July 18, 2011
Margaret Atwood warned us that North America would turn into a theocracy—and she was right!
Funny, though: She hasn’t said much about that lately, now that The Handmaid’s Tale is being acted out in a public school, here in her very own city of Toronto.
I don’t mean the kids are staging her anti-theocratic novel as a play. In fact, I’m guessing Valley Park Middle School has quietly removed it from the “required reading” list.
And why not? After all, they’ve already turned the cafeteria into a mosque.
Since November 2008—with the, er, blessing of the Toronto District School Board—Muslim prayers have been matter-of-factly conducted within an Ontario public school’s walls every Friday afternoon. Which is against the law.
For more than two years, the father of one of the school’s few non-Muslim students complained about this to the newspapers. Naturally, they ignored him. Then two weeks ago, somebody published his story. Now pretty much everyone in Canada is buzzing about that Toronto public-school “mosqueteria.”
The “somebody” who finally listened is a lowly blogger whose nom de Web is “Blazing Cat Fur” and who happens to be my husband.
On June 30, “Fur” posted an email he’d received from a regular reader, which read in part:
Every Friday my daughter’s school cafeteria changes into a mosque as dozens of Muslim boys and their imams (Islamic preachers) lead Islamic ritual prayers and no one else can even walk through the cafeteria.
My husband duly tracked down some school council meeting minutes dated November 24, 2008, that confirmed everything.
You see, letting Valley Park’s Muslim students leave for Friday afternoon prayers (!?) was proving to be too…disruptive. Jeepers, some of them even played hooky and didn’t go to the mosque like they were supposed to. So since they’d let Muhammad go to the Valley, as it were, those pesky boys and girls couldn’t skip prayers anymore.
Unless those girls have their periods.
As they might say on The Simpsons, the Toronto District School Board turned into the Taliban so slowly, I hardly noticed. Apparently, neither did Theocracy Finder General Margaret Atwood. (I guess she’s been too busy campaigning—unsuccessfully—to keep the country’s first “conservative” TV network off the air.)
Hell, even the Toronto District School Board didn’t notice, or else it would have been forced to charge itself with violating its own policy against “gender-based discrimination.”
My husband’s blog has a funny name, but because he breaks stories such as this one, it’s a daily read for some Canadian politicians and pundits. Suddenly, every major newspaper and call-in talk show in the country jumped on the story and ran with it.