Toronto District Muslim Education Assembly
Sound Education Sound Society
Date: November 10, 1999
Location: 155 College Street
Time: 18:30 hours
To: Standing Committee of TDSB
From: The Toronto District Muslim Education Assembly (TDMEA)
Re: TDMEA’s Presentation to the TDSB Regarding Serious Human Rights Issues.
We express our sincere thanks and appreciation for the opportunity to make a presentation on behalf of the Muslim community on the issues of Human Rights as they pertain to our interests and concerns in the public school system in Toronto.
We begin with the informed assumption that all Human Rights issues are based on UN Charter and Declarations, and the Federal and Provincial Human Rights instruments of Canada. These principles are supposed to be upheld, promoted, implemented and enforced with diligence and scrutiny system-wide and without prejudice.
Given the limited time availability, the following are our main concerns:
Qualified Muslim individuals already submitted applications to TDSB but have not even received an acknowledgement let alone being given the opportunity of an interview.
The TDMEA is a city-wide coalition which represents Muslim interests and views regarding Muslim parents and children in the GTA, yet the TDSB deliberately keeps excluding the Assembly from participation in major decision making. Our input is not being valued and our concerns are being ignored. This is blatant discrimination and prejudice. A simple and handy example is the mere fact that tonight’s agenda, item 5.1 "Human Rights, Discrimination, and Harassment Draft" was developed, excluding students, parents, and the community at large from having the opportunity to have our input in it.
In general, Toronto schools promote and facilitate extra-curricular programs and activities in direct contradiction to Islamic beliefs and values without taking into consideration the needs of Muslim students within the public school system. Our children are thus faced with limited and often times no alternatives on a regular basis.
More often than not, schools do not inform Muslim parents about certain programs and activities that are clearly against our beliefs and therefore need parents’ consent. The school authorities unilaterally undertake that role and assume responsibility for what constitutes appropriate and acceptable education for our children. It is the rights of parents and students to decide what constitute proper and sound education. This can be achieved by direct mutual consultation between the pubic system and parents.
Given the time constraints, we would like to offer our written presentation, which is only a highlight of the full text of our submission, on behalf of the Muslim community in the GTA along with a copy of a detailed document entitled Basic Document: Muslim Beliefs and Practices attached herein for further consideration.
We sincerely hope that this exercise is not just a strategy of appeasement, and clearly not one of futility, but one that is truly indicative of genuine concerns of the authorities to address very serious and pressing Human Rights issues and grievances as they relate to the community at large and especially the Muslim Community in particular.
Encl. 1. Basic Document: Muslim Beliefs and Practice
2. Community Endorsements