PORTIONS OF TDSB GUIDEBOOK TO BE REPLACED AFTER B'NAI BRITH COMPLAINT

Oct 02, 2017

By Michael Kramer

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The Toronto District School Board says it will replace portions of a guidebook that uses a definition of Islamophobia that a Jewish community group has called “overly broad.”

The book defines Islamophobia, in part, as “fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.”

B’nai Brith Canada complained that the reference to “politics” could lead to students or staff being punished – for example – for expressing dislike for the Republic of Iran’s persecution of LGBTQ people – or restrictions placed on women in Saudi Arabia.

The group asked the board to change the wording of the guide – saying that fighting bigotry against Muslims – can’t be a pretext for tolerating human rights violations.

TDSB chair Robin Pilkey says in a letter to the group that the updated guide will reflect the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s definition of Islamophobia – which makes no reference to politics.

The school board created the guide to be used in public schools in October – celebrated as Islamic Heritage Month.

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