Student Islamists are mounting a coordinated campaign to expand Muslim religious services in the high schools of Canada’s sixth largest city. So far, authorities are proving sympathetic, suspending a new policy meant to regulate student sermons. “The school board should not be policing religion,” campaign leader Shahmir Durrani told one of two November board meetings in Mississauga, Ontario, that heard from imams, parents, high school students and university leaders of the Muslim Students Association(MSA), an organization founded for universities students by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963. “Many students are feeling stigmatized because of this.”
Talk of prayers and sermons might come as a surprise to those unaware of how widespread Muslim religious activity has become in some Canadian school jurisdictions, and how far the fundamentalist MSA has penetrated the public education system. The changes started a decade ago, when the Ontario provincial government encouraged accommodation of an individual’s religious practice at workplaces and schools. At first, Muslim students were denied Friday congregational prayers and were told they could only pray only as individuals.
Five years ago, however, the Toronto Sun reported that 800 students at Toronto’s Valley Park Middle School were converting the school’s cafeteria into a temporary mosque every Friday during class hours, with boys praying in front, girls praying behind them separated by a barrier and menstruating girls obliged to sit at the very back to observe the service but not participate.
Toronto school trustees upheld the practice, and since then, Friday congregational prayers have been spreading though the public school system ever since.
One of Canada’s highest Muslim concentrations is in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada’s sixth city located at Toronto’s western border. Of the city’s 19 high schools, 17 have a Muslim Students Association (MSA). The list of 17 includes Meadowvale Secondary, which temporarily banned its MSA 10 years ago after two alumni were caught co-leading a terrorist cell known as the Toronto 18, with plans to blow up buildings in downtown Toronto. A third cell member had led the school’s Friday prayers…
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