07/18/2011 05:53 EDT | Updated 09/17/2011 05:12 EDT

Muslim Prayers At School: Jewish Defence League To Join Protest At Toronto Valley Park Middle School


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - Several faith-based groups are planning to picket the Toronto District School Board's headquarters next week over its decision to allow Muslim prayers in a school cafeteria.

The Jewish Defence League of Canada, along with Christian and Hindu groups, say they will protest the controversial prayer sessions next Monday.

The prayer services at Valley Park Middle School in the city's north end have been going on for about three years.

A local imam leads the prayers in the school's cafeteria on Fridays.

The school started offering the services because Muslim students were missing classes in order to attend prayers at a nearby mosque.

The school board says only those students who wish to participate attend the service, and the costs are absorbed by the community.

The school board has said it is meeting its obligation to accommodate students' religious beliefs by offering more than 300 Muslim pupils a space to pray.