Toronto Protesters Oppose Muslim Prayer in Public School

The Toronto Star – July 25, 2011

 

About 100 protesters, many from groups such as the Jewish Defense League, the Christian Heritage Party and Canadian Hindu Advocacy, came to the Toronto District School Board to protest its approval of formal Friday prayer services for Muslim students at Valley Park Middle School.

Previously those students had left their school to attend prayers at a nearby mosque on Fridays. Bringing an imam into the school was a means of preventing some of the approximately 300 Muslim students from failing to return to classes after those prayers, said school board director Chris Spence. It also meant they don’t have to cross a busy street. Valley Park has been holding the prayers in the cafeteria for three years and there have been no complaints within the school community of about 1,200.

Speaking to reporters inside the board office, Spence said schools have an obligation to religious accommodation. But, “accommodation is fluid. It’s not written in stone,” said Spence, who added the board is feeling its way on the difficult issue.