Home » Canada Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of school that prohibited Muslim students from praying

Canada Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of school that prohibited Muslim students from praying

by Derek Andrews
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The Supreme Courtroom of Canada on Thursday declined to listen to the attraction of a college that was discovered to be discriminating towards its Muslim college students by denying them entry to prayer area.

Webber Academy, a personal college in Calgary, prohibited two Muslim college students from publicly praying on campus, claiming that offering prayer area violated the varsity’s secular coverage. The 2 college students, Sarmad Amir and Naman Siddique, enrolled at Webber Academy in 2011 and commenced praying on the college in accordance with their Sunni non secular practices. Their prayers included bowing and kneeling, and one or two of their prayers occurred every day throughout college hours. When the president of the varsity, Neil Webber, discovered that employees had been offering the boys with prayer area, he instructed the scholars’ mother and father that the prayers would now not be allowed since Webber Academy was a non-denominational college. After the mother and father objected, Webber stated the boys might solely pray on campus in the event that they did so discreetly and with out bowing or kneeling.

The mother and father of the 2 college students filed complaints towards the varsity in 2012, claiming Webber Academy discriminated towards their sons. The Alberta Human Rights Fee dominated within the households’ favor, imposing a $26,000 effective towards the varsity. The Alberta Courtroom of Attraction refused to overturn that ruling final 12 months, discovering the varsity’s non-denominational coverage was not affected by offering college students a personal space the place they may pray. The justices noted that the varsity already allowed for shows of non secular variations, equivalent to displaying a Christmas tree yearly and permitting costume code exceptions for college students who put on non secular head coverings. The court docket discovered that offering college students entry to prayer area was a comparable lodging, stating, “[t]he college students by no means requested that their faith be taught as a part of the varsity’s curriculum, and Webber Academy was in a position to proceed to supply its academic curriculum free from non secular instruction and affect.”

Webber Academy’s coverage is just one instance of Canadian colleges limiting college students’ entry to prayer area. In 2023, the Quebec Superior Courtroom denied a request for an injunction towards a ban on prayer rooms in colleges regardless of noting considerations concerning the ban’s constitutionality. Critics have famous that insurance policies prohibiting entry to prayer area discriminate towards Muslim college students, whose prayer routines contain bodily motion that can not be finished “discreetly.”

Such insurance policies replicate the rising trend of anti-Muslim discrimination that Canadian leaders and rights teams have been making an attempt to tackle lately. A 2023 report, for instance, discovered that 31 p.c of non-Muslim Canadians “have no real interest in being an ally to Muslims.” Discrimination towards Muslim Canadians has additionally been violent. Six males had been killed at a Quebec Metropolis mosque in 2017, and a Muslim family was killed in a “political” assault in 2021.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed the nation’s dedication to standing as much as Islamophobia. The prime minister famous the appointment of the primary Particular Consultant on Combatting Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby, who’s main efforts to fight anti-Muslim discrimination throughout the nation. Canada can even be renewing its Anti-Racism Strategy, which incorporates efforts to handle anti-Muslim bigotry.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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