A rally held to recognize the Toronto District School Board for allowing rights and freedoms turned into a shouting match Saturday between religious groups.
About 200 people squared off outside the Toronto District School Board’s head office, concerned about Muslim prayer in the city’s public schools.
Groups including the Jewish Defence League of Canada, the Canadian Hindu Advocacy and the Christian Heritage Group, are upset that a middle school in the city’s north end has provided Muslim students cafeteria space for a weekly prayer service, saying the board showed favouritism to Islam.
Chris Andrewsen who organized what was supposed to be a day of appreciation for the TDSB, said they should be allowed to express their beliefs.
“If we are religious people then we should be allowed to express that. It’s not an imposition on other people,” Andrewsen said.
But some opponents say allowing students to pray on school property goes against the school board’s policy that schools should be a place of study free from cultural or religious influence. While others say the right should be left open to all groups.
“We want respect for all religions. We want the Toronto District School Board to be consistent and stop discriminating [against] one religion over others,” said Tony Costa, who is part of a multi-faith coalition opposed to Islamic prayer services in public schools.
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SOURCE: CBC News