Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ontario Tories Debate Religious Schools

I took my car to the dealership today for some oil change, as well as some other regular maintenance stuff they had tagged on to the bill. I have a weird habit of collecting all the loose change that sits on the CD compartment (left overs from drive-ins, movie nights and grocery trips), place them in a small bag and hide it in the trunk. Yes, I don't want the anonymous guy servicing my car to steal any change from the $5.23 that is there. I know it's petty, but I feel like I am being gouged anyways, and do not literally want to pay a cent more than what is forced out of me.

Speaking of forced contributions, this slipped below my radar: Ontario Conservative Party to debate funding faith-based schools. The Tories are concerned that parents of kids who attend private schools are paying for tuition twice - first, through their taxes they are funding the public education system, and second, their kids' tuition at the private school. While this may not be a concern to rich parents of rich kids attending exclusive private schools, it is a big deal to parents sending their kids to faith-based private schools. A majority of these happen to be Muslim and Jewish kids.

Whenever I go to a mosque, I make it a point to donate a little amount (usually spare change that did not make it to my car). Usually, there are separate boxes for mosque funds, and a school. I NEVER donate to the school. I do not agree with faith-based schools. I feel all Muslims should attend public schools. You are exposed to all types of people from all backgrounds, from all faiths, cultures and creeds.

In an Islamic school that I attended in the Middle East before my parents thankfully moved me to a British school, the teachers were very close minded. There was a lot of racism. And I saw first hand examples of preaching one thing and practising something else. We were forced to pray Zuhr, and I used to hate it. After I left that school, I gave up prayers. I felt I was free. Forcing me to pray did nothing to endear that to me. Later, I started praying again of my own accord, as I understood why we have to pray. I attend parties where many drink, or do other stuff, yet I don't. I found out that all Chinese people did not eat cockroaches, all white girls are not drunk sluts, etc. Living and working amongst people from diverse backgrounds broadens one's outlook. I have friends from all walks of life. After all, in Toronto, public schools accomodate Muslims in many ways (such as prayer breaks, giving up rooms for Jummah, and so on).

Now, my view may not be your view. Which is fine, you are free to support Islamic schools by your donations, or by sending your kids there if you like. But if the Tories form the next Ontario government and push this idea through, I will now be forced to support not only Islamic schools, but Jewish schools, Sikh schools, Hindu schools, etc. Why?

Note: In Canada, Catholic schools are funded by the public "by law", which is how the Tories raised funding for other faiths on an equality basis [Wikipedia].



Anonymous said...

I have to disagree here Mezba.

First, the issue is one of fairness. Catholic schools get funded by Canadian tax payers, as you pointed out. That's why the Tories raised this issue that other faith-based schools should also get taxpayer funding.

Second, I know the school you are talking about, it was not too great, besides the problem was more cultural. Here, in the West, Islamic schools are nothing like what they are back home.

- Farah.

Anonymous said...

If Muslims avoid other people and attend only so-called Islamic schools then how will anyone interact with Muslims, and how will Muslims interact with other beliefs in the future, as they had no experience during their formative years?

- S.

Anonymous said...

is it not true that most islamic school are really terrorist school?

i dont want my tax dollars for terrorist education!

Crimson Mouzi said...

Well there are things that we disagree with but still have to do. I.e. a certain portion of our tax money goes to Israel. That money partially fund their Israeli Defense and guess what happens with that? Innocent Palis are murdered, and "we" as Americans partially fund those killings!!!

I think for the sake of fairness, religious schools MUST be funded. Because, if catholic schools are funded, it does not sound right that the otehr religious schools are not funded.

What your view on Islamic school may not be necessarily true. If you are already in a Muslim country, maybe that need for an Islamic school is not that urgent. However, here in the US or other non-Muslim countries, kids go through tremendous peer pressure. Most first generation Muslim immigrants end up in low-income neighborhood and as a result they are in "bad neighborhood schools" when they go to public schools. I have seen, as a result of peer pressure (and of course bad guidance of parents, but when both parents have to do 60 hours a week crappy McDonald's job to put food on the table, what can we expect from their kids?), Muslim (even hijabis) getting pregnant in 9-10 grade, drinking alcoholic beverages. I don't think things need to get any worse than that! So for these people, if we could provide with low cost Islamic school/environment, maybe we could save our kids from getting lost just like that.
Yes, Islamic schools may not have the greatest teachers or the teaching resources. All blame comes back to us, the new generation Muslims who carefully left to achieve our dreams of becoming doctors, engineer, and PhD's to make big bucks and totally forgot about our Muslim community that is still in the infant stage and DESPERATELY needs our help. ANd it's "us" who needs to get into "EDUCATION" and be teachers for the kids. We in turn would not teach them racism, and would not teach them that they are better than the "kuffar" in every aspect of life, and teach them to be humble. It really is our responsibility.

Anon of 1206:
please grab a book. Forget about public or private schooling, it sounds like you had NO schooling at all. I feel bad for ya!

How do kids from Catholic schools interact with other people?

mezba said...

@Farah: On the question of fairness I will concede the issue to you - if Catholic schools deserve to be funded so do Muslim schools. When the constitution was first written there were two school systems - Protestant and Catholic. The Protestant has evolved into the present secular public system, and the Catholic system remained unchanged. There is no reason why it should still be funded.

@S: Exactly my point. Also, if other beliefs have no interaction with Muslims, how can any bridges be built?

@Anon: No it's not true.

@Tea-Biscuit: You raise some very interesting points.

First, it is true that our tax dollars fund some programs we may not agree with. TDSB funds a program informing students about homosexuality that many disagree with. The solution is to lobby against those programs, or lobby FOR those programs that you WANT supported.

Second, here in Canada you will very rarely find 'bad neighborhoods' in big cities. There is no 'South Side', like Chicago, in Toronto. Jane-Finch is a rare exception. So public high schools usually tend to draw students from a huge variety of backgrounds. Also, in areas with huge Muslim population, such as Malvern, most of the students could be Asians or Muslims anyways. Again, due to public healthcare, child care benefit, university tuition funding through OSAP and some other social programs, first generation immigrants in Canada are better off than the States. However I am troubled by the description of the state of some immigrants you have provided. I did not realize there were those Muslims whose kids are that lost to peer pressure.

If the parents are so busy as to provide guidance and teachings at home, maybe an Islamic school may solve their problems.

Aisha said...

I havent read the above comments so sorry if I'm repeating but as a teacher myself I disagree with faith based schools for most people. I have heard that Chicago has some fantastic schools though so I don tknow, but my thing is we want to sheild them, but the times that IW as tempted most was when I saw my fellow muslims being bad. Non muslims you unerstand have different rules and stds but when you see your bretheren making out with guys or smoking weed its suddenly more tempting because they are breaking the rules you abide by also.

For many other perhaps more complex reasons I concluded a long time ago that Islamic school wouldn't be the route I'd want to take although here they have started a charter school (private school with a theme) that teaches Arabic and that I woul definetly consider

Crimson Mouzi said...

If I really left my country, of which I am not immensely proud, I wish it was canada where I went. Even tho your housing and all that is super expensive, I know you guys have better things to offer when it comes down to "life".

It's a complex situation where we just cannot have a general statement. If schools are like what mezba said on his post where you have prayer place and jummah break and what not, with a little more effort on parents' side to provide the kids with Islamic teachings, I think there is no special need for Islamic Schools. However, if you happen to be in the Bronx or Southside or Hamtramck, MI, maybe, Islamic school (or even Jewsih shcool, or any other school other than public school) is a better choice for your kids. Realistically, Muslims are still in their early stage of migration and you will find more Muslims in the poorer neighborhood than in a decent neighborhood (of course, in Canada that is not a problem), and for them any other alternative other than theri nasty zone school is a better choice. And for the greater good, we should be helping them with our tax money, yes in the United States, it was a subject of debate too. I don't know what happened eventually, if the policy makers ever came up with any decision.

But I loved what Imam Abdul Malik said oce, he is the official Muslim chaplain to UN. He said, instead of trying to make Islamic schools where we don't even have enough funding, why don't we Muslims unite. If we put about 500 Muslim kids in ONE high school and have them ALL walk out during Jumuah and have ALL OF THEM NOT go to school during Eid, and other special holidays, they (the public school authority) will have to comply with us. ANd we will eventually get recognized. The problem is though we don't have that strong Muslim population. Strong as in the sense of "strength in faith"/ My sister goes to a public high school, and the neighborhood is predominantly Arab, and there are about 300-400 Muslim kids in that building and what bothers me the most is that all the kids still go to school on Eid day, and don't take break for Jumuah. In fact they have not even approached the authority on that, where they could clearly reach a resolution on this, given the big number of Muslim kids attending.

oh God, look at the length of my comment. Sorry about that!

Rishi Gajria said...

"In Canada, Catholic schools are funded by the public "by law"

Sounds like India.
It is a good option in poor countries. Some of the best schools in India are Jesuit schools.

Anonymous said...

i think islam should not be given any standing in canada. muslims are violent bunch. they abuse and disrespect women and peoples of all other religions. this is a fact. they cant live peacefully with anyone. consider this: muslim problem in eastern europe, france, russia, africa, middle east, india, UK ... and the list goes on and on.

koran = terrorist manual

mezba said...

I would ofcourse engage in a fuller debate with you had you chosen to leave a name or identity, or addressed the issue at hand.

MKS said...

the fact that muslims are violent is a FACT. it is not something to be debated about.

here is what happened during bush's trip to india:

"The visit to India provoked multiple protests by Indian Muslims and leftists angered by the US-led invasion of Iraq. Three people were killed today in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, when dozens of armed Muslims tried to force Hindu shopkeepers to join an anti-Bush protest and shut their stores.",,25689-2068184,00.html

now tell me. why did muslims try to FORCE hindus to join their protest? and why are muslims in pakistan STILL protesting about the mohammad cartoons? it's actually funny!

also koran tells muslims to kill infidels and you say it is a "peaceful" religion?

i understand not all muslims are bad. i have some good muslims friends. but the good dont speak up because they are afriad to speak up. but i also think that most are very hateful people including my muslims friends who (for example) hate jews even when they have nothing to do with the israel/palestine issue.

mezba said...


Greetings be to those who seek the truth.

I don't know if you are Christian or not, but I am going to show that the arguments you made are false because they can be seemingly applied against any religion.

Let me look at your second statement first. You accuse the Quran of instructing the Muslims to kill any non-Muslim, and give me a site that takes verses of the Quran out of context.

Now, we can do the same to the Bible, but I don't want to get into that, as I don't believe in taking verses out of context. However, just to demonstrate, I will point two verses of the Bible to you.

Luke 19:27 - “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me.”

Does this mean Jesus is instructing his disciples to kill anyone that does not believe in him? I don't think so, but it shows what can we done by selective extraction. Let me show you another verse, Exodus 35:2, which apparently instructs anyone who works on the Sabbath to be put to death.

Next, lets go to your 'fact' that all Muslims are violent. You take the action of a few people (the protestors) and conclude all Muslims are hateful. Given that Lucknow has thousands and thousands of Muslims, this is erreneous.

You seem to ignore the part of history (some fairly recent) where Christians have engaged in the most barbarious acts. Serbs (Orthodox) killed Croats (Catholics) in the name of religion.

In France, the largest Protestant group was known as the Huguenots. They were mercilessly persecuted, and King Henry created a heresy court known infamously as The Burning Chamber because that was the standard punishment for heretics. On the night of August 24, 1572 - known as St. Bartholomew’s Day - Catholic soldiers swept through Huguenot neighborhoods of Paris in a foreshadowing of what would happen to the Jews under Nazi rule.

Pope Pius sent Catholic troops into France to aid in the repression efforts, ordering the army commander to kill all prisoners. Pius, unsurprisingly, was later canonized as a saint.

In Uganda, forces loyal to one Christian theology rampaged on civilians from another Christian sect. Should we conclude that all Christians are violent and the Bible a violent book? No!

Finally, this was a discussion on religious schools. I am of the position that all religious schools (including Catholics) should not be funded by taxpayers as these schools encourage close-mindedness and narrow upbringing. Please argue/debate that fact, if you can.

mezba said...

Sources (for part of the previous comment):

MKS said...

you are saying that i'm taking the action of a "few" people and conclude all muslims are hateful. i guess that depends on your definition of 'few'. hundreds of thousands, dare say millions, protesting all over the world is NOT few. some are STILL protesting! lol by no definition were the protests peaceful. is buring flags peaceful? is having signs like 'behead those responsible' peaceful? i think everyone agrees that it is nothing but hateful. bottom line is muslims are backward people who dont want progress nor do they want anyone else to progress (remember, muslims are not going to be happy until there is islamic law in the entire world?)

i should not say all muslims are terrorists. but an overwhelming majority of terrorists are muslims and i think you cant deny that. there are millions of terrorists (who kill in the name of allah/mohammad) and there are billions of sympathizers.

other religious texts are/can be misinterpretted. i'm sure you had to work hard on your research above. but it seems like the koran is misinterpretted on a very LARGE scale even TODAY. we are not talking about the 15th or 16th century here. i dont think that is a mere coincidence that it is misinterpretted by almost EVERYONE. koran does say to kill infidels.

the reason i say that islam is an evil religion is because muslims kill/terrorize in the name of allah! what more proof does anyone want? we are not talking about the actions of a few misguided muslims. we are talking about millions and millions.

your canadian soldier was brutally killed by a muslims by an axe in afghanistan yesterday. axe killing, public beheading, cutting off hands/legs for stealing or other petty crimes, public castration etc etc are only things that muslims specialize in.

as far as religious schools are concerned. i would be ok with funding all relgious school EXCEPT islamic schools. no way im paying for terrorist education.

mezba said...

It is clear you are not intent on debating the funding of religious schools by taxpayer dollars. I wish you a good day.

PS. i'm sure you had to work hard on your research above. Not really. I got all my quotes from my Christian friends and websites managed by Christians.

'liya said...

Mezba, how did I ever miss this post of yours?!

I'm going to link to this later.