Calgary

Calgary Islamic School cancels public prayers over security concerns

The Calgary Islamic School has closed its doors to the public for Friday prayers, citing a "direct recommendation" from police agencies to make the facility more secure.

Police stood outside Friday morning in anticipation of a protest against the decision

Calgary police showed up at the Calgary Islamic School's Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus in anticipation of a protest from people who are upset that the school no longer allows the public to attend Friday prayers. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The Calgary Islamic School has closed its doors to the public for Friday prayers, citing a "direct recommendation" from police agencies to make the facility more secure.

"Currently our kids' safety is at stake," the Muslim Council of Calgary said in an open letter to the community dated Thursday.

The decision to restrict access to the school's Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus in southeast Calgary was made after consultation with police, RCMP and a security consultant to make the school and prayer spaces more secure, the letter says.

"We have been recommended to apply proper school security protocol, where no outsider is allowed in the school," it added.

The letter also references the deadly mosque attack in Quebec City on Sunday that killed six people and wounded several others.

The school is putting a security review team together, as well as working with police and RCMP to train staff on security awareness and emergency response, according to the letter.

"We know brothers and sisters that some of these measures are an inconvenience and may not be welcome, but they are important and necessary."

A handful of police officers stood outside the school Friday morning as a group of 14 people protested peacefully against the school's decision to close its doors.

A Calgary police spokesperson said besides the protesters, another two dozen people showed up to pray, unaware that the school is now closed to the public.

The school, which has two campuses, and is a member of the Palliser Regional Schools division, has more than 1,000 students.

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