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Sharia in Toronto: the Muslim Girls on Their Period Have to Sit in the Back

This sort of thing should send a chill down the spine of anyone who understands what it means for a country to be free or for a school to be public.

by
Bruce Bawer

Bio

July 19, 2011 - 12:00 am

It never ceases to amaze. Sharia is putting down roots all over the West, in ever more explicit and obvious ways. And bien pensant folks on the Left continue to insist, fiercely and self-righteously, that nothing of the kind is going on — even though it’s happening right under their noses.

One of the lastest breathtaking examples: a public middle school in Toronto where Friday prayers are part of the curriculum.

The other day the Toronto Star ran a picture showing a group of students at prayer. There were three groups, ranged according to status. In the front were the praying boys. Behind them were the praying girls. Way in the back were the girls who were menstruating, and thus forbidden from participating in prayer.

Now, this sort of thing should send a chill down the spine of anyone who understands what it means for a country to be free or for a school to be public. But nowadays all too many people — especially, it seems, people in positions of public authority — are quick to justify such outrages, as long as Islam is in the picture. In the National Post, for example, Tasha Kheiriddin quoted one Chris Spence, education director of the Toronto District School Board, as saying this:

As a public school board, we have a responsibility and an obligation to accommodate faith needs.

“Faith needs.” There’s a chilling disconnect here. People whose job is to take care of young people, and to help them grow into responsible adult citizens of a free country, are now capable of looking at something barbaric, ugly, and inequitable, and rushing in to justify it with terms like “faith needs” –simply because it has to do with Islam. This is, of course, the very definition of dhimmitude.

Full credit to Heather Mallick, the journalist who wrote in the Star about the segregated praying at that Toronto school. But even Mallick, who is obviously deeply disturbed by the spectacle of those girls being prohibited from praying, didn’t get the angle right. She began her article as follows:

Isn’t it odd how stories about Muslim school prayers now being conducted at Valley Park Middle School in Don Mills are all about religion making its way into public schools? I don’t discuss religion, ever. Feminism is my credo….

To which one can only say: Well, Ms. Mallick, perhaps it’s time you do start discussing religion. Because — hello! — this is all about religion, and nothing else. It’s understandable why you shrink from acknowledging this fact: Criticizing Islam is a dangerous business. But unless you start addressing it things will just get worse and worse. You’re a feminist?  Great. Then wake up and realize that Islam is the enemy of feminism. And if you want to defeat your enemy first you have to acknowledge him.

Mallick isn’t alone. On the contrary. Sophisticated media types — many of whom are genuinely unsettled when they see the real-world ramifications of the Islamization of the West — don’t dare to speak up openly about those ramifications. Mallick sympathizes with those menstruating girls who have to sit alone in the back of the auditorium, and feels compelled to write about them — but she stops short of facing up to the real problem here.

Instead, she writes about what it was like being that age, and about how self-conscious she was over the whole awkward and uncomfortable business of becoming a woman. She jabbers on about Carly Simon reaching puberty, and about Tina Fey trying to get a sketch about menstruation past her male writing colleagues at Saturday Night Live — as if the ignorance of male comedy writers in New York was the problem at hand.

Mallick feels for those poor middle-school girls who have to sit in the back of the room. But she doesn’t feel for them strongly enough, it would seem, to overcome her unwillingness to deal with the real issue. Nor does she seem to recognize that it isn’t just the menstruating Muslim girls who are the victims of the grotesque state of affairs she describes. No, all the girls at the school — and all the boys, Muslim and otherwise — are having their view of the world shaped by this sick sensibility that demands the segregation of boys from girls at prayer time, and the segregation of menstruating from non-menstruating girls. How can Canadian educational officials justify imprinting such messages into the minds of impressionable young people? Does the need to “accommodate faith needs” trump every democratic value, every educational goal?  That’s the issue here.

“Can some school trustee, male or female, please stand up to defend shy girls of tender age?” writes Mallick at the end of her piece. Her focus is outrageously, pathetically, maddeningly narrow. How about somebody stand up to defend secular public education? Equality of the sexes? Freedom?

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