…Just like facts have no place in organized religion. A Toronto school missed that statement as they have been making accomadations to hold Islamic prayers.
A Hindu group [Canadian Hindu Advocacy] that regularly criticizes Islam is going after a Toronto school for holding prayer sessions for Muslim students on Friday afternoons, arguing that it violates principles of secularism in the public school system.
For about three years, Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Boulevard in Flemingdon Park has held the services in its cafeteria after non-Muslim students are finished [with] lunch. An imam from a nearby mosque leads the sessions, which last 30 to 40 minutes.
Praying itself is not the problem. Allowing a religious figure to come to a public school to lead the session is.
Mehta wonders if the students are missing class time. Surely school-children would benefit more from learning than praying.
And how long until other religious groups demand accomodation? It’s refreshing to see that a religious group is criticizing the school, but that does not guarantee that all will hold themselves to secular standards. If this goes on, I’m sure we’d see demands for other forms of prayer.
By not allowing non-Muslims to these sessions the group is creating division. This should not be welcome. It stands against values of equality and if this is about accomodation then it should be a two-way street. Though I think time could be better spent elsewhere, perhaps someone who has a genuine interest in the faith would enjoy the opportunity to attend, but because they have not committed to Islam, they would be unwelcome.
Teachers are expected to help set up the facility for use as a mosque. Public workers are being told to take time to accomodate the religious within a public building. This should not stand under secular principles.
And in what is a great offense to values of equality, students are seperated by gender. A public space is being used to show that people should be divided by their gender. Islam can teach its out-dated – and frankly repulsive view – of gender within its own privately-funded institutions all it wants. It cannot do that in a public school.