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Toronto School Defends Muslim Prayers In Cafeteria

13 July 2011 Uncategorized 8 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Young Muslim boy praying

By Ron Csillag
Religion News Service

TORONTO (RNS) A majority-Muslim public school in Toronto is defending its policy of allowing an imam to lead Friday prayers in the cafeteria, saying students who leave school for prayers at a mosque typically don’t return to school.

For the past three years, some 300 Muslim students at Valley Park Middle School have been allowed to use the school cafeteria for Friday prayers. Before the policy change, school officials say students would leave classes early and not return.

“I think it’s important to note the prayer isn’t conducted under the auspices of the board,” Jim Spyropoulos, a superintendent for inclusive schools with the Toronto District School Board, told the Globe and Mail newspaper. “This was the best solution that avoided compromising instructional time.”

The issue is “about religious accommodation,” Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a school district spokeswoman, told The Canadian Press.

>> Continue reading: Toronto School Defends Muslim Prayers In Cafeteria


  1. If other groups are not allowed prayers then Muslims should not be allowed prayers. If children do not come back after leaving school for religious reasons then two things need to happen. First charge the families with allowing truency. Second, remind the children of their duty to live under the law and meet their religious obligations to their parents and community by attending school as required by law and thus by the Koran.

  2. Christians and Jews are given two whole days off of school for their religious observances. The “weekend” isn’t a coincidence. There’s no law against praying in school- it’s against the school system leading children in prayer by default and requiring people to opt out. Instead, this is a scenario where Muslim kids in a predominantly Muslim area have the option of “opting-in” to a non-government religious service for one hour every week.

    Ask yourselves this: If they didn’t get saturdays off, and 400 Jewish children in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood HAD to attend their function on saturday, would you: A. Give them the entire day off. B. Let them hold an optional function on campus. Or C. Tell them to screw off?

    We already choose option A for Jews. The least we could do for Muslims is give them option B.

    The danger of mixing religion and government isn’t primarily that religion will control government, but that government will end up persecuting or hindering other religions. In this case, having an hour a week for 1/5 of the world’s population is much better in the long-run than forcing people to choose between God or government. God is forever- governments are temporary.

  3. So the fact that weekends exist is the reason that Muslims can pray at school but Christians and Jews cannot? I am sorry but that is Inane. Many schools have religious groups that meet at the flagpole or other places to pray or hold ceremonies. I have no problem with that, but in this district these activities are not allowed at all. If one group does it then all groups should get the same privilege. If not we put the Muslims in a special niche in which they do not belong. As to weekends have you ever shopped or went anywhere on the weekends? If you have then you may have noticed the sheer number of people that work on the weekends; I would be that they represent most if not all religions based within the United States. This issue is a no brainer, either people can pray or they cannot: if one can then everyone can.

  4. I don’t know about the law in Canada but organized pray is forbidden in schools in the US. I also don’t see what having the weekend off in overwhelmingly Judeo-Christian countries has to do with anything. Muslims represent less then 1% of the population in the US (not sure about the percentage in Canada) so it seems reasonable that society would be organized to around the needs of the majority of the population.I doubt Muslim societies are organized with needs of non-Muslims in mind. It’s also true that Muslims can make up their prayers later so if they cannot pray in school they can simply make up the pray later at home. NO special accommodation for Muslim demands is necessary.

  5. So much wrong with all these comments.

  6. “So much wrong with all these comments.”

    Obviously, you must chop their heads off.

  7. “So the fact that weekends exist is the reason that Muslims can pray at school but Christians and Jews cannot? I am sorry but that is Inane.”

    Who said that christians cannot pray in school? There is no reason for christians to pray in school as there religious days are IN THE WEEKENDS. For musims, friday is there religious day, and unfortunately thats when school is. We muslims are not asking a whole friday off Just for musims but just as less as an hour to and a little place to pray in school. Is that so much to ask as where weekends are established for christian and jews religion? And the fact that many peopel shop during weekends is because they are simply not religious enough. The only people you see in church during weekends is majority old people, maybe a few adults and young ones.On the other hand we muslims religion is a first priority to us. So therrfore we need this least one hour on friday.

    “Obviously, you must chop their heads off.

    17 July 2011 at 3:19 am ”

    I see the media has done a great job in brainwashing you. This comment of urs shows me just how ignorant u r. Obviously u dont know anythng about islam religion. I dont mean the things that the media states. Im talking about ISLAM. Dont judge a religion by its people, but judge according to its sources, which for islam is Quran and sunnah. Learn about islam then post ignorant comments like these.( I doubt there would be any need to comment if u knew islam properly.)

  8. Muslims can pray on their own time after school. If you move to a Christian majority country, you should know that a lot your beliefs will not be tolerated by society. That includes the second class treatment of girls. No one is saying that you can’t pray on Fridays. Only that you cannot hold prayer groups in public schools. The fact that western societies have weekends off is of no consequence. Muslims knew that when they moved to Canada. If you cannot assimilate to western values and western culture, then perhaps you should move to a Muslim majority country. I have a hard time believing that a Canadian school would allow this, especially when girls must sit in the back.

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