From The Toronto Sun
Religious groups plan to protest in-school prayer sessions.
BY TOM GODFREY , TORONTO SUN
TORONTO – Security guards were planning to keep a close eye as Toronto-area Hindus and followers of other faiths gather for a press conference Monday afternoon to protest against Muslims students being allowed to pray in a North York public school.
Members of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, Jewish Defence League, Christian Heritage and from two other Christian ministries are scheduling a protest of the controversial prayer sessions on July 25 outside the Yonge St. headquarters of the Toronto District School Board.
The groups gathered at the Toronto Zionist Centre, on Marlee Ave., to demand an end to the Friday lunchtime prayer sessions in the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School, on Overlea Blvd.
They also plan to picket the school in the fall.
Local imams are brought in to lead a 40-minute service with about 400 students in which the boys sit in front of girls in the lunch room.
Non-Muslims are banned from the room during prayers.
The service has created controversy among parents and others who claim the
TDSB should be secular and not have religious programming.
TDSB officials, who refused comment, have said the Muslim prayers are conducted in the cafeteria to address security issues stemming from students leaving classes to attend mosque.
Ron Bannerjee, of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, didn’t hold back punches as he bashed the TDSB for allowing the practice to continue.
“This protest is to express opposition to the TDSB for pandering to Islamic interests and allowing sexist and barbaric Islamist practices into our secular schools,” Bannerjee said prior to the press conference on Monday.
“We don’t want radical or fundamental imams teaching Islam in our schools,” he said. “They (Muslims) are hoping to take advantage of our schools.” Meir Weinstein, of the Jewish Defence League Canada, is concerned children will be indoctrinated by radical or fundamental imams who are spreading their views.
“Radical Islam is spreading across Canada and one has to look at the background of some of these imams,” Weinstein said.
The men allege some imams who are leading the prayer sessions belong to a local mosque that signed a petition calling for leniency of the Toronto 18 terror group.
“We don’t want religious teachings in our school and we are concerned about the spread of Islam” Weinstein said. “We are concerned about radical teachings in our school.”