Prayers in public schools

When Shahina Siddiqui resorts to defending her position by name calling after opening her rant with a breathless invocation of Western accomplishments (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Convention, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), she derides the very institutions she relies on for religious accommodation.

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The fact that I would never permit my daughter to be excluded from any activity based on her menstrual cycle or learn to sit behind boys does not prevent me from accepting religious institutions in the private sphere where they belong. This is not a “version” of secularism but a tolerant expression of diversity within a secular society.

Accusations of prejudice and ignorance conveniently serve to silence any questioning of double standards that girls are subjected to in any culture or religion.

This I find particularly insidious: let me practise mine and keep your mouth shut or else you get labelled an ignorant, prejudiced, gender Nazi. Heather Mallick has it right when she says that children leaving school for Friday prayers is a disciplinary matter not a religious one in a public school system.

Luisa Quarta, Toronto Heather Mallick’s column on second-rate school girls was first rate. If we look at the historical record of the relationship between religion and schools, it’s likely that this detestable practice of dehumanizing young women will continue for some time.

Catholic schools across the country are still funded by taxpayers even though the Catholic Church continues to preach hatred toward gays and lesbians and by its very dogma casts women in a subservient role. But then, there’s the rub. Continue reading