July 22, 2016 By Diane Weber Bederman
For those who many not be aware, there is in Canada a separation between mosque and state. Our public school system is secular. As in non-religious affiliated. Except on Ontario where we have a Catholic system that dates back to the BNA Act of 1867. The beauty of Canada is that all religions are treated equally. No one religious group getting better treated than another. We are home to all kinds of houses of worship-Zoroastrian, Baha’i, Catholic, Protestant, Hindi, Sikh, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Mennonites, and Jewish. Someone please refresh my memory but have any of these groups ever make demands of Canada to accommodate their needs, their religious belief systems, their food at public institutions?
And if our Charter of rights is being abused to turn our schools into places of worship then we Canadians must fight back. Christians have watched as Christmas plays have been stopped, the Lord’s Prayer removed, reading the Bible prohibited despite the fact that the ethic that underpins Canada comes from the Bible. No religion must be in public school; particularly when it is for one particular religion whose ethic contravenes our ethic.
And yet we have Muslim prayers in our public schools. How many schools are doing this? I don’t know. One is one too many. There are calls for prayer rooms-for Muslims in our public schools. Are there prayer rooms for Jews or Christians? Jewish people are to pray three times a day. Have they made demands on the public school system?
Walter Piovesan, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board associate director of education said, “While there may be no dedicated (Prayer) room, there is a duty to accommodate under the Ontario Charter of Human Rights.” There is a duty to accommodate teaching a religion in our publicly funded(as in all tax-payers) schools whose ethic is diametrically opposed to the values taught in our country when we have removed Christianity from the system?
Washed Ahmed, Islamic director of Carleton University’s Muslim Students’ Association, who leads a prayer service at more than half a dozen public high schools in Ottawa on Fridays wants to see more co-operation between religious groups and school boards to help fund permanent multi-faith prayer rooms in Ottawa schools. Who is doing this funding exactly? The Jewish families? The Catholic families The Protestant families? How about secular families? Are they supposed to help fund Muslim prayer at public school? This is our new Canada?
Carleton student Maged Arab, 23, who said without a permanent prayer room, Muslims have to either find a quiet place at school or else cram in all five of their daily prayers into their evenings. “Thankfully, if there’s no prayer room, you’re excused and you can catch up on all the prayers when you get home from school,” he said.
You are excused from prayer? Really? So why are we accommodating this? To what end?
Abdulaziz Dahir, 27, who had attended Sir Robert Borden High School was thankful to be able to take part in the Friday prayer in one of the school’s English classes.
“Looking back now, we would have wanted more time to pray at school but back then we were just happy to have a room at all,” he said. Looking back he wanted more prayer time? Really? And we should accommodate his desire for more PRAYER TIME at a public school.
It is Valley Park Middle School in Thorncliffe Park in Toronto that is most troubling. The cafeteria has been turned into a mosque for noon-day prayer on Fridays Girls are segregated from the boys. The Muslim ideology taught at this school comes from the conservative Sunni ideology.
Gerri Gershon, a Trustee for Don Valley West, where Valley Park Middle School is located said “I think that what we’re doing is what we should be doing as a school board and that is accommodating students’ needs no matter what their religion is.” But secular schools are not associated with any religion! If prayer is that important to these people why do they not attend a private Muslim school? Jewish families send their children to private school as do many Christians.
We also need to be aware of those who are consulting with our school boards like Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick who has “developed and facilitated workshops and training sessions for diverse organizations such as Children’s Aid Society, Metropolitan Toronto School Boards, Family Service Association of Metro Toronto, Canadian Museums Association, Canadian Institute for International Affairs, the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries, Elementary Teachers Association of York Region, Metro Toronto School for the Deaf and the Scarborough Public Library Board.” He supports bringing Spain back into the Caliphate. He advises Muslim students in Canada to spread Islam throughout the land that it is their “duty that applies to all Muslims and a key to reach the end goal, which is the establishment of the Caliphate that follows the guidance of Prophet-hood. He called upon them to spread the message of Islam in order to gradually Islamize the society, and in his words: ‘so the people of the soil itself accept Islam.’”
Ali Baig, a parent at Valley Park Middle School who promotes the Muslim prayers at Valley Park Middle School said that “Canada’s education system is very Christian and nobody challenges it.” Well by all means challenge the Christian part. Demand an end to all religious practice in the public, secular school system. I have to assume he has no idea that our culture, our constitution, our ethic, comes from the Jewish Bible that was then passed forward by Christians. I have to assume he has no idea that the Judeo/Christian ethic underpins our country, our freedoms including freedom of religion; hence Christianity was taught. But Baig has this worked out. He studied up on his rights. He pointed out that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “Muslims have the right to practise their religion as they see fit.” Even if their teachings and their prayers performed in our secular public schools go against our laws that deny gender separation?
More importantly, we are separating one group of children from all the others in the public school system. We are saying “these children are special, different.” These Muslim children are being denied the right to learn how to be part of a secular society by Liberal Progressives, who, in their desire to be seen as open and accommodating are sentencing Muslim children to a different life than all the other children, particularly immigrant children, in our open and tolerant society. If they do not learn this at school, where will they learn these values?
And now the Federal government is funding Islam by granting hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a mosque in Kitchener, which of course had led to other groups requesting that the municipal government fund their mosque-in Woodstock Ontario, a small southwestern Ontario city, hoping to build the first mosque in its city. Are our governments funding Islamic centers and pushing for Islamic prayers in public spaces because Muslims are taught that there is no separation between mosque and State? They not only expect the government to pay for these things, they demand it?
We are giving away our hard fought freedoms by allowing people to abuse our Charter, and too many Canadians in the name of tolerance are letting this happen. We must take back our Constitution and reverse the perverse interpretations by lawyers of the Charter for Rights and Freedoms so that all children in Canadian schools learn how to get along with one another in a secular world.