It should come as little surprise that Canadian Islamist groups are gushing with glee over the Toronto District School Board’s decision to play host to the illegal cafeteria-cum- mosque, it’s travelling Imam and the gender apartheid, Muslim menses ban set-up at Valley Park Middle School in Toronto. I especially love their references to the importance of human rights.
It appears the legal beagles over at the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association must have opted to appear for Friday prayer instead of attending the classes which directly reference sections 15 and 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing equality and gender equality respectively.
Here’s CAIR-CAN’s press release:
CAIR-CAN Applauds Toronto District School Board for Respecting Canadian human rights law.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 1:45 pm
– For Immediate Release –
(Ottawa, Canada – July 6, 2011) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), a national Muslim civil rights organization, today commended the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for defending the religious accommodation of young Muslim students at the Valley Park Middle School. Valley Park Middle School allows Muslim students to remain at a school on Friday’s to perform congregational prayer. This accommodation has been practiced by this particular school for three years without complaint.
“We wholeheartedly praise the TDSB for taking a principled stand to protect the religious accommodation of Muslim youngsters at Valley Park Middle School. The accommodation made is in line with Federal and Provincial human rights laws which make it clear that service providers, including public schools, must accommodate religious needs to the point of undue hardship. The law is crystal clear on this point and allows any Muslim student who wishes to observe the prayer to do so,” said CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
“This accommodation fulfills the objective of ensuring the educational requirements of students are not impeded by their desire to fulfill any religious observance and is essential to the emotional, spiritual, and academic well-being of Muslim students. Furthermore, this measure in no way imposes this accommodation on other groups or restricts their rights to make any request for religious accommodation that they deem appropriate.”
CAIR-CAN is a national, non-profit, grassroots organization striving to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.
Hindu Canadian Alliance (HCA)
World Sikh Org.
Here’s the Canadian Islamic Congress’s press release:
THE CANADIAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS — MEDIA COMMUNIQUÉ
ISLAMIC CONGRESS VOICES SUPPORT FOR STUDENT PRAYER ARRANGEMENTS MADE BY TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
The Canadian Islamic Congress today voiced support for the “principled and far-sighted” approach taken by the Toronto District School Board in approving weekly Friday prayers at Valley Park Middle School, where up to 90 per cent of students are from Muslim families.
While the TDSB has encountered recent criticism for allowing a local Imam to hold services at Valley Park (an arrangement that began three years ago without opposition), CIC national president Mrs. Wahida Valiante said today that the Board should instead be complimented for upholding the values of Canadian multiculturalism and for recognizing that in Canada freedom of religion legally supersedes the education act.
“We as Canadians, and particularly Canadian Muslims, should be proud that the TDSB has taken such a respectful and considerate approach toward human rights — including religious practice — as they are expressed within our Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” she said.
She added that the TDSB and Muslim community groups, both locally and provincially, have spent considerable time and effort in developing positive programs to promote religious and cultural understanding among students of diverse ethnicities, as well as creating effective methods to discourage bigotry and Islamophobia. “With all of this foundational work in place, the CIC asks, ‘why now?’,” she said in response to the recent flurry of negative media comment.
CIC maintains that outside critics’ arguments against the parentally approved 30-minute Friday prayers at Valley Park Middle School simply don’t hold water, ethically or legally.
In keeping with its legislated responsibilities, the TDSB has clearly stated that there is no indoctrination or proselytizing involved and no exclusion or coercion of non-Muslim students, who have always been welcome to the services.
In fact, concluded Mrs. Valiante, “to deprive these young people of an opportunity to worship would be tantamount to reverse discrimination.”
Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association Applauds Decision of Toronto District School Board
TORONTO, July 15, 2011
TORONTO, July 15, 2011 /CNW/ – The Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA) applauds the decision of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to permit private prayer for one half-hour each week in a designated space at Valley Park Middle School.
This sign of tolerance and respect allows students of the Muslim faith to avoid having to leave school premises to attend the once weekly congregational prayer, which is an essential part of the Islamic faith, and ensures that they can return to class safely and in a timely fashion.
Said Ms. Yusra Siddiquee, Chair of the CMLA: “I am proud to live in a country where we accommodate and respect the cultural and religious needs of various diverse communities within a public school system, so that all children can learn together.”
The TDSB is not involved in the prayer service, and students participate voluntarily and with parental consent. The accommodation was requested by the local community, and has been ongoing for three years without complaint.
The TDSB’s decision is consistent with provincial and federal human rights laws, which oblige service providers, including public schools, to accommodate religious needs. It furthers the aims of the Education Act by maximizing instruction time for its students. The TDSB’s decision upholds the Charter of Rights of Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion for all Canadians. We believe that the TDSB has struck a helpful balance that is in line with the legal obligations of the TDSB, but also furthers the values of tolerance, respect and fairness that Canadians proudly uphold.
The TDSB adopted a community-based approach in fulfilling its legal and ethical obligations, and worked with parents and members of the Valley Park neighbourhood to achieve a solution that accommodates the needs of over 300 students. Organizations across faith lines have come forward to support the prayer accommodations at Valley Park Middle School.
The CMLA applauds the TDSB’s commitment to ensuring that the religious needs of all faith groups are respected and accommodated, without imposition or detriment to others.
Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association
Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations
Canadian Council of Imams
Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians
Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association
Hindu Canadian Alliance
Islamic Circle of North America – Canada
Islamic Foundation of Toronto
Islamic Institute of Toronto
Islamic Society of Markham
Islamic Society of North America – Canada
Islamic Society of Toronto
Islamic Society of Peel
Masjid Darul Iman
Muslim Association of Canada
The Mathabah Foundation
Sri Lankan Islamic Foundation of Ontario