No place for religious indoctrination in Ontario’s publically-funded schools
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We publish above a letter of our Friend Richard Thain to Toronto Daily Star’s Editor
Toronto Daily Star
To the Editor — (for publication)
- The debate on Focus Ontario (Global TV, July 16, 2011) on Muslim prayers in Ontario’s public schools was both enlightening and disturbing. Imam Rockwell stated that the Muslim students who leave class to attend the Imam-led prayer sessions during regular school hours, “are not forced” and “they freely choose to pray.”
- Justin Trottier (Canadian Secular Alliance) pointed out that students are in fact pressured and it is often the students’ parents who decide. This correlates with my experiences, having spoken with numerous students of Muslim background, at various Canadian university humanist and skeptics clubs. They confided that they agree with secular, modern, scientific, rationalistic principles and embrace a naturalistic world-view but would not be able to join such a campus club due to family pressure. As one young woman told me at Carleton University, “I hope my parents don’t find out I attended this lecture tonight, or I will be in big trouble.” The lecture was on human evolution. And these are university students ! How much more difficult must it be for high school students to express their freedom of conscience and decline attending the prayer sessions. Imam Rockwell tells us there is no coercion but the evidence does not support his claim.
- There is no place for religious indoctrination in Ontario’s publically-funded schools, be it Islamic, Roman Catholic or otherwise.
Richard Thain DDS
I am on the Board of Directors of CFI Canada and a past president of the Humanist Association of Ottawa.
Our daughters attended Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools in Ontario and we now support the One School System Network.
Thanks for your consideration.