On May 8, 2017, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) brought 31 young people together to talk about their experiences as Muslim students in Ontario classrooms.
According to NCCM, Muslim students rarely get the opportunity to speak freely about the particular challenges they face in the education system.
“Recognizing this gap, the NCCM’s Muslim Student Town Hall initiative worked hard to change this by inviting diverse Muslim voices to the table to speak about their experiences,” said NCCM.
“The Quebec Mosque shooting, the public reaction to the government motion M103, and the religious accommodation and prayer debate at the Peel District School board, have all contributed to the recent wave of conversations about where Muslims fit in Canada.”
“For young Muslim Canadians trying to understand and build their own Muslim identity, the debates, negative imagery, and news stories don’t go unnoticed. As one student put it “When anything bad happens in the world the first thing I think is ‘please God don’t let it be a Muslim’. “
NCCM added, “We rarely hear these student voices. In the case of the Peel District School board debate, we found that we were hearing a lot from parents, teachers, school board trustees, and politicians, but not so much from the students themselves.”
“We thought it important to provide Muslim students a space to debrief with their peers and provide feedback on what their schools are doing well, and where there is a need for improvement.”
NCCM’s report provides a snapshot of those voices.