Islamization. Source: Let’s not turn our schools into mosques
By Farzana Hassan
Mississauga, now Canada’s sixth-largest city, is home to one of the largest concentrations of Muslim students in Canada.
This is why in seventeen out of Mississauga’s nineteen high schools, Muslim students associations are demanding autonomy on holding congregational prayers on Friday and on choosing who delivers the sermons.
The Peel Board of Education has recently ruled that only six approved sermons could be delivered during Friday prayers, ones that are consistent with the board’s values of honesty, cooperation and inclusion. But the students now wish to regain control.
Currently these efforts in Mississauga are being partially led by Shahmir Durrani, who in fact is not in high school but reportedly attends the University of Toronto at Mississauga. They insist on the sermon being drafted by the students.
One of the imams who is on the Peel Board’s Faith Leaders Network, Omar Subedar, has even previously condoned wife battery, even though he now claims to advocate equality for Muslim women.
School prayers began cropping up about ten years ago, ironically around the same time when former premier Dalton McGuinty banned sharia courts from Ontario. The Toronto Sun first reported on prayer services happening at Valley Park Middle School in east Toronto in 2011, but the practice has proliferated since then.
Now the Peel Board will have to decide by December 12 whether to permanently change these rules so the students have greater control of the content of the sermons and the imams.
This raises many concerns. School boards must treat all religions equally. However, these very strident Islamist demands for communal religious practice create inequality, as other faiths do not insist on such public displays of religiosity. By default, a political and orthodox form of Islamism is taking root within our schools.
Some of the activists pursuing this cause show no loyalty to Canada, a nation they say practices systematic Islamophobia. At a recent Mississauga school board meeting on the topic, an online video shows a number of these attendees even refused to stand for O Canada.
A typical congregational prayer would have women at the back, and menstruating women would be excluded outright. This would violate board gender policies, not to mention Canadian values.
MSAs may tout this as a broad religious rights issue, but congregational prayer is best observed at the mosque. No religion should be allowed to mobilize itself in such a political way on school property. Schools should be free of the kind of religious preferences that by default are happening in Mississauga and potentially in other parts of Canada.
No one is stopping Muslims from praying at their mosques, and protocol allows great flexibility of time and venue in observing prayers. It is not as if these students will be barred from discharging their religious obligations if they are not allowed to pray together on Friday. Their insistence on organizing themselves in this fashion on school property shows the political nature of this issue.
Canada justifiably proscribes school-sponsored prayer for reasons of freedom of conscience. Although the MSA’s prayer services would not qualify as school-sponsored, they would certainly be seen as sanctioned by the boards. Many Muslim students unwilling to participate in Friday prayers or sermons may indeed feel pressured to do so, which again violates the board’s policy of ensuring freedom of conscience.
It is this policy which overrides all other considerations, and it is what the Peel Board must bear in mind when making its decision about MSA prayer demands.
Yes, the MSA – now operating in high schools throughout North America – is a Muslim Brotherhood-founded organization with many terrorist alumni.
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