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Muslim prayer. Photo: CIJnews

Muslim students insulted at Public Schools

Since fall, 2016, Muslim students in the Peel Region have been sharing their dismay regarding their religious rights in public schools. The most recent board meeting was January 6, 2017.

The Muslim students want the right to pray not only on Fridays, but every day of the week, if it is convenient for them. They also want the right to write their own sermons rather than rely on a series of six sermons provided by local Imams.

“Eliminate the prohibition of allowing students to pray together outside of Jummah [Friday] prayers if it is convenient [to the students],” said campaign leader Shahmir Durrani, a University of Toronto at Mississauga student and activist for the Canadian Muslim Youth Federation. “The board should not be policing religion.” He added that the policy is unjust because it specifically targets Islam.

Maleeha Baig, a student at the same university and coordinator for the High School Muslim Student Associations, a subsidiary of the youth federation said: “Policing this one group [Muslims] based on prejudice and control… could have serious psychological impacts,”

Imam Ibrahim Hindy also said the restriction risks evoking memories of dictatorial regimes where freedom of speech is tightly restricted, especially among newcomers to Canada.

“Regardless of whether that is the intent, that is the memory it triggers,” he said.

Most recently Hamza Aziz, 19, said he and other Muslim students felt insulted at the inference that their sermons could degenerate into hate speech.

“It’s as though you’re looking at students through a lens of guilt, and making them feel like suspects as opposed to Canadians with rights and values,” the student at Mississauga’s John Fraser Secondary School said. “It’s as though you’re looked down upon.”

I think the most important comment was made by Shahmir Durrani. “’The board should not be policing religion’ and that the policy is unjust because it specifically targets Islam.”

Well, he’s right. The board is targeting Islam because only Islam has had the audacity to demand that their religion, their ideology, which is diametrically opposed to the ideology of democracy as taught and practiced in Canada, be allowed in the public sphere while Christianity which was part of the secular curriculum has been removed. For more than forty years Canada has worked to make schools secular-safe for all. No religion promoted or practiced in publicly funded schools.

Today, talking about Christmas gives people palpitations as they trip over themselves to say Happy Holidays. Judaism is rarely discussed. Many Jewish people pray three times a day. I doubt that the vast majority of Canadians know this. Jews don’t make demands of the public sphere. If they cannot pray in the afternoon, they add those prayers to the evening time. And according to Islam, if one is unable to pray during the day, those prayers can be said at night. Yet Islam is shaming us into allowing their prayers into the public schools, and demanding that we accommodate every need as if we were an Islamic country.

I have yet to hear the same demands from Buddhists, Mormons Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i; that the schools provide them with a prayer space. Muslim students are not just demanding a prayer space; they want to have a full on prayer service: sermon included. This is not a simple request for accommodation for Muslim students to pray quickly and get back to class. This is a demand for a full religious service for Muslims in secular schools.

We live in a secular country and yet we are being pushed into prioritizing one religion in the name of tolerance! This is the slow abduction of our secular society based on the Judeo/Christian ethic. Muslim students, in the name of Islam, are trying to manipulate our pride in freedom of religion and speech in order to break the very foundation of secular, liberal democracy. They are trying to shame us, by calling us Islamophobic, into going back in time when a particular religion was in public schools-except it isn’t the religion that provided the ethic that underpins our democracy; it is an ethic that promotes misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia.

Canada is not obligated to fulfil these requests

Whereas Section 15.(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that “every individual”, not belief system or ideology, “is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

At the January 6 meeting Trustee Nokha Dakroub told CBC Toronto.”You can’t tell people, ‘Here’s your prayer, read it word for word,’ and that’s your prayer for the day,” she said. “We should not be interfering.”

We should not interfere in prayers and sermons being said in publicly funded secular schools? We are a country that according to our Prime Minister Trudeau prides itself on diversity and pluralism, progressiveness, multi-cultural, multi ethnic, all equal-yet we have allowed one group special status-more equal than all the others. Islam.

This is Canada folding like a cheap tent when it comes to protecting our secular values.

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About Diane Weber Bederman

Diane Weber Bederman
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. " Diane Weber Bederman is the author of the book "Back to the Ethic:Reclaiming Western Values" (https://www.amazon.com/Back-Ethic-Reclaiming-Western-Values/dp/1927618053) copyright dianebederman.com

243 comments

  1. I thought we were done with all this BS.
    They took out corporal punishment in the schools and then the singing of the National anthem.
    Then they took out the Lord’s prayer because it was deemed that school has no place for religion.
    OK, so tell me now why are we even having this discussion now?

    To make special provisions for Islam to worship at school? Really?
    Where were my special previsions when I wanted to just say the Lord’s prayer at the start of the day?
    Why would you ever entertain anything about making special provisions for one religion over another, or any religion for that matter?
    We don’t work like that here in Canada. We’re not about playing favorites here!

    You can’t have religion of any kind in schools here in Canada because it is deemed as wrong. That’s why they got rid of it all right?!! So Canada stepped into the world of being politically correct.
    So progressive Canadians now is not the time to take a step backwards.
    Not for anyone or any religion.
    Insulted or otherwise!

  2. It is called dhimmitude, or submission to the religion(?) of Islam. See B’at Y’eor and her lifelong studies of this issue.

  3. How come Christians can not pray an have there own area to do as such ..but you will allow Islam / sharia law to have prayers ..in schools an yet nobody else is allowed the same freedoms this is not fair one sided and especially to Canada 🇨🇦 and it’s ppl here who have other faiths …this should not be allowed ..soon They will force Sharia law ..which is anti women !

  4. So let me get this straight. No other religions are allowed to practice their faith on school property but muslims have a prayer room in many schools & now they want to pray where every they wish on school property. Do I sense some inequity here !!!!!! Maybe they should go to the home of mr selfie to pray. I’m sure he would welcome them. 🙄🙄😤😤 🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️

  5. Prayers of any kind dont hurt anyone. Let people pray

  6. Trying to stay positive for 2017,but something don’t smell right.

  7. No Lord’s Prayer No Muslim prayers

  8. they can do their religious stuff….outside of the schools. If we who live here cant pray and say the Lords prayer…why would they think they should

  9. I totally disagree with this but in the end the Muslims will get their way they always do

  10. I quote, “Today, talking about Christmas gives people palpitations as they trip over themselves to say Happy Holidays. Judaism is rarely discussed. Many Jewish people pray three times a day. I doubt that the vast majority of Canadians know this. Jews don’t make demands of the public sphere. If they cannot pray in the afternoon, they add those prayers to the evening time. And according to Islam, if one is unable to pray during the day, those prayers can be said at night. Yet Islam is shaming us into allowing their prayers into the public schools, and demanding that we accommodate every need as if we were an Islamic country.” All Canadians should be made to comply to the same rules, for example pray on your own time. By the way, this picture is NOT of grade school students they are mostly older people and I kid standing up.

  11. Our public schools are there so you can become educated, not to pander to religions, “offending their religous rights” if you prefer brainwashing over being a modern 21st Century Canadian, then either go to religious schools, or go back to the “homeland”, but before you do Google what happens in those schools>>>Then maybe you will chill out…….

  12. Right…. i got picked on a lot in school…. preyed felt right I guess.

  13. This is news? My 14-year-old gets accused of having no soul because he is a Ginger like his old man. Grow a pair for ___ sake.

  14. I’m fairly religious, and I still think this comment is hilarious. Also, *Prayed. 😉

  15. We Canadians must band together and let Trudeau know just how we feel…we must not allow political correctness to ruin Canada the way it’s ruined America…

  16. My religion says I’m suppose to dance around in a loincloth and feathers around a fire..Once a day would be nice…lol

  17. nobody gets to pray in schools,,why should they

  18. Nobodies stopping them from praying at home, leave islam in islam countries

  19. tell them to join madarasa and not public funded schools..

  20. Go back to ur country. Jeez enough is enough. Come to Canada. Do what we do . No God damn backbone in Canada. Stop giving in .to every culture coming here it’s really pathetic! !!

  21. Religion DOES NOT belong in public schools!!! One gets it, ALL gets it!!

  22. There should not be any special treatment for Muslims at school. School is a place of learning not a place of prayers. Pray at home or when they go to the Mosque.

  23. If they dont like it here they can go back where they came from. We dont need to accomodate them.

  24. Not acceptable. This is Canada, not Afghanistan.

  25. This regression is creeping into Canada. I have only seen this since Trudeau. He wants more of this to be granted favour by Muslim 1%. They are on a mission.

  26. Muslim students insulted? Canada is insulted – you take prayer out of school and any reference to it and you want us to feel bad because Muslims are insulted!!?????????

  27. Good Mr Trudeau. …😡😡😡😡😡😡

  28. You came here for a reason practice you religious beliefs behind closed doors . But try and impose you religious beliefs onto others . What a joke

  29. Fine give them “their” right to pray… BUT reinstate the playing of the National Anthem and recitle of the Lords Prayer every morning like WE used to before you turtled.

  30. No matter what anyone says or does against the Muslims Trudeau will always be there to protect them instead of his own people

  31. I think they pray six times a day or more.

  32. I hate to say this but if only “christians” were as faithful towards their God as the muslims are to their god, then perhaps the Christian God wouldn’t have sent the Muslim to punish them?

  33. I always preferred the prayers supplied by the preacher. Like the preacher who suggested that we shoot down the next Aeroflot flight.

    Good times.

  34. Islam, like Catholicism are deceptive death cults…this is fact!

  35. Does no one understand where this will go in a few generations. World history folks. Time to say no to this ideology spreading in Canada it will divide and it is political.

  36. The answer every School Canada is NO

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