I was shocked to learn recently that Friday Muslim prayer sessions have been held regularly inside a cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School in Toronto’s Flemingdon Park for the last three years. It wasn’t too long ago that controversial decisions to ban prayers in Ontario public schools was defended by local public school boards—school-directed prayer has been outlawed in Ontario for nearly 30 years.
That was then. Now the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) says it is meeting its obligation to accommodate students’ religious beliefs by allowing an imam to lead students in prayer on school property. According to a Globe and Mail report, Jim Spyropoulos, a superintendent with the TDSB said:
“In a school where there is such a high concentration of Muslim students, this [Friday prayer sessions] was the best solution that avoided compromising instructional time.”
Religious “accommodation” seems to be all the rage these days.
A non-denominational Christian morning prayer could not be “accommodated” 30 years ago, but the school board allows a local imam to use school infrastructure to engage in Muslim religious services. And, apparently, similar arrangements have been made for Muslim students at other schools in Ontario.
There’s been a whole lot of “accommodation” going on in recent years. The TDSB accommodates “modesty requirements” in gym class, along with fasting and dietary requirements. It never seems, though, that “accommodations” stretch to include Canadian Christians or their traditions such as Christmas and Easter— you know, the renamed “holiday seasons.”
I was baptized and confirmed an Anglican, but have not been a practicing Christian for several decades. I thought that Canadians had more or less agreed to keep religion as a private matter and to keep it away from our schools. But, apparently, some would have us “accommodate” one particular religion right back in.
There is perhaps a single Muslim country, Turkey, with anything truly resembling a liberal democracy with religious freedom. And virtually all Muslim countries that self-describe as Islamic states, persecute Christians and Jews mercilessly. Yet those who have been willing participants in those cultures come to Canada and demand accommodation?
As Ron Banerjee, director of Canadian Hindu Advocacy, said in a recent interview:
“Pretty soon, we’re going to have 50 different ethnicities and religions asking for different accommodations.”
I agree with Mr. Banerjee that Islamic groups are “imposing their view and trying to change the rules, regulations, norms and values to accommodate themselves, and in the long-term, to spread their ideology.”
I want this to stop.
For those who want to see how this story ends if not stopped, they’ve only got to look to Europe, especially the United Kingdom. Today is July 7—remember what occurred in Britain on July 7, 2005? Look it up and see where we in Canada are heading if we do not stop “accommodating.”