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Muslims question imams' prayer sessions

Aug. 9, 2011 at 11:42 AM

TORONTO, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A group of Muslims, Jews and Hindus in Toronto have joined to question what imams are teaching students in prayer sessions held in public schools.

A group of about 300 people demonstrated Monday night outside the offices of the Toronto District School Board to protest a policy that allows imams to conduct 40-minute prayer services for Muslim youth on Fridays from November through March, the Toronto Sun reported.

Sohail Raza, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, was one of the most outspoken in her opposition to the board allowing for private prayer services in public schools.

She said parents of children of all faiths weren't clear on what was being taught.

"Who are these imams and what are their qualifications?" Raza said. "I am extremely concerned about what they are teaching our kids."

Little was known about the imams' teachings so far, except that boys and girls were segregated, the Sun said.

Ron Banerjee of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy told the Sun public schools shouldn't be used for religious instruction.

"We will continue picketing until this practice stops," he said.

Meyer Weinstein of the Jewish Defense League told the Sun extremists could easily exploit in-school religious teaching.

"We don't want radical Islam gaining a foothold in our schools," he said.

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