LGBTQ+ – Education OR Confusion in Public School System
Imam Syed Soharwardy
Founder & Chairman, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada
So far, most Muslims in Canada and the US have been silent on the LGBTQ issue. This year for the first time during Pride Month a few Muslim organizations have taken out protest rallies against the changes in the public education system regarding LGBTQ awareness. Although Islam does not condone same-sex relationships, however, Islam does not allow inciting hate violence discrimination against anyone due to his/her beliefs or lifestyle.
The concerns among Canadian Muslims regarding LGBTQ are not due to the celebration of Pride Month OR the Pride parade, it is basically about teaching children in the public education system same-sex relationships and teaching kids as young as six to eight years old to decide their gender. A six-to-eight-year-old child does not understand these things. Moreover, the government’s infringement on the rights of parents is very concerning. In Canadian law, the parents who are responsible for bringing a child into this world are not only on the hook to provide the necessities of life to their child until adulthood, but parents are responsible for the well-being of their child in a safe healthy environment. Parents are responsible to pay all the expenses until the child becomes an adult. Recently, a mother was held responsible in the US for the shooting her underage son carried out in school. On the other side, it is so irrational that parents have no right to educate their children the way they want to. Will the government impose a Christian way of life OR an Islamic way of life OR a Jewish way of life on every student in the public education system? The answer is, No and shouldn’t be. Then why LGBTQ way of life is being imposed in our education system? At least it feels like this.
Some people argue that Islamic Heritage Month is celebrated in schools. Ramadan and Eid occasions are discussed in classrooms. Why LGBTQ lifestyle cannot be discussed in a classroom? This is not a fair comparison. During Ramadan and Eid or Islamic Heritage Month, teachers discuss what is Ramadan. How Ramadan and Eid are celebrated. The discussions are all about a “Canadian group of people (Muslims)” who celebrate “something” (Ramadan) that other Canadians don’t. There is no emphasis and shouldn’t be to inspire students to adopt the Islamic way of life. However, when the discussion about LGBTQ takes place in the classroom, the teachers try to convince students that LGBTQ is a lifestyle that belongs to mainstream Canadian society and efforts are exerted to convince students (underage children) that it’s okay to be confused about your gender and you can choose your gender the way you feel. A six- or eight-year-old child cannot buy cigarettes, cannot consume alcoholic beverages, cannot have sex, cannot drive a vehicle because Canadians and Canadian law know that at such a small age a child cannot make a rational decision. But a six- or eight-year-old child born as a girl or boy is expected to decide the gender, he/she wants to choose. Does this make sense?
I have no problem hoisting LGBTQ flags at schools and at corporation offices during pride month. However, Muslims and other Canadian minorities should also have the same right too. Their flags should also be hoisted at corporations and at schools during their heritage months. What about the equal recognition of other minorities? How about hoisting flags at schools and corporations with crucifixion during Easter and the Jewish Menorah during Hanukkah? How about an Islamic flag with a Crescent Star and Shahadah? Why not? I am not against the rainbow flag. I am asking about religious flags. This will make everybody equal.
My disagreement with LGBTQ must not be seen as hate or racism towards LGBTQ. I respect LGBTQ people and their all-human rights. However, my respect for LGBTQ should not be seen as an endorsement. My holy book, Qur’an has taught me, “My way of life is for me and your way of life is for you.” Muslims are proud Canadians and respect the diversity and multicultural mosaic of Canadian Society. The governments; federal, provincial, and municipal must not endorse one community over the other. In our school curriculum, education about all Canadian minorities should be recognized and taught equally. There is a growing perception among Canadian Muslims that the federal government is imposing an LGBTQ lifestyle on Canadians. This will not only divide Canadians but will create huge damaging misunderstandings among various Canadian religious and cultural communities. It is the federal and provincial government’s responsibility to call meetings of faith leaders, community leaders, and academics including LGBTQ leaders to discuss and develop a comprehensive roadmap for school education that is acceptable to all Canadians. Government should not be favouring one group over the other groups. Let’s treat and support all communities equally. Let’s respect the rights of all parents to raise their kids based on their beliefs and traditions. Parents must know what is being taught to their underage kids in schools. May God save Canada from all evil.
Please click this link to read the policy statement of hundreds of North American Islamic scholars.