Toronto: Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has suspended the license of an Islamic school as the school is allegedly involved in teaching the course material that disparages the Jews and encourages Muslim boys to keep fit for Jihad.
TDSB has stopped the school’s management from using the board’s property as school’s premises. The school, an Islamic Shia Study Centre, was operating in the building of a Toronto high school as an “East End Madrassah” after getting the permission from TDSB.
A spokesman for TDSB, Ryan Bird, said, “The Islamic Shia Study Centre will not be able to permit TDSB property until the police investigation is complete and they are able to demonstrate that they comply with board policies and procedures.”
“Pending the outcome of the police investigation, we are willing to meet with the permit holder to discuss TDSB policies and procedures. As soon as we became aware of this complaint, we started to review the permit and the information that was available,” he added.
A statement issued by the school indicates that the management is disappointed by the decision of TDSB.
“Our curriculum is not intended to promote hatred towards any individual or group of people; rather, the children are taught to respect and value other faiths and beliefs, and to uphold Canada’s basic values of decency and tolerance,” the school’s management clarified.
However, the school management has apologized and promised to review its teaching material.
The school’s curriculum has been removed from its website which was referring to “crafty,” “treacherous” Jews and contrasted Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.” The passages were from two books published by the Iranian foundations.
The students were also taught in the teaching material that Islam is the “best” religion, and it provided a list of “unclean things,” including pigs, dogs and “a person who does not believe in Allah.” Muslim boys were urged to be “healthy and strong” for being “ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it.”
On the other hand, Muslim girls were asked to be involved in limited physical activities and be engaged in activities that would prepare them to become mothers and wives.
“Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre,” a centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, launched a complaint against the curriculum of the school and Hate Crimes Unit of the York Region Police started investigation into the probe.
“We commend the Toronto District School Board for moving to suspend the East End Madrassah’s permit,” this was the first reaction came from the Jewish centre.
President and CEO of Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Avi Benlolo, commented, “We are pleased to note the TDSB has taken action in response to the alarming anti-Semitic hate taught to Muslim schoolchildren at Toronto’s East End Madrassah.”
“We hope the school board will now go one step further and put a plan in place to ensure no group is ever targeted as the Jewish community has been, and that ancient hatreds are never again endorsed and encouraged in Toronto classrooms,” he added.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs termed the suspension of the school by TDSB “an excellent first step” but wants the ban to be made permanent.