Ontario government commits $300,000 to combat Islamophobia in schools

The Ontario government announced on Tuesday that the province will partner with community organizations to invest “in a plan to counter Islamophobia and ensure classrooms are free from discrimination.”

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Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that the Ontario government will provide funding “for initiatives to support Muslim students and families” that will focus on “enhancing resources and training for educators, targeted supports for students, and digital resources for parents.”

The Ontario government says that according to Statistics Canada, “hate crimes have been on the rise in Canada, with a nine per cent increase in anti-Muslim attacks in 2019, when compared to the previous year.”

The government says that “Tragic and disturbing reports and incidents across Canada and the world over the past years underscore the need for action.”

Minister Stephen Lecce added that “It is unacceptable that many Muslim students continue to face discrimination in our schools, on our playgrounds and in communities across this country,”

“That is why we are investing and partnering with community leaders — who are leading this effort— to counter racism and better support Ontario’s Muslim students and their families. For Premier Ford, Minister Rasheed and myself, we believe in our core that every student deserves to feel safe, respected, and engaged in learning in inclusive classrooms.”

The announcement states that “as part of the Safe Return to Class fund, Ontario’s government is providing $225,000 to the Muslim Association of Canada to create digital resources for educators, students and parents to raise awareness about Islamophobia.”

“These resources will provide information about Islamic practices, values and misconceptions, root causes of Islamophobia and ways to help end Islamophobia, racism and discrimination.”

The additional $75,000 will be provided to the National Council of Canadian Muslims. The funds will be used to facilitate outreach and engagement with Muslimparents and families with a focus on newcomer communities, the Ontario government announced.

Adding that, “These engagements will provide information on school supports and will provide culturally relevant resources to enhance well-being for families and help Muslim students prepare for the return to school in September.”

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