A good rule of thumb is that if you notice Islamic terror, you’re the Islamophobe. Even if you’re a teenager who was taken captive and raped by ISIS.
While American school boards are under fire over wokeness, this story comes from up north and the Toronto District School Board.
For the past four years, Canada’s largest school board has partnered with Tanya Lee, a Toronto mother and entrepreneur who runs a book club for teenaged girls called A Room Of Your Own, which is rooted in her conviction that reading and open conversation can empower young women, as it did for her. Ms. Lee makes a point of targeting the club to schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, and emphasizes its inclusive, positive atmosphere.
To date, the TDSB has supported Ms. Lee’s club by distributing books to participating students, discussing them in class and allowing club members to take a day off school to attend (back when in-person meetings were still possible). But that support ended last month, when Ms. Lee was informed by Helen Fisher, a TDSB superintendent, that the board would not be promoting two of the books Ms. Lee had selected for upcoming meetings.
Those books: Marie Henein’s Nothing But the Truth: A Memoir and Nadia Murad’s The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State.
Ms. Fisher explained to Ms. Lee that the board’s equity department found the first book problematic because its author, one of Canada’s top criminal defence lawyers, had defended former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi against charges of sexual assault. Ms. Lee says Ms. Fisher also told her that Ms. Murad’s book could foster Islamophobia.
TDSB has since issued a statement apologizing and claiming that, “An opinion that did not reflect the position of the Toronto District School Board was shared with the organizer of the book club prior to staff having an opportunity to read the books – something that is routinely done before giving them to students. Staff are currently reading both books and anticipate being able to add them to the list of titles used in the corresponding course(s).”
I’m not sure whether rejecting Nadia Murad’s The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State without even reading it is an admission that makes anything here better.
What exactly was the thought process here? Or was there any thought process beyond censoring anything unfavorable to Islam?
While it’s tempting to dismiss this as a dumb isolated act by a single official, where would Fisher have come up with the idea? Maybe the New York Times book section.
“To publish “The Last Girl” right now, in the United States, means there are tricky issues of sensationalism to navigate; in a threatening climate of Islamophobia, Muslims of all kinds are vilified for the actions of one group.”
If you notice ISIS rapes, you’re an Islamophobe.