toronto Star, March 29, 2007
  3. Lavender Law 2007 Speaker Biography, [1], Lavender Law 2007 Speaker Bios, September 6, 2007
  4. Rachel Sa, "Making history first mosque prayers led by a woman: Mixed-gender service", National Post, July 2, 2005
  5. Jen Gerson, "Woman leads Islamic prayers in mosque, a first for Canada -- Country could become the conscience of the religion, she says in Friday sermon", Globe & Mail, July 2, 2005
  6. [2], Washington Post/Newsweek
  7. [3],
  8. Frank Prendergast, "Lives at risk, warn activists", Xtra!, February 25, 1998
  9. 9.0 9.1 Zuhair Kashmeri, "Does the UofT's discipline code target minorities?", Toronto Star, April 4, 1995
  10. Charles Montgomery, "Queer Refugees -- Canada is seen as a haven for those persecuted for their sexual orientation. Do we deserve the praise?", Georgia Straight, Vol. 35, #1754, Aug. 2-9, 2001
  11. Gay refugee claimant fights deportation order, CTV, February 8, 2007
  12. Gay persecution in Iraq, Islamic historical context, CBC, June 12, 2006
  13. Rob Salerno, NDP picks queer lawyer for Toronto Centre, Xtra!, May 10, 2007
  14. Barbara Yaffe, Byelections will show whether Tories have any Quebec traction, Vancouver Sun, August 17, 2007
  15. Tamara Cherry, "Directors of Muslim group quit en masse; Split occurs in protest of Lebanon war," Toronto Star, August 24, 2006
  16. Tireless Activist and Advocate for Human Rights, LGCA, 2007
  17. Award Honourees Announced, Pride Toronto, June 20, 2006
  18. "El-Farouk Khaki honoured with 2007 CBA SOGIC Hero Award," Canadian Bar Association, August 11, 2007, accessed March 20, 2008

External links

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