Linda Jeffrey, the Mayor of Brampton, Ontario announced her support of religious accommodation at Peel District School Board (PDSB).
In a official statement, Jeffrey said that public schools must respect any religious requirement, including Muslim prayers, unless there is a financial burden as a result of it. Jeffrey claimed that the opposing voices to the Friday prayers in the public schools are fed by “misinformation, fear mongering, and outright falsehoods.”
The following are excerpts from Jeffrey’s statement (March 9, 2017):
I am alarmed by the recent misinformation and hateful speech surrounding the accommodation of Muslim prayers at the Peel District School Board.
Over the last two decades Muslim students, in schools across the Region of Peel, have been accommodated for Friday prayer. This is not something new.
The Ontario Human Rights Code mandates religious accommodation. Our City and Region have a proud history of upholding religious accommodations at our public schools. Whether it is protecting the right of religious dress, like a Sikh student’s kirpan and turban, or accommodating a vegetarian/kosher/halal religious dietary restriction at a school event, we proudly stand for our Charter rights protecting religious freedom.
Muslim students require a time to pray that may happen during a school day, and we must respect that – as we do any other religious requirement. The only limit on religious accommodation is undue financial burden. Letting Muslim students pray for 20 minutes in an empty space with the supervision of volunteer staff does not cause any financial hardship.
I am troubled by the misinformation, fear mongering, and outright falsehoods being spread by some. Peel is one of the most diverse regions in Canada. We not only cherish diversity, we celebrate it. It is our strength, the very essence of our Region’s character.
On Saturday, March 11, 2017 a few dozens from Mississauga and Brampton gathered at Square One protesting against any religious practices in the public education system.
Brampton Imam: Salafis are “like a disease in the Muslim community”
In a videotaped message to Canadian Muslims on June 13, 2016, Shaykh Faisal Abdur-Razak (الشيخ فيصل عبد الرزاق), a well known Sufi Imam in Brampton, Ontario and the founder of the Islamic Forum of Canada, accused a “specific group” (in Islam) of terrorism because of its “ideology and teachings” which create “this type of behavior.”
According to Abdur-Razak, the solution to terrorism lies in the inner mystical dimension of Islam (Sufism), as it is proven by the fact that Muslims who adopted the Sufi way of life and faith were never involved in terrorism.
We need to return back to Islamic spirituality, what we call Tasawwuf (تصوف) or Sufism, because this gives us a direction for our actions. It gives us a sense of responsibility for our actions. People are mindful of what they do when they can have the spiritual connection with the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him and Allah, glorious and exalted is He. And so you never have any a Sufi suicide bomber. You’ve never had any of them a Sufi who is a suicide bomber. All the suicide bombers and those who committed terrorist activities, they come from a specific group, identifiable group, whose ideology and teachings foment this type of behavior, give rise to this type of behavior and he have to be mindful about this.
In his weekly sermons few years ago, Abdur-Razak described the Salafi ideology (adopted by the Salafi movement, the Wahabi Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood) as “extreme”, “indoctrination, like a brainwashing” and those who espouse it are “misguided”, “very aggressive” and “sometimes they can be violent”.
The following are excerpts from Abdur-Razak’s sermons on Canadian Salafi Muslims:
This Salafis are “like a disease in the Muslim community”
“I go to Guyana or to Trinidad I hear complaints all the time, hear complaints all the time from Imams of behavior of members of this group. Now, a lot of these young Muslims, they think they’re doing what is right. They think they want to to do something for Islam, but they are mislead, misguided by this ideology, the Salafi ideology, this extreme ideology.”
“Here in Canada, in America, in England the same thing, the UK and so many countries, so many countries, it continues to happen. This group is almost like a disease in the Muslim community, destroying the Muslim community from within. That you need to be mindful of…”
“This extremism, that’s really shameful that Muslims behave like this, but this is the way of this particular group the Salafi group. I usually don’t mention names of any group, you know that, but because of the gravity of the sinful act they committed they need to be exposed, that you can protect yourself from them, that you stop associating yourselves with Salafis, you stop going to masjids [mosques] where there are Salafi Imams, keep away from that, protect yourself from this, protect your family, protect your children, because their ideas are like a poison.”
“Once it gets to you it is difficult to remove it, it is difficult to remove it. And we’ve seen it time and time again children disobeying their parents, disrespecting their parents, not listening to their parents, because they are members of this group , they do what the group tell them to do. It is almost like indoctrination, like a brainwashing that goes on. May Allah Glorified and Exalted be He, protect us, God Willing.
“It’s happening here in Canada, they’re imposing their beliefs on everyone”
“After the Khutba [sermon] yesterday several brothers came to me and they were saying that they experience that in their own families, in their own families, of either their son or their nephew or someone who is influenced by this group, and that person, that boy, whether they are teenage or young adult, they stop showing any respect for their parents, very disrespectful, very arrogant the way they behave and condemning people bidaa [unlawful religious innovation], bidaa, shirk [practicing idolatry or polytheism] and so on, anything that they don’t like, they keep doing this.”
“I mentioned a point of, I went to many countries to give lectures and one of the common, one of the most frequent complaints of people like Imams in different masjids [mosques] and so on, complaints about this group the Salafi group, the Salafi group…”
“On Eid day [Eid al-Fitr] right here in this masjid, there is a family who came to me almost crying, the mother, the daughters, they complain about their son. He used to come here. [He] stopped coming. He got mixed up with this group, this extreme group. Sometime in Ramadan he just wrote them a note, said I’m going. He’s gone for more than a month. No contact with them, gone with the group. They don’t know how to contact him, he’s not contacting them, they thought he’d come back for Eid [Eid al-Fitr], the night before Eid he’d come back to be with his parents and so on. [He] never showed up . The extremist attitude that this group indoctrinates people with.
“I want to let you know of this because it will get worse if we don’t protect ourselves from this group, the Salafi group. They’re destroying graves and masjids [mosques] in Libya, they’ve attempted the same thing in Egypt. In Somalia they’ve done so much, the same group, and so on. It’s happening here as well. It’s happening here in Canada, of them imposing their beliefs on everyone. They’re very aggressive. Sometimes they can be violent as we have seen there [in Libya]. People died.”
“This is the Salafi Dawa [call to Islam], it destroys you”
“I don’t usually mention names in my Khutba [sermon], but I have to mention it today. That I can at least, those of you, who are here if you belong to any Salafi group, get rid of them, protect your Islam by removing yourself from any involvement in any Salafi group. The worst threat that the Muslim Ummah [nation] is facing today is the Salafis.
“Not the non-Muslims, the Salafis. The worst threats that they are faced with are the Salafis. One of our families on Eid day, they probably here, yes there are here. They came to me, the mother, the sister, crying, one of their sons, he just left them a note: I’m gone. [He] left them a note, left the home, I’m gone, because he is with this extreme group, no respect for his parents.
“This is in Ramadan he did it, on Eid day [Eid al-Fitr] they thought he would come back, at least it’s Eid to be with his parents and his family. No. This is what it does to you, destroys you. This is the Salafi Daawa [call to Islam]. It destroys you. It has nothing to do with the Islam and the Prophet peace be upon him…”
Some Salafis after graduating Islamic university of Madina [Saudi Arabia] return to Canada to spread hatred
“Within Canada, even in Canada and in other countries, the same complaints I receive. This particular group, members of the Salafi group causing ‘fitna’ [sedition], disunity, problems, conflicts in ‘masjids’ [mosques]…”
“Some of them go to study at Islamic university of Madina [Saudi Arabia], and then they come back and they start condemning everything, criticizing everything and causing hatred and disunity in our community.”
“Leave the Salafi group, protect yourself from that danger”
“If you have good words to say, if you are guided by Allah and by the Prophet, peace be upon him, your efforts will lead to goodness, your efforts will lead to harmony, your efforts will lead to people living a happy life, it wouldn’t bring disunity and finta [sedition] and confusion in a Muslim community. This is what the Salafi group is doing.”
“And so I appeal to those of you who belong to the Salafi group, maybe because of you’re loyal to Islam, you want to do what is right. You want to follow Koran and Sunnah, go back to the Sunni way, leave the Salafi group, protect yourself from that danger, go back to the Sunni way, the way of the prophet peace be upon him.”