Thursday, November 10, 2016

Delegates say Peel board's stance on censoring sermons troublesome for Muslim students

50 shades of orange?
A school board procedure that directs Muslim students to use pre-approved sermons for Friday prayer has caused a stir, with some calling the move Islamophobic.

"In a post 9-11 world, this projects a sense of suspicion on these students," delegate Shahmir Durani said at the Tuesday, Nov. 8 Peel District School Board meeting.

Delegate Maleeha Baig, a University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) student, said the structure behind pre-written sermons infringes on religious freedom and targets a group that "often faces physical and verbal violence on a daily basis."

Even trustee Nokha Dakroub said the matter "just makes you weird in your stomach." The Mississauga Wards 9 and 10 trustee was the most vocal among her peers in raising concerns during the regular board meeting. This visibly aggravated chair Janet McDougald, who kept steering the discussion away from debate.

Varsha Naik, a community liaison co-ordinator with the Peel board, said the implementation of how administrators should address Friday prayer is a religious accommodation operating procedure that came into effect in September. There was no public consultation.

Baig doesn't understand why there was a sudden change, as she does not recall any previous issues when she attended Clarkson Secondary School and the structure, which included staff supervision, was loose.

That's partly why students and their families are "baffled" by the new policy said delegate Hamza Aziz, a John Fraser Secondary School student.  (more...)

A guantlet run by the Irish, Jews, Italians, and Poles. A town where culture is a sin.

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