A multilingual grad of Yale, McGill, the University of Toronto, and the London School of Economics could become the next Supreme Court of Canada justice.
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he's nominated Mahmud Jamal to fill the spot being vacated by the soon-to-retire Justice Rosalie Abella.
Jamal is currently a justice on the Ontario Court of Appeal.
He was born in Kenya to Ismaili Muslim parents, who immigrated to northern England when he was a toddler.
"Since I attended Anglican schools, I was raised by day as a Christian, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and absorbing the values of the Church of England, and by night as a Muslim, memorizing Arabic prayers from the Quran and living as part of the English Ismaili diaspora," he stated in a Department of Justice questionnaire.
Mahmud marries a woman who immigrated from Iran via the Philippines as a teenager during the Iranian revolution. She was part of Iran's persecuted Bahá’í community and he later converted to her faith.
"These personal experiences have unavoidably exposed me to some of the challenges, interests, and aspirations of immigrants and visible and religious minorities as they seek to integrate their families into Canada," Mahmud stated. "These experiences of the diversity of Canadians have been broadened and deepened over the course of more than 20 years of professional life."
He also stated that as a lawyer, he represented the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples as an intervener before the Federal Court of Appeal.
"But I have also represented resource interests in Aboriginal litigation—in treaty rights, Aboriginal title, and duty to consult cases—before the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Trial Division), and Supreme Court of Canada," he added. "These cases have allowed me to study and gain a deeper understanding of the history, customs, and traditions of some of the Indigenous peoples in Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada."
Abella has been the foremost voice of progressive values on the Supreme Court of Canada bench. She's scheduled to retire on July 1.