In recent months, Ghada Sadaka, a principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School in Markham, ON, has been the centre of controversy after she was accused by parents and Muslim community leaders of posting Islamophobic posts on Facebook.
In an open letter to Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s Minister of Education, Muslim community leaders, educators, activists and concerned citizens, wrote among other things:
“We join the parents who are deeply concerned about the mental and physical wellbeing of their children,” the letter reads. “This is deeply troubling. This is especially disturbing when contextualized within the growing incidents of Islamophobia within society… all children, staff and teachers are entitled to a safe, inclusive & accepting school environment free from fear and hate.”
Hunter intervened in this case which was also investigated by York Region District School board (YRDSB). In a letter sent to YRDSB on November 22, 2016, Hunter wrote:
“Regarding the investigation into allegations of Islamophobia, I understand your concern to respect the confidentiality of the particular investigation. At the same time, the board must reassure the community that there is a clear and thorough process that will be equitably applied to support and protect the safety of students and staff. As we know, when staff, students and parents feel unsafe, the conditions for learning are compromised.
“I am requesting that you articulate what your process is for such investigations and how you ensure that processes are followed. The board can help to reassure all members of its community by clearly communicating all aspects of the policy, including how these determinations are made, the standards to which employees will be held accountable and the types of disciplinary measures and restorative practices available to redress unacceptable behaviour. The community has voiced particular concerns over the transparency of this process and seeks clarity of what are the acceptable standards of behaviour in these circumstances. What will you do to appropriately respond to this community and to the public?
“It is clear from the letters I have received and the repeated calls for action, that some members of the community have a sense of systemic racism within the board. These feelings cannot be downplayed or ignored. The board has a responsibility to acknowledge and address them with demonstrated commitment and action. The relationship with the community is yours to maintain. What will you do to respond to the community? What is your plan to involve parents and community members to address these issues? How do you plan to work with and strengthen the work of the equity committee? How will you show that you are living your equity policy?”
Under the mounting pressure, Ghada Sadaka apologized for posting “discriminatory” posts, pledged to “improve” her “understanding of human rights issues” and social media use, and and took a leave until January 2017.
Are Sadaka’s posts “Islamophobic” or “discriminatory”?
Post no. 1
Ghada Sadaka accused of sharing “Islamophobic” CNN’s report (click HERE)
Post no. 2
Ghada Sadaka’s statement “the (peaceful) majority were irrelevant” portrayed as “Islamophobic” (click HERE)
Post no. 3
On November 14, 2015 Ghada Sadaka shares a link to The Rebel’s article “The Truth about Refugees” accompanied with the following text: “As Canadian we have to be compassionate but yet let’s be very vigilant. An interesting read about Syrian refugees, worth reading.”
Ezra Levant, the author of the article in question, asked the readers to sign a petition that read the following:
“We call on the government to be responsible in any plans for refugees from the Middle East. Only legitimate refugees who have a well-founded fear of persecution should be accepted — not economic migrants. And the government must carefully screen out any jihadists or others who support violence.”
Levant based his argument on a poll taken in 2014 by the Arab Centre for Research and Public Policy Studies in Qatar that showed that 31% of Syrian migrants in refugee camps in the region do not want the Islamic State to be defeated.
In this regard Levant wrote the following:
“It’s a serious problem: an opinion poll of 900 Syrian migrants shows that nearly a third of Syrian “refugees” support terrorist groups… They’re cheering for the terrorists.
“So, out of 25,000 Syrian refugees Trudeau wants to bring in, 7,500 could be ISIS supporters. It gets worse. In that same survey, only 10% of Syrian migrants say radical Islam is a serious problem. But 41% say America or the Jews are.”
To read the findings of the poll conducted by Arab Centre for Research and Public Policy Studies in Qatar click HERE.
Post no. 4
On September 19, 2015 Ghada Sadaka shared with no further comment Jonathan Drew’s photo featuring women wearing bikini and burqa accompanied with the following text: “If bikinis are banned in Muslim countries, then burqas should be banned in Europe.” Jonathan Drew added: “Exactly!!!!!!”
Post no. 5
On January 14, 2015, Ghada Sadaka shared with no further comment a link to the Daily Mail’s article: “Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells fellow Muslims who do not appreciate the ‘freedoms’ of living in the West to ‘pack your bags and f*** off’ on live TV.”
Post no. 6
Ghada Sadaka shared the following article “An Amazing Supermarket Incident In Canada…Muslim Woman Is Put Right In Her Place”.
The following is an excerpt from the article:
“A Muslim woman dressed in a Burkha (a black gown & face mask) was standing with her shopping in a queue at the checkout. When it was her turn to be served, and as she reached the cashier, she made a loud remark about the Canadian Flag lapel pin which the female cashier was wearing on her blouse. The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, ‘Yes, I always wear it proudly. My son serves abroad with the forces and I wear it for him. The Muslim woman then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing and killing her countrymen explaining that she was Iraqi.
“At that point an elderly gentleman standing in the queue stepped forward and interrupted with a calm and gentle voice, and said to the Iraqi woman, ‘Excuse me, but hundreds of thousands of Canadian men and women, just like this lady’s son have fought and sacrificed their lives so that people just like YOU can stand here in Canada, which is MY country, and allow you to blatantly accuse an innocent check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that if you were allowed to be as outspoken as that in Iraq, which you claim to be YOUR country, then we wouldn’t need to be fighting there today. However – now that you have learned how to speak out and criticize the Canadian people who have afforded you the protection of MY country, I will gladly pay the cost of a ticket to help you pay your way back to Iraq. When you get there, and if you manage to survive for being as outspoken as what you are here in Canada, then you should be able to help straighten out the mess which YOUR Iraqi countrymen have got you into in the first place, which appears to be the reason that you have come to MY country to avoid.’”
Post no. 7
On January 11, 2015, Ghada Sadaka shares a Le Monde’s YouTube video entitled “The poignant speech of the brother of Ahmed Merabet, a policeman killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo.”
The following is Le Monde’s report on the video clip (originally in French):
“Malek Merabet, the brother of Ahmed Merabet, a policeman killed in the attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday (January 7th) in Paris, spoke on Saturday at a press conference. He said his brother was “very proud to call himself Ahmed Merabet, to represent the French police and to defend the values of the Republic” before calling to stop the “disorder”. “Stop […] starting wars, burning mosques or synagogues. You are attacking people. It will not bring back our dead and it will not appease families,” he added.
Ghada Sadaka added the following comment:
“A good start, but where is the voice of Muslims who are not extremists and of which they condemn these acts of terrorism. This is the time of vocalizing “where you stand”!!!”