Madrassah booted from Toronto school pending hate probe
A Toronto Islamic school that runs weekend classes at a Scarborough, Ont., high school has been barred from teaching there, pending a police investigation into alleged anti-Semitic curriculum material, Toronto's school board has confirmed.
East End Madrassah has been ordered to stop Sunday lessons at David and Mary Thomson Collegiate, after reports surfaced last week of online teachings alluding to "treacherous" Jews" who "conspired to kill" the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.
One line contrasted Islam with "the Jews and the Nazis."
Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an organization that lists the promotion of tolerance and human rights among its mandates, complained after finding the material on the school's website.
The madrassah is run by a mosque in Thornhill, Ont., and rents space at the Lawrence Avenue East and Brimley Road high school for four hours a week on Sundays.
Quick to apologize over controversy
The Toronto District School Board said it decided to temporarily ban East End Madrassah from holding classes on board property while York Regional Police's hate crimes unit investigates.
TDSB spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz says East End Madrassah will have to find a new meeting place until the police investigation is complete, adding the board has also requested a meeting with school officials to ensure their teachings are in line with the board's policies.
Schwartz-Maltz says East End Madrassah complied willingly and was quick to apologize for the controversy.
"We've had a relationship with the organization for about 30 years, and in that 30 years we've had no complaints whatsoever," she said.
Jewish groups praised the board's decision, calling it an excellent first step.
David Spiro, Toronto co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said he hopes the TDSB will eventually sever all ties with the school.
East End Madrassah has since removed the text from its website and issued a public apology to the Jewish community "for the unintentional offence that the item has caused."
With files from The Canadian Press