CALGARY: Webber Academy discriminated against Muslim students, rules human rights tribunal

Private school discriminated against Muslim students, says human rights tribunal

Published on: April 16, 2015
Last Updated: April 16, 2015 6:56 PM MDT

Neil Webber, founder of Webber Academy.Stuart Gradon Stuart Gradon / Calgary Herald

A Calgary private school unlawfully discriminated against two Muslim students by refusing to allow them to pray on campus, says the province’s human rights tribunal.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission fined Webber Academy a total of $26,000 for distress and loss of dignity after the boys were forced to hide at the school or  leave the property during the city’s chilly winter to fulfill their faith’s obligations.

Neil Webber, the facility’s founder and president, said he was disappointed with the ruling released Thursday and said an appeal with Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench will be filed.

“A key pillar of our founding principles is that the school be a non-denominational environment in which children can thrive and focus on their academic success,” Webber said.

 “This remains our goal.”

Tory MP Larry Miller tells niqab-wearers at oath ceremonies to ‘stay the hell where you came from’

Tory MP tells niqab-wearers at oath ceremonies to ‘stay the hell where you came from’



Larry Miller
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
MP Larry Miller is pictured in this file photo. (JAMES MASTERS/QMI Agency)

OWEN SOUND, Ont. — A Conservative MP has apologized for telling a radio station that Muslim women who want to wear a niqab while taking the oath of citizenship should “stay the hell where you came from.”

Larry Miller, who represents the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, made the comment Monday in the wake of a Federal Court ruling that struck down a ban on face coverings during citizenship oaths.

“I think most Canadians feel the same. That’s maybe saying it a little harshly, but it’s the way I feel,” Miller told 560 CFOS AM.

“I’m so sick and tired of people wanting to come here because they know it’s a good country and then they want to change things before they even really officially become a Canadian, so I have no sympathy for her.”

Miller apologized on Tuesday, calling his comments “inappropriate.”

Tasha Kheiriddin: This isn’t about the right to choose a burka over a bikini. It’s about a country’s values

Tasha Kheiriddin: This isn’t about the right to choose a burka over a bikini. It’s about a country’s values

 | March 11, 2015 | Last Updated: Mar 12 3:56 PM ET
This week, Justin Trudeau lambasted the Conservatives for opposing the niqab — and basically accused them of being racist.

J.P. Moczulski for National PostThis week, Justin Trudeau lambasted the Conservatives for opposing the niqab — and basically accused them of being racist.

Political parties can’t be all things to all people, nor should they. Instead, they court votes based on their principles, and where they align with various constituencies. The progressive vote. The “family values” vote. The middle-class vote. The ethnic vote. The women’s vote.

It is the latter two categories that are colliding head-on in the run-up to the next federal election. At issue is a war of words over the niqab, a face veil covering all but the eyes, worn by some Muslim women as a symbol of devotion to their faith, eschewed by others as not being strictly necessary according to the rules of Islam. The niqab is banned in some countries including Turkey, Tunisia and France; in others, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, it is not legally required, but is a norm that when violated is met with ostracism and physical abuse.

Afghani Johra Kaleki guilty in attempted honour killing of her 19-year-old daughter

Kaleki stabbed her daughter in the head at the family’s Montreal-area home

CBC News Posted: Mar 10, 2015 3:07 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 10, 2015 4:10 PM ET

Johra Kaleki, 42, has been found guilty of the attempted murder of her daughter.

The incident happened in June 2010 at the family home in Dorval.

Kaleki’s daughter,  Bahar Ebrahimi , then 19 years old, had gone out with friends to a nightclub.

When she returned, after midnight, her mother attacked her with a meat cleaver.

Ibrahimi suffered serious injuries in the attack.

Kaleki had been sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation at the defence’s request but was declared fit to stand trial.

On Tuesday, Quebec Court Judge Yves Paradis concluded Kaleki was not suffering from a psychotic episode and said there is “no doubt” she intended to kill her daughter.

“It is clear Mrs. Kaleki knew not only that her actions were contrary to law but also that they were morally wrong according to the standard of the ordinary person,” Paradis wrote in his decision.

“There is no doubt that her intention was to kill the victim.”

Kaleki did not react to the guilty verdict.

She was accompanied by her husband and the victim, her daughter.

Bahar Ebrahimi left the court room as soon as the judgment was read out.

Kaleki will remain out on bail until her sentence is handed down.


More on the case

LETTER – Special Accommodation (McGill University Fitness Centre )

LETTER – Special Accommodation (McGill University Fitness Centre ),

Dear Ms. Fortier,

I am addressing you as  McGill University Alumnus.
During my time at McGill, from 1992 to 1996, I earned two law degrees.  Despite the heavy coursework, I still managed to find time to go to the gym and use the weight room, the exercise room, the squash courts and later the indoor track, once it was opened.
As a member of the Judo Club for four years, I was in the martial arts room twice weekly.  I served as a liason between the gym and the McGill Outing Club for many years.
After graduation I continued my connection with the McGill gyms as an instructor of the kayaking program, and also as an assistant instructor in the Aikido Club.
I have benefited greatly from the gym facilities and my memories and attachment to McGill Athletics and Recreation Centre are deep and strong.

I am now writing you to voice my opposition to the idea of sexually segregated hours, as is currently being proposed.  I understand that this trend is being increasingly explored at other facilities as well.   I consider the concept to be very much against the modern, liberal, socially open society that Canada represents and that McGill University should be encouraging.  I can understand the ideal of wanting to accommodate everybody, however, this ideal becomes self-defeating if you accommodate philosophies that are segregationist.
I understand that certain individuals, such as Soumia Allalou, claim that they cannot train nor benefit from the facilities because men are present.   It is of critical importance to the good of our society that a role model such as McGill University remain steadfast in pursuing liberal, inclusive and modern values.   The mindset of people such as Soumia Allalou is anathema to the ideals of a modern Western, liberal institution.  Allowing such people to impose discriminatory policies would be an explicit approval of such a retrograde mindset and would be a step backward in the cultural evolution of our society.   If Soumia Allalo and people of similar viewpoints are incapable of evolving and adapting to the most basic of modern Canadian norms and values, then they will have to find, manage and or finance their own alternative manner of exercising their preferences and their prejudice.  Such should not be tolerated nor encouraged by an institution that is supported in large part by public funds.

The message sent by McGill University and by Canada as a whole to society and to the outside world should be as follows:
All are welcome.  All may bring with them their culture and practices.  None may impose their culture upon others, nor force their bias or their beliefs upon other groups or individuals.

To approve segregated training hours of the manner proposed is tantamount to importing a prejudice against both men and women at the same time.   Such is not the nature of the McGill Community to which I belong since twenty-three years.

Yours truly,

Daniel Romano, Esq



Letter published with Mr Romano’s permission


MONTREAL: Soumia Allalou “surprised” there are no women-only hours at McGill University fitness centre

A proposal by two McGill law faculty students to have women-only hours at the downtown campus gym is causing an uproar at the Montreal university.

Soumia Allalou, a second-year McGill law student, started the proposal for women-only gym hours along with fellow student Raymond Grafton. (Photo used with permission from Soumia Allalou)

When student Soumia Allalou, 23, decided to get back into shape, she contacted the university’s gym and asked when women-only hours were. She was surprised to find that there was no such thing.

“Personally I prefer to work out in a women-only environment. I just kind of assumed they would have women-only hours. I asked them if there was a project for that in the works and they said that they didn’t think so,” said Allalou, who wears a hair covering and cites religious reasons for her preference. She took to Facebook to voice her concerns.

“I feel like there are many women who have a variety of reasons for preferring to work out in a women-only environment. Whether it’s how comfortable they are, whether they have had bad experiences at the gym in the past, whether they have less access to the machines. A lot of women tell me they feel intimidated in the weights section,” said Allalou.