Thursday, August 04, 2011

Valley Park Middle School Update: Canadian Hindu Advocacy Vows More Protests!

 And their leader, Ron Banerjee, doesn't care whose prayers get interrupted:

We’ll picket in front of the school when they begin praying. Let’s see how much praying they can do with our loudspeakers and hundreds of people there. We want to make it clear we don’t approve of prayer and gender apartheid inside the school. If our loudness disrupts their prayers, then so be it.”

Firstly, since Banerjee managed to scare up all of a single elderly hindi at the last protest, I question his noise making abilities (although not his ability to blow smoke).  Secondly, you would think that, whatever your opinion of the school's attempts at religious accommodation, actually disrupting the prayers of 10 year old kids would be considered dirty pool.  But Ron Banerjeee doesn't think that, because Ron Banerjee is a dick.

On a more civilized note:

The Toronto wing of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) issued a statement supporting the accommodation of Muslim prayers. “School space for prayer on a voluntary, extra-curricular basis, is included in the principle of religious accommodation which Ontario school boards are required to honour under Ministry of Education guidelines,” CIJA stated. “Reasonable religious accommodation, which is enshrined in human rights legislation across the country, benefits all faith communities, including the Jewish community. The absence of reasonable religious accommodation would negatively affect Jewish students and those of other faiths. School boards should closely monitor religious accommodation activities taking place on their property and all such activities should be consistent with the values of the board.”

Expanding on that position, Howard English, vice-president of the Greater Toronto region of CIJA, said reasonable religious accommodation “benefits the Jewish community tremendously. It allows for absences on religious holidays and for voluntary extra-curricular Jewish heritage programs in schools as well.”

However, English added the TDSB “has the responsibility to monitor any kind of extra-curricular activities.” He suggested that it might require having an Arabic-speaker observe the prayers.

I am told the CIJA is what the now defunct CJC has become.  Nice to see that the new org. has some of the same progressive tendencies as the old.


Skinny Dipper said...

Actually, no, the school board doesn't need to provide an Arabic translator as it is technically not a school activity. Essentially, it is not required to have a school board representative/teacher observing the prayer session. There are private groups who use school property during the day. They may be religious prayer groups, non-board lunch science clubs, and day cares. In the evenings and on weekends, there may be scouts/guides (some are Chinese groups), and language classes. We don't expect the school board to provide an observer to monitor these activities.

deboaned said...

I too agree that it is good to see that the successor of the Canadian Jewish Congress remains progressively focused. It helps to mitigate the position taken by the JDL which is much more radical and not in step it seems (thankfully) with the Jewish mainstream.

Deen said...

I love Ron Banerjee's comments, if CHA doesnt work out for him, he would be an excellent comedian.

Banerjee argues that the prayers disrupts the school. Now he says that he will bring hundreds of protesters to the school with loudspeakers, which will disrupt the prayers (and assuming the cafeteria is in the school will also disrupt classes).

Whether one agrees with the prayers or not, we can all agree that Ron Banerjee should not be allowed near our schools, not for the children's safety but I cannot expose the children to a man who is so good at shooting himself in the foot.

hello said...

The trouble, of course, is that while we rightly laugh at Ron Banerjee and Canadian Hindu Advocacy, the mainstream media takes him quite seriously.

Deen said...

To be fair recently mainstream media has either ignored Banerjee or in the case of Citytv made him out to be the fool that he is.

Also i dont consider Sun Media mainstream, they themselves claim to show things outside the mainstream media (ie: fringe). so banerjee can be happy to be on sunnews network, which right now has worse rating than reruns of full house on CTS.

hello said...

Not really, Dean. He was published on Macleans and the Calgary Herald exalted him in an editorial. There has been less coverage of the issue overall, but in the past Global and CTV have shown CHA in a flattering light. Not to mention all the Post and Globe and even the Star could call him is a mere 'critic of Islam'.

Deen said...

I stand corrected :D

Anonymous said...

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Maria[zoot suit]