Thanks Grace for bringing this to my attention. The Toronto ‘Mosqueteria’ is rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception. Below, an excerpt from each article with a giant link to the originals. Please click through and read them in totality in case my condensation of them has changed any important context.
Imagine Canada after 5 more years of the kind of immigration policies we have now. There will not be a chance of resurrecting the classically liberal Canada we all take for granted. This is national suicide of European proportions.
We Must Protect our Secular School System
By Pam FitzGerald, The Ottawa Citizen February 16, 2012
As a school board trustee, I have a bird’s-eye view of our schools, or at least I thought I did until this week when a motion requesting a simple report on school religious practices failed. This past year, there has been controversy over a practice in Toronto’s Valley Park Middle School, which allowed religious services led by an imam during the school day. In Ottawa, there has been no such controversy but I know of at least three schools where this is standard practice, Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School, Bell High School and Brookfield High School. I suspect there are more.
When we allow a minister, rabbi or imam into our schools to conduct religious services during the school day, we bring in the thin edge of a wedge. Other religions rightfully ask to hold religious services in our secular schools and this is precisely what happened at Toronto’s Valley Park Middle School. We may also find it increasingly difficult to say no to future requests for religious-based schools housed under the public board’s umbrella. If and when this comes to pass, say goodbye to the greatness of our secular public schools as parents flock to ensure that their children’s religious training is met during the school day.
I am sad that a fairly simple report could not be produced. I suppose I should say goodbye to the institution of the non-religious public school. Perhaps this is premature, but I would be far from alone in mourning its demise.
Pam FitzGerald is trustee for Zone 5 (College) with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
We can’t even question religion being practiced in public schools.
That’s the message the majority of Ottawa-Carleton Public School Board trustees sent out earlier this week when they voted on a motion put before them.
Pam FitzGerald is Zone 5 College Ward trustee for the board.
She put forward the following motion at the Feb. 14 meeting
“THAT staff be directed to prepare a report for the May 2012 Strategic Planning and Priorities Committee meeting detailing policy and procedure(s) currently in place which addresses the subject of religious services within schools, during school hours and ensure all schools adhere to applicable law.”
The motion failed 8-4.
But at a previous meeting the majority of trustees seemed to be behind it.
FitzGerald believes they were persuaded by people attending the meeting to change their tune.
“There was one woman who told me that God is mad at me,” said FitzGerald.
If that’s the rhetoric being tossed around, it’s not hard to imagine some people would change their vote.
Read that motion carefully. It’s asking that the school board make sure they comply with the law. And trustees opted against that?
“The law says there is not supposed to be religious services during the school day. We need to respect the law.”
At Bell High School there was an all-student assembly. Several community leaders were in attendance, including a local imam. Despite the fact it wasn’t a religious gathering, the imam deliver a prayer in Arabic to the entire student body.
“When I spoke to the principal a couple days later, he first saw nothing wrong with the situation.”
Valley Park Middle School was reported to be holding Islamic prayer services in the school, during school time. This caused protests from religious and secular groups.
The Ottawa public board’s director of education, Jennifer Adams, last year acknowledged such services happen in Ottawa schools and felt it was in the name of accommodation.