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Open Letter: Parents Deserve Clarity On Alleged Racism At York Region Schools

10/31/2016 03:33 EDT | Updated 10/31/2016 03:37 EDT

mitzie hunter

Education Minister Mitzie Hunter. (Photo: Nakita Krucker/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Honourable Mitzie Hunter

Minister of Education

Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris

Associate Minister of Education

Dear Honourable Ministers:

We write with respect to the saga at the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) over alleged Islamophobic posts by principal Ghada Sadaka. We join the parents who are deeply concerned about the mental and physical well-being of their children.

Two trustees, Allan Tam and Billy Pang, have also joined the growing chorus asking for transparency and questioning whether proper protocol was followed by the board.

As you are aware, the lack of transparency and accountability with regards to their investigation and any actions they may have undertaken to address the unprofessional and hateful statements was even profiled by various media outlets. This is deeply troubling.

We hope you agree that all children, teachers and staff are entitled to a safe, inclusive and accepting school environment.

This is especially disturbing when contextualized within the growing incidents of Islamophobia within society -- something that the Anti-Racism Directorate has committed to addressing.

As community leaders, we are even more perturbed to see this as part of what may be a larger problem. We are deeply saddened to note that there appears to be a systemic issue at play in York Region as black families have also been alleging issues of anti-black racism within the school system.

They too have been feeling ignored and dismissed. In fact, in that context while Minister Liz Sandals said that the allegations were "disturbing," nothing appears to have been done to address it.

Apart from these allegations, it appears that a culture of fear continues to grow within the YRDSB. If these allegations are not investigated thoroughly and dealt with in a transparent and judicious manner, the resulting loss of trust will only lead to loss of complete confidence in the system.

We hope you agree that all children, teachers and staff are entitled to a safe, inclusive and accepting school environment free from fear and hate.

We wish to bring to your attention the provincial code of conduct pertaining to safe schools. Specifically, the code provides the following:

Safety

School community members must not: engage in hate propaganda or other types of behaviour caused by hate or bias.

We are now asking you to please intervene and to work with the concerned communities to re-establish public confidence in the YRDSB.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

(A full list of signatories appears on the next page.)

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Signatories:

Community Organizations & Leaders:

1) Hamid Akbar, Tax Auditor & Board Member at Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada (APMC)

2) Hamna Anwar, Law Student, Co-Chair of Muslim Law Students Association at University of Ottawa

3) Sadat Anwar, Muslim Debate Initiative (Canada)

4) Shaykh Yusuf Badat, Imam, Islamic Foundation of Toronto

5) Mohamed Bhabha, Chair, Muslim Seniors Circle of Halton/Peel

6) Dr. Katherine Bullock, PhD, Community Leader

7) Ahmad Gaied, Executive Vice-President, Ontario Federation of Labour

8) Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, National Council of Canadian Muslims

9) Taha Ghayyur, Writer & Leadership Trainer, Community Leader

10) Hussein Hamdani, Vice Chair and Legal Counsel, North American Spiritual Revival

11) Nabeel Hasan, Founder of Muslim Scholarship Fund, Consultant / Community Worker and Social Activist

12) Mohammed Hashim, Senior Organizer, Toronto and York Region Labour Council

13) Jamal Hassan, Director, Government and Corporate Relation, Voice of Islam

14) Dr. Tabasum Hussain, Street Da'wah Toronto Group

15) Abdul Huq Ingar, Community Leader/Activist

16) Yusuf Ingar, Community Leader/Activist

17) Anela Jadunandan, Community Activist

18) Samira Kanji, President, Noor Cultural Centre

19) Khalid S . Khan, IT Consultant and Community Leader

20) Nader Khan, Singer-Songwriter, Arts Educator, Social Activist

21) Saleha Khan, Family Honour Project, London

22) Sheema Khan, PhD, Patent Agent, Writer, Monthly columnist for the Globe and Mail

23) Rabia Khedr, Executive Director, Muslim Council of Peel, and Executive Director, CAM-D, Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities

24) Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, Resident Scholar/Senior Lecturer, Islamic Institute of Toronto

25) Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, Director, Diversity and Equity, Wilfrid Laurier University

26) Farrah Marfatia, Vice-Principal, High School, Private School

27) Fizza Mir, Educator, Peel, Community Leader

28) Abdussalam Nakua, Community Organizer and Activitist

29) Muneeb Nasir, President, Olive Tree Foundation

30) Sandra Noe, President, Board of Directors, Federation of Muslim Women

31) Towhid Noman, OCT, PSP, President, Ontario Bangladeshi Educators Community Support Services

32) Towhid Noman, OCT, PSP, President, Ontario Bangladeshi Educators Community Support Services

33) Uzma Panchbhaya, Vice Principal, Elementary School (Private)

34) Zuned Panchbhaya, Imam & Teacher, Private School

35) Yaseen Poonah, President, Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline

36) Dr. Saqib Qureshi, Entrepreneur, author, and Community Leader

37) Vaqar Raees, Nuclear Safety Officer and community activist, President, Friends Indeed Canada

38) Shazlin Rahman, Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, Inspirit Foundation

39) Naeem Siddiqi, Communications Director, Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association (CMCLA)

40) Farina Siddiqui, Political Action Network for Muslim Canadians (PANMC)

41) Yousuf Syed,Vice-President, Islamic Supreme Council Of Canada Toronto Chapter

42) The Canadian Council of Muslim Women - National

Educators:

43) Samiya Abdi, Health Promotion Consultant

44) Binish Ahmed - Educator, Researcher, PhD Candidate, Ryerson University

45) Rimshah Ahmed, Coordinator / Writer/ Artist

46) Mayar El-Khatib, Civil Engineer, Statistician, Published Author

47) Omar El-Ziftawi, BSc, MEd., Educator

48) Mohammad Fadel, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

49) Humera Hashmi, E.A., YRDSB

50) Dr. Uzma Jamil, Researcher

51) Dr. Rima Berns-McGown, Lecturer, Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto at Mississauga

52) Shazia Javed, Filmmaker and Educator

53) Dr. Baseer U. Khan, MD, FRCS(C), P.CEO., Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

54) Ausma Zehanat Khan, Author

55) Faisal Kutty, Associate Professor, Vaparaiso University Law School, Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and Counsel, KSM Law

56) Drupati Maharaj, M.Ed., Diversity Consultant

57) Yasmin Merchant, Teacher

58) Muhammad Munshi, MD, Lecturer, Diagnostic Imaging, University of Toronto

59) Rabea Murtaza, Community Work College Teacher

60) Omair Quadri, Digital Editor, The Globe and Mail

61) Aurangzeb Qureshi, Policy Analyst/Writer

62) Waheeda Rahman, MA - Director Organizational Development/Diversity Expert/Leadership Coach

63) Dr. Sumairah Syed, MD, Lecturer, University of Toronto

64) Dr. Muhammad N. Yousaf, Professor of Chemistry, York University

65) Zainab Zafar, TDSB science teacher

66) Omar Zia, Teacher, PDSB

67) Dr. Jasmin Zine, Professor, Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

Concerned Community Members:

68) Taskeen Abdul-Rawoof, Law Student at Osgoode Hall Law School, Former Teacher

69) Nabeel Ahmed, Nonprofit Professional and Urban Planning Student

70) Ghufran Ahmed, Entrepreneur

71) Zoya Alam, Lawyer

72) Qasim Ali, Associate / Lawyer, Clarity Law Group

73) Syyeda Alikhan, Retired

74) Nasreen AliKhan, Retired Civil Servant, Province of Ontario

75) Sanaa Ali-Mohammed, Community Member

76) Sadia Anjum, Former Employment Counsellor

77) Daanish Ansari, Accountant

78) Mohammad Asif, Community Member

79) Abuzar Atieque, Computer Engineer

80) Noor Baig, MA Candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University

81) Ifthikhar Barrie, IT consultant

82) Djamel Boukhira, Software Quality Test Engineer Lead.

83) Anne Brittain, Community Member

84) Jawad Chaudhry, Concerned Parent

85) Asad Chishti, Inventor at Chairs and Tables

86) Nabeel Dar, IT Manager

87) Hagar Elsayed, Law Student

88) Heather Fathi, Negotiator with Ontario Public Service Employees Union

89) Omar Hamid, Managing Director, B.D Diagnostic Inc.

90) Sadiq Hasan, CEO, Infoanaysis Systems Inc.

91) Syed Hussaini, Concerned Parent at the School (SWL)

92) Babna Islam, Parent

93) Faizan Jabbar, P.Eng, Senior Electrical Engineer

94) Nasir Jabbar, Technologist

95) Tauqeer Javaid, Engineer, Independent Entrepreneur, Platine Inc.

96) Mustafa Jilani, Lawyer

97) Muhammad Talha Johri, High School Student, York Region

98) Sofia Johri, Parent and Project Manager at eHealth Ontario

99) Waseem Johri, Engineer, Durham Region

100) Zainab Johri, High School Student, Durham Region

101) Khalidah Juman-Yassin, Concerned Community Member

102) Eiad Kassif, IT consultant

103) Sana Khawaja,Student

104) Seima Khan, Senior OD Consultant

105) Zahid Khan, Program Manager TD Bank

106) Maliha Khan, Grade 10 IB Student, Peel Board

107) Monia Khan, Grade 7 IBT Student, Peel Board

108) Hina Latif, Lawyer

109) Farheen Khan, Student

110) Nada Mabsout, Concerned Community Member

111) Tara Maharaj, Concerned Community Member

112) Mustafa Malik, CPA, CMA, Finance Manager

113) Farook Mansoor, IT Manager

114) Afsana Mansoor, Supply Chain Manager

115) Naseem Mithoowani, Lawyer

116) Farzana Mohsin, Proud Mother, Grandmother and passionate about fairness & equality for all

117) Mohamed Moinuddin, Marketing Executive

118) Ali Moinuddin, University Student

119) Saleem Moinuddin, Retired

120) Fatemah Moinuddin, High School Student

121) Rahim Morad, Travel Counselor

122) Anthony Morgan, Lawyer

123) Fatima Muhtaj, Community Member

124) Samer Nakib, Law Student

125) Iram Naqvi, City Social Services Worker

126) Mohammed Quraishi, Optician

127) Tanweer Qureshi, Grandmother and Retired Teacher

128) Saadia Qureshi, Graphic Designer

129) Ebad Rahman, lawyer

130) Aisha Raja, Community Member and Markham Resident

131) Omair Raza, Tech entrepreneur

132) Jawdat Saleh, Concerned Community Member

133) Nafees Sayeed, Retired Civil Servant, Province of Ontario

134) Zaid Sayeed, Lawyer, Argent Law

135) Paul Scotland, Lawyer

136) Summera Shaikh, Mortgage Agent - Get A Better Mortgage/ The Mortgage Centre

137) Sadaf Siddiqui, Lawyer

138) Saif Syed, P.Eng, Software Engineer

139) Nicole Tavares, Concerned Community Member

140) Usman Umar, Government Compliance Officer

141) Anjali Willoughby, Social Worker

142) Khadija Zeeshan, Law Student, University of Alberta Faculty of Law.