Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why police now attend my son’s Muslim prayer space at school

Friday is a day where millions of Muslims worldwide pray and worship together – the word for the practice, Jummah, literally means “Friday prayers.” Together, they pray for peace, for stability, to ease burdens of famine and illness, for relief from war, systemic oppression and justice. Locally, at NHL and NBA playoff time, there are sincere supplications for select teams to advance.

It is a time to see our neighbours and to recharge spiritually. It is a time to be reminded of our duties and responsibilities. At various schools in the Peel District School Board (PDSB), Jummah prayers have been happening for almost 20 years.

My eldest son is in Grade 11 and attends Jummah at his high school every week. On Fridays, he gets up early, showers and wears clean clothes, usually jeans and a shirt that does not require ironing. Some weeks he is the khateeb, the person who delivers the sermon (or khutbah). He loves it and I am happy he has an opportunity to practice his faith in a safe space.

Jummah attendees are students and staff who are Muslim and choose to attend. They are exercising their right to freedom of religion, one protected in Ontario, where public and Catholic schools are required by law to accommodate religious practice if requested.

Lots of Muslim students don’t attend Jummah at my son’s school and sometimes non-Muslim friends peek in. Afterward, everyone heads to the plaza nearby to hang out at Tim Hortons or grab a shawarma.  (more...)

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