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Toronto school board dropping reference to ‘politics’ in Islamic guide after complaint

The Toronto District School Board created a guide on Islamophobia to be used in public schools in October, which is Islamic Heritage Month.
The Toronto District School Board created a guide on Islamophobia to be used in public schools in October, which is Islamic Heritage Month. Caryn Lieberman / File / Global News

TORONTO – The Toronto District School Board says it will replace portions of a guidebook that uses a definition of Islamophobia that a Jewish community group has called “overly broad.”

The guidebook defines Islamophobia, in part, as “fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.”

B’nai Brith Canada had complained earlier on Monday that the reference to “politics” could lead to students or staff being punished for expressing dislike for the Republic of Iran’s persecution of LGBTQ people or restrictions placed on women in Saudi Arabia.

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The group asked the board to change the wording of the guide, saying fighting bigotry against Muslims can’t be pretext for tolerating human rights violations.

Hours later, TDSB chair Robin Pilkey said in a letter to the group that the updated guide will reflect the Ontario Human Rights Commission‘s definition of Islamophobia, which makes no reference to politics.

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The school board created the guide to be used in public schools in October, which is Islamic Heritage Month.