BRAMPTON, ON - I am alarmed by the recent misinformation and hateful speech surrounding the accommodation of Muslim prayers at the Peel District School Board.
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.
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.
I am 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.
Almost 100 different languages are spoken in Brampton – a place where people from around the world come to make their dreams come true. Diversity works, and we are a more dynamic City because of it. I was elected by Bramptonians from all walks of life to represent all of my 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.
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Jaskaran Singh Sandhu
Press Secretary, Office of the Mayor
City of Brampton
905.874.2000 ext. 47005 firstname.lastname@example.org