Here’s the thing: why come and live in a Western country when it is the sharia you wish to live under? Why attend Western universities when you want to live under a backwards, culturally deprived, and misogynistic system of governance?
A Muslim student at York University has refused to course work with women in a study group for “religious reasons” and has “sparked a human rights tug-of-war between a professor and campus administration.”
This is not complicated. He should be told to bug off. Instead, he has “sparked” a debate. Worse still, he was granted permission to flout his Islamic misogyny.
What’s really interesting is that this is framed as a human rights issue — not for women, mind you (they have no such equal rights under Islam) — but a human rights issue for Muslim supremacists. Oxymoronical. It proves yet again how ridiculous, subjective and dangerous these easily manipulated “human rights councils” are. The “Centre for Human Rights weighed in on the side of sharia advocacy….”the OHRC does require accommodations based on religious observances.”
Off topic but related, York police strong armed and threatened a Rabbi into canceling a talk I was giving at the Chabad synagogue. York has submitted to sharia oppression, Jew-hatred and misogyny.
A York University student who refused to work with women for religious reasons has sparked a human rights tug-of-war between a professor and campus administration.
GLENN LOWSON / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
A York University student has sparked a brouhaha after he was granted permission to be excused from some course work because he did not want to work with women for religious reasons.
A York University student who refused to do group work with women for religious reasons has sparked a human rights tug-of-war between a professor and campus administration.
While the professor wanted to deny the student’s request, a university dean ordered him to comply.
Professor Paul Grayson is now blowing the whistle on what he sees as a hierarchy of freedoms at York — religious rights trumping women’s rights.
“In order to meet an instance of a religious requirement we have tacitly accepted a negative definition of females,” Grayson told the Star. “That’s not acceptable.”
The brouhaha began in September when a student in an online sociology class emailed Grayson about the class’s only in-person requirement: a student-run focus group.
“One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs,” the student wrote. “It will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.”
While Grayson’s gut reaction was to deny the request, he forwarded the email to the faculty’s dean and the director for the centre for human rights.
Their response shocked him; the student’s request was permitted.
The reasoning was apparently that students studying abroad in the same online class were given accommodations, and allowed to complete an alternative assignment.
“I think Mr. X must be accommodated in exactly the same way as the distant student has been,” the vice dean wrote to Grayson.
The professor argues that is not a valid comparison — there is a major difference between accommodating someone who can’t physically meet class members versus someone who refuses to interact with women, he says.
Grayson’s reply was scathing.
“York is a secular university. It is not a Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or Moslem university. In our policy documents and (hopefully) in our classes we cling to the secular idea that all should be treated equally, independent of, for example, their religion or sex or race.
“Treating Mr. X equally would mean that, like other students, he is expected to interact with female students in his group.”
A university provost, speaking on behalf of the dean, said the decision to grant the student’s request was made after consulting legal counsel, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the university’s human rights centre.
“Students often select online courses to help them navigate all types of personal circumstances that make it difficult for them to attend classes on campus, and all students in the class would normally have access to whatever alternative grading scheme had been put in place as a result of the online format,” said Rhonda Lenton, provost and vice president academic.
The director of the Centre for Human Rights also weighed in on the decision in an email to Grayson.
“While I fully share your initial impression, the OHRC does require accommodations based on religious observances.”
The professor argued that if a Christian student refused to interact with a black student, as one could argue with a skewed interpretation of the Bible, the university would undoubtedly reject the request.
“I see no difference in this situation,” Grayson wrote.
The student’s religious identity is unclear because human rights rules bar a professor from asking a student their religion. However, based on the student’s name, Grayson surmised that he is either an Orthodox Jew or Muslim.
Jewish and Muslim scholars from York told Grayson that neither religion instructs a man to avoid interacting with women in public.
“Unless he is asked to be physical with a female student, which I assume he isn’t, there is absolutely no justification for not interacting with females in public space,” an Islamic scholar wrote to the professor.
The professor took the dean’s ruling to a department meeting. Other professors agreed with Grayson and passed a motion refusing any student accommodations if they marginalize a student, faculty member or teaching assistant.
The following day, Grayson used this justification to reject the student’s request.
The professor insisted that the student at the centre of the controversy is not a zealot. In fact, he later agreed to work with his assigned group, many of whom were women.
“I cannot expect that everything will perfectly suit what I would consider an ideal situation,” the student wrote. “I will respect the final decision, and do my best to accommodate it. I thank you for the way you have handled this request, and I look forward to continuing in this course.”
Regardless, Grayson may face consequences for defying the dean’s decision and creating a new departmental policy to justify his stance.
“My union has told me that under the circumstances I could be subject to disciplinary measures,” Grayson said.
He doubts that will happen.
“It would open such a can of worms for the university trying to sanction someone from, basically, expressing them self.”
The university did not answer the Star’s questions as to whether Grayson will be reprimanded.
The incident is the latest clash between religious values and Ontario’s secular education system.
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