I can be something of a cynical man when it comes to the actions of the politically correct. I rarely find myself surprised by the self-righteous absurdities carried out by the woke. My expectations are low and the world of the hyper-liberal elites live up to them.
I still found myself utterly shocked upon hearing that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) pulled its support from a book club event hosting Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad. The myopic insensitivity of this move is nothing short of astounding.
Let me begin by explaining a little about the book club itself.
Toronto-based mother Tanya Lee founded the A Room of Your Own book club to offer teen girls living in poverty a safe place where they could share and discuss inspirational literature. As a person of colour and sexual assault survivor, Lee understood the challenges faced by young, urban women living in poverty. Lee found books to be a positive escape for her and wanted to share that resource with girls facing similar challenges.
Inspirational female authors were sought out and brought in to interact with club members at monthly meetings. It is hard to imagine a better way to expose troubled teens to positive role models.
Nadia Murad was scheduled to do a sit-down event with the book club this coming February to discuss her book titled, ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State.”
Murad’s book details the horrific experiences she suffered as a young Yazidi woman in Iraq. Murad’s family was executed by the ISIS and she was taken hostage as a teenager. She was held as a slave in Mosul where she was tortured and repeatedly raped. Murad managed to escape and eventually settled as a refugee in Germany.
Despite these unimaginable challenges, Murad demonstrated incredible courage and strength. She became an effective advocate against human trafficking and helped bring the horrors of the Yazidi genocide into the world’s focus. She was named as the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking by the U.N. and she ultimately won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.
Can you imagine a more inspirational person for teenage women to meet?
Well, the TDSB felt Murad should not be speaking to Toronto teens as it would promote “Islamophobia.”
Murad’s abuse was at the hands of the ISIS. Not Islam or the general Muslim population. It is indeed important to distinguish the difference between a ruthless, fundamentalist organization and an entire faith.
One has to wonder then if the TDSB doesn’t know the difference between a terrorist organization such as the ISIS and the religion followed by a large segment of society, or if they just feel the girls at the book club would be too stupid to figure out the difference. Either scenario doesn’t reflect well on the TDSB.
What better way could there be for confused and curious young women to inquire about Islam versus the actions of some of its more extreme adherents than to be able to ask somebody like Murad? Murad herself has never condemned Islam itself. She is more aware than anybody that the ISIS is not representative of the faith in general. The TDSB would rob these young women of this opportunity for enlightenment.
The TDSB’s snub of Murad comes on the heels of their controversial opposition to a presentation by lawyer and author Marie Henein to the same book club. Henein is an accomplished female lawyer who again, presents an ideal role model for young students.
If Murad and Henein are inappropriate role models for young women in the eyes of the TDSB, then who is? I fear the answer to that question actually, as the TDSB may manage to sink low enough to shock me again.
The judgment of the TDSB in these matters is seriously questionable. Just how ideologically driven are the members of this board? The issue can’t be taken lightly considering the board represents nearly 250,000 students.
Literacy and critical thought are essential elements in education. The service being provided by Lee’s book club provides an immeasurable opportunity for young, impoverished women to learn the importance of books along with the inspirational authors behind them. How incredibly disconnected from their mandate of educating children must the members of the TDSB be if they could think of opposing the work of this club?
The bizarre world of the woke is no longer harmless when it can block students from exposure to some of the most successful and inspirational role models in the country. What odd and insular world will students be exposed to under the tutelage of these crazed arbiters of equity?
Stories on the ridiculous actions of extreme political correctness used to be a laughable novelty. Now, these actions are becoming harmful and the people in authority pushing this deranged ideology must be called out and removed from their positions. Our students deserve better.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.