Source: (Law Society of Yukon - YouTube)/X

The Trudeau government is walking back previous statements about the newly appointed head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, now saying that Birju Dattani did disclose information about his controversial past. 

Dattani, the new head of the CHRC, has been the subject of controversy since his appointment was announced. Concerns mounted over his affiliations and previous comments made on social media under the name “Mujahid Dattani.”

Initially, the government claimed to not know about these social media posts, claiming that Dattani had not disclosed this information to public servants responsible for conducting his security assessment. 

Now, the government is saying that Birju had been clear about his past but had not disclosed everything. 

According to CBC News, a spokesperson for Justice Minister Arif Virani confirmed that Dattani did share that he used an alias to “public servants as part of the security assessment of Mr. Dattani,” however, he did not provide the name of the alias with Virani’s office.

In 2015, Dattani shared a stage with a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic fundamentalist group and spoke at a series of “Israel Apartheid Week” events at British universities. 

The events  promoted the boycott, divestment, and sanction of Israel, or what’s known as the BDS movement.

“Workers should boycott Israel and Israeli goods,” Dattani was quoted saying at the protest by the News Line, a Marxist outlet.

Dattani also protested outside the Israeli embassy in London as crowds reportedly chanted, “Zionism is terrorism” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” in 2012.

After these events surfaced, Conservatives denounced Dattani’s appointment and called for an immediate meeting to discuss the issue.   

The Trudeau government responded by launching an investigation into Dattani.

 “We have become aware of potentially troubling statements attributed to Mr. Dattani as well as events he participated in while he was a graduate student in London, England a decade ago,” a spokesperson for Justice Minister Arif Virani told National Post in a statement on Thursday. 

However, the Conservatives criticized the Liberal government for conducting its investigation. 

The opposition party argues that the House of Commons justice committee should be the one to probe the matter, instead of the government investigating itself.

Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman criticized the Liberals for failing to properly vet Dattani in the first place, saying that a “simple Google search” would have provided sufficient evidence of his past. 

“Either this was the Trudeau government’s incompetence with a simple google search or they didn’t think their new Human Rights Commissioner’s antisemitic online posts were a problem,” said Lantsman.

“Now we know, they knew this guy’s history and they didn’t care.”

True North contacted Dattani’s lawyer Muneeza Sheikhn for comment, however, she said she could not comment due to her client’s ongoing investigation.

“There is an open investigation on this matter, under the circumstances, we cannot provide a statement,” said Sheikhn.

In a previous statement released by Sheikhn, she said that “some of these organizations (and people) have demonstrated a pattern of attacking Muslims in leadership positions.” 

“They have accused Mr. Dattani of hiding his past online conduct from the CHRC — this is false,” she added.

The Justice Minister’s office did respond to True North for comment on this matter.