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Canadian elected officials call criticism of Muslim prayers in schools ‘hateful,’ ‘racist’

The mayor of an Canadian town has called criticism of new rules regarding Muslim prayers in local schools “misinformation and hateful speech,” while the local school board president referred to such as “racist.”

In a letter, Brampton, Ontario Mayor Linda Jeffrey noted she supports the Peel School District Board’s January decision to allow Muslim students to choose their own prayers rather than be limited to six that had been pre-approved by the board.

CP24.com reports many were unhappy with the move, but the mayor called constituents’ concerns “fear mongering.”

“I am troubled by the misinformation, fear mongering and outright falsehoods being spread by some,” Jeffrey wrote in response to the conversations had at a January 14 board meeting.

There’s no First Amendment in Canada which restricts religious speech and activities in US public schools. Indeed, Jeffrey noted that her province’s schools have a duty under the Ontario Human Rights Code to “allow religious accommodations.”

“Whether it is protecting the right of religious dress, like a Sikh student’s kirpan and turban, or accommodating a vegetarian/kosher/halal religious dietary restriction at a school event, we proudly stand for our Charter rights protecting religious freedom,” she said.

From the article:

At the Jan. 14 meeting where the change was approved, several speakers came forward to question why Muslim students were allowed to pray in public schools at all.

Head of Canadian Hindu Advocacy Ron Banerjee told trustees that allowing students to pick their own prayers to be used during school time “may violate Canadian values,” and later referred to Islam as a “poison.”

Another man, Kevin Johnston, who runs a website called the Freedom Report, wrote on YouTube after the meeting that the PDSB had “once again committed treason by allowing Muslims to infiltrate Peel region public schools and spread their message of hate and death.”

According to The Daily Caller, school board chief Janet McDougald called Johnston a “racist” when he asked if prayers said in Arabic would be scrutinized for hate speech.

Read the full CP24.com and Daily Caller stories.

MORE: Christian university in Texas opens prayer room for Muslim students

MORE: Univ. closes interfaith prayer room to make more space for Muslim-only room

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