Mayor Jeffrey supports religious accommodation in schools

By A Staff Reporter

Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey has expressed her alarm at the “recent misinformation and hateful speech” surrounding the accommodation of Muslim prayers at the Peel District School Board.

In a statement issued to the media, the mayor said: “Over the last two decades Muslim students, in schools across the Region of Peel, have been accommodated for Friday prayer. This is not something new.

“The Ontario Human Rights Code mandates religious accommodation. Our City and Region have a
proud history of upholding religious accommodations at our public schools. Whether it is protecting
the right of religious dress, like a Sikh student’s kirpan and turban, or accommodating a
vegetarian/kosher/halal religious dietary restriction at a school event, we proudly stand for our Charter
rights protecting religious freedom.”

The statement added: “Muslim students require a time to pray that may happen during a school day, and we must respect that — as we do any other religious requirement. The only limit on religious accommodation is undue financial burden. Letting Muslim students pray for 20 minutes in an empty space with the supervision of volunteer staff does not cause any financial hardship.”

Jeffrey said she is troubled by the “misinformation, fear mongering, and outright falsehoods” being spread by some.

“Peel is one of the most diverse regions in Canada. We not only cherish diversity, we celebrate it. It is
our strength, the very essence of our Region’s character. Our strong diversity is why families are choosing to move here, it is why we are one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, and it is why I love being the mayor of the great City of Brampton.”

The mayor noted that almost 100 different languages are spoken in Brampton. “Diversity works, and we are a more dynamic City because of it.”

Jeffrey expressed her determination to represent all of Brampton’s 600,000 residents.

“I strongly condemn any form of discrimination, any form of racism, and any form of hate. There is no place for it here, or anywhere else in Canada,” she concluded.

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