Thursday, August 9, 2007

More from the MCC: Funding religious schools is bad policy

The National Post ran a very good column today by Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) President Farzana Hassan and Senior Vice-President Salma Siddiqui entitled, Funding religious schools is bad policy.

I must admit that the National Post is starting to become more fair and well-rounded in its coverage than the Toronto Star often seems. I think I'll have to add the National Post to my News Link list on the right.

There are some Muslims who have commented on this site that the MCC is a fringe group in the greater Muslim-Canadian community with no credibility. Based on how reasonable this column reads, I hope that isn't true.


"...In some Muslim schools, girls must pray behind boys, and segregation based on gender is advocated as a religious duty. This is obviously in conflict with Canadian norms...

Advocates of public funding argue that such funding would ensure that private schools will be subject to more governmental oversight. They assert that extremism will be discouraged because curricula will be closely vetted. This ignores the reality that values within schools are rarely taught through formal curricula. Rather, it is the school culture which plays a dominant role in imparting values to children.

If Mr. Tory's proposal leads to the funding of conservative Islamic schools, then Ontario taxpayers will be subsidizing an indoctrination program that treats Muslim girls as second-class citizens. Because faith-based education would become cheaper, and therefore more accessible for Muslim families, more Muslim children will attend religious schools, and therefore have less contact with other Canadians. In the mosques, a new generation of young Muslims will come to embrace a more orthodox and archaic understanding of Islam.

Ontario would do better to gear its policies toward greater integration of ethnic and religious communities. Funding private religious schools will not advance diversity, which is best promoted in the public school system. There, children of all backgrounds can prepare to live together under a common set of Canadian values."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is an age-old argument to suggest that "it is a fringe group" to suppress the opinion expressed by its members through MCC. No one can deny that once you start dividing the citizens according to their belief, you are creating a new "caste system," that tears down the fabric of societal Unity. The promise to fund faith-based school will result in erecting barriers within the population. In addition, it will further weaken the public school system, as funds are diverted from it to create faith-based low quality educational institutions. The problem is that some fundamental Muslim fringe groups (who claim to represent Canadian Muslim majority) are on a "power trip" and intend to officialise their hegemony. Such a regressive move must be opposed by all fair-minded progressive Canadians.