Canada’s largest school board, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), held a launch event on Monday at the Aga Khan Museum in Don Mills to announce the programs and initiatives the Board will be holding in schools for Islamic History Month (IHM) during October.
“The TDSB has long been committed to promoting equity and inclusion of all students,” said the school board in a statement. “It’s wonderful for students, teachers, and guardians to have an opportunity to learn about diverse creeds and cultures through various dedicated months and significant days featured throughout the school year at the TDSB.”
“We encourage school boards across Canada to carry out similar initiatives in their schools,” added TDSB. “We look forward to continuing our support of these positive efforts to promote inclusive classrooms, and by extension, inclusive communities.”
In attendance at the launch were community members, dignitaries, artists, and elected officials.
“It has been incredible to see the sheer momentum generated by a group of dedicated parents who wanted to see Islamic Heritage Month celebrated by their children’s schools throughout the month of October,” said Amira Elghawaby, National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) Communications Director.
In 2007, the Canadian government proclaimed October as Islamic History Month and in 2016, the Provincial government of Ontario proclaimed October as Islamic Heritage Month.
TDSB’s Islamic History Month (IHM) include three key components this year:
IHM 2017 Poster
This poster celebrates 12 Canadian Muslims who have contributed to the Canadian cultural fabric either through civic engagement, politics, entertainment, military service, or sport.
Their dedication to and love for Canada fuels their passion. The Al-Rashid Mosque, pictured in the bottom left-hand corner, was the first mosque in Canada (established in 1938), and is now located in Fort Edmonton Park, Alberta. This mosque served as a place of worship for the “pioneering” Muslim community. All TDSB school principals will receive an IHM poster to display in their school.
The IHM Resource Guidebook includes over 400 items: an educator’s primer; daily morning announcements; books and publications; films and documentaries; curriculum and study guides; writing assignments; art projects; musicians; and a list of speakers, artists and entertainers.
The overall objectives of the IHM Resource Guidebook are to showcase “the important contributions of Canadian Muslims to Canadian society, the cultural diversity of the Canadian Muslim community and the importance of Canadians learning about each other to foster greater social cohesion.”
Workshops & Events
The TDSB IHM Planning Committee will be hosting 13 workshops and events in October to celebrate the month.
The overall goal of these workshops and events are to engage, enable and empower parents/guardians in the TDSB to challenge Islamophobia and discrimination at large, through awareness and education – the first initiative of this kind in the province of Ontario, and likely across Canada.