A public middle school in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, allows Muslim students to attend prayer sessions in the cafeteria every Friday afternoon. Approximately 80% of the 400 students in the school are Muslims and the Imam who conducts the prayer sessions is chosen by the student’s parents and the wider Muslim community. The prayer sessions are supervised by the parents, not school officials. They take place in spite of the fact that Canadian courts specifically banned religious practices from public school systems more than 20 years ago in order to keep religious instruction out of public school classrooms.
Allowing the prayer sessions to take place sends a terrible message to the school’s Muslim students.
It tells them that their religion, Islam, is more important than their education because the prayer sessions occur during regular school hours when they would otherwise be attending class. It tells them that public institutions must accommodate the dictates of their religion. It tells them that their religion entitles them to special treatment and gives them an expectation that they will receive it. It tells them that Islam takes precedence over Canadian practices and values and that keeping themselves separate is both necessary and desirable.
Terrible messages all. They foster a sense of exclusion and superiority instead of Canadian identity and preclude the students from realizing their full potential and participating fully in Canadian life.
Those are just the messages sent to the students by the simple existence of the prayer sessions. The content of the prayer sessions is quite another matter. By definition they are full of hatred and disdain for non-believers and legitimize and endorse attitudes and activities which have no place in a modern, civilized country like Canada. Many of the attitudes are beyond abhorrent and many of the activities are illegal. Some of the students will no doubt accept and act upon what they are being exposed to, which will cause a great deal of harm and won’t do anyone any good, themselves included.
The Toronto District School Board isn’t acting in the best interests of the students at all by letting those prayer sessions continue. It is in fact doing them a tremendous disservice and should discontinue the prayer sessions immediately. The job of a school board is to prepare its students to participate fully in society, in this case Canadian society. Allowing students to attend prayer sessions like this does exactly the opposite. Letting Muslim students pray in school and providing time and facilities for them to do so makes absolutely no sense…not if you care for them that is.
Its multiculturalism and political correctness run amuck, which is bad enough. Its also creeping Islamization, which is even worse.