Trudeau Dismisses Opposition To Muslim Prayer In Public Schools

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed an attempt to discover what Muslim students are saying at Friday prayer sessions in Ontario’s public school system.

Trudeau inserted himself into the issue on Friday, saying critics of Muslims having special Friday prayer sessions need “to ensure that everyone understands [and respects] their neighbors.”

He further claimed that “Canadians have understood that our differences are a source of strength, not a source of weakness” at a news conference just outside of Toronto.

Trudeau was responding to an online video that is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the “hate speech” at these prayer sessions where the language of choice is Arabic.

Though the video did not threaten Muslim students, the Peel District School Board — the focal point of the Muslim prayer issue — inexplicably urged its staff to be “extra vigilant.”

The video, just under four minutes in duration, was posted to YouTube by the website Freedom Report, managed by Kevin Johnston of Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto. The town is one of the cities affected by the Peel school board’s decision to allow Muslims to practice their faith in the public school system while forbidding Christians and Jews from doing so on school time and in school facilities.

The Freedom Report promotes itself as “the last great bastion of honesty and freedom in Canada” and is highly critical of radical Islam.

After a recent school board meeting where parents were insulted by the board chairwoman, Johnston wrote on his website that Muslim students were trying to “infiltrate Peel region public schools and spread their message of hate and death.”

Two years ago, he battled Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie over the construction of the Meadowvale Islamic Centre.

Johnston explained in his video that people can claim their cash reward if they identify a student on camera who is demonstrating “hate speech” and offer their evidence within 24 hours of being filmed.

A translation team will assess whether the words recorded constitute hate speech.

The school board continues to brand any opposition to the Muslim prayers as “Islamophobia,” claiming  “The video itself prejudices our Muslim students in a way that is both unfair and untrue,” said spokesperson Brian Woodland.

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