A Toronto private school is being sued by a Muslim student for defamation, as a result of the school’s response to a fight in which racial slurs were made against the student:
A private French school run by a former Liberal MP defamed a 15-year-old student during an assembly and did not treat alleged racial slurs made against him seriously because he is Muslim, a lawsuit alleges.
Omar Elgammal is suing the Toronto French School, headmaster John Godfrey – who was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 – and principal Heidi Gollert over alleged remarks at a school assembly denouncing the teen after a fight apparently sparked by racial slurs.
In the defamation lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court, Elgammal alleges that on Oct. 23, 2008, a student from another private school was at Toronto French School and insulted Elgammal.
The student “seized” upon Elgammal’s Muslim heritage, calling his father “bin Laden,” calling them terrorists and saying, “What are you guys going to do, call out, `Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah?” Elgammal alleges. (Read more)
The Canadian government has decided not to pursue legislation that would have forced niqab-wearing women to show their faces when voting in Canadian elections:
The federal government has no plans to move forward with proposed legislation to force veiled women to show their faces when voting, the minister of state for democratic reform said Thursday.
“We have other priorities as far as increasing voter participation and with the expanded voting opportunities legislation,” Steven Fletcher said in an interview.
“And that is our focus. That obviously will affect a lot more people.”
Dmitri Soudas, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, confirmed the government still supports the idea of forcing voters to reveal their faces, but said the bill doesn’t have opposition support.
“The bottom line is even if we were to proceed with legislation, it would be voted down immediately,” Soudas said. (Read more)
More on Adil Charkaoui’s cross-Canada speaking tour, this time from Vancouver:
“The purpose of this Canadian tour is simple,” said Charkaoui at a news conference this morning. “I want to talk directly to Canadians, to show them that I was treated unfairly by their government, by our government.”
Charkaoui arrived in Canada from Morocco as a permanent resident with his mother, father and sister in 1995. On May 21, 2003, he was arrested after the federal government signed a security certificate against him, and later accused him of being a threat to national security. Charkaoui was jailed for 21 months and released under the strict conditions of a security certificate in 2005. Today, he wears a GPS tracking device and must alert the Canadian Border Services Agency 48 hours before leaving the island of Montreal. As well, he is not allowed to associate with anyone with a criminal record or use the Internet outside of his home.
“Never has the federal government been able to prove the so called ‘reasonable character’ of the security certificate issued against him,” said Fernand Dechamps, who travelled to Vancouver with Charkaoui. (Read more)
The Ottawa Citizen reflects on a Canadian magazine’s portrayal of Jordan’s Queen Rania:
As it happens, Queen Rania does have very strong ideas about Jordan and its place in the world, although you’d never know it from that Hello Canada article. On her dedicated YouTube channel, you can hear her speak in a intelligent way about the education of girls, for example.
She’s at her most inspiring when she’s talking about the need to eliminate the suspicion and mistrust between the West and the Arab world.
And, as much as I hate to admit it, her personality is her most powerful tool in that project. She’s a high-profile Muslim woman who wears jeans and lets her long hair hang loose and uncovered because that’s her choice. She talks about her relationship with her husband as an equal partnership. She is Queen, and she calls that a “mandate” and takes it seriously, especially given the state of the Middle East. “We live in a tough neighbourhood,” she told Hello Canada. (Read more)