York Region police are investigating a complaint about anti-Jewish teachings at a Muslim Sunday school that rents space in a Toronto public high school.
Jewish groups expressed shock at anti-Semitic teachings found on the website of the East End Madrassah — a religious program that runs every Sunday — that called ancient Jews “treacherous” and “crafty” and accused them of “conspiring to kill the Prophet Muhammad.”
While the offending materials appeared to have been removed from the website Monday morning and the school website itself appeared to be have been taken down by Monday night, York police confirmed their hate crimes unit had launched an investigation.
“We were shocked such material was being disseminated on the property of the Toronto District School Board, which we know values tolerance and multiculturalism,” said David Spiro, Greater Toronto co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which denounced the “level 8” curriculum. The material, among other things, lumps together Judaism and Nazism as beliefs restricted to a particular race.
“Taking that material down from the website was a good first step, but we need to address the problem of why it was there in the first place and whether it was picked up by other institutions,” he said. “And we need to know the material is not being used to instill hatred of others, which goes against the values all Canadians hold dear.”
The East End Madrassah rents space for educational programming each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in David and Mary Thomson Collegiate on Lawrence Ave. E. near Brimley Rd., but the program is run by the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Thornhill, which is why York Region police are involved. The non-profit organization offers religious and moral teachings as well as heritage language programs in Gujarati, Urdu and Arabic.
East End Madrassah Principal Masuma Jessa did not return calls from the Star, and staff at the Thornhill mosque refused to comment.
In a statement Monday the TDSB said it does not tolerate any group that promotes hatred, and if a permit holder is found breaking the law in any way, such as promoting hatred, the board can revoke the permit.
“We will continue to work with police and take appropriate action pending the conclusion of the investigation,” said board spokesperson Ryan Bird, who noted that of the nearly 20,000 permits issued each year, some 570 go to a range of religious groups.Comments Policy