An Islamic school in Toronto is under police investigation after one of its Sunday school texts drew a comparison between Judaism and Nazism and accused “treacherous” Jews of conspiring to assassinate the Prophet Mohammed.
The East End Madrassah, which holds classes in a Scarborough public school, apologized for the offending statements, removed them from its website and promised to review its teaching material. However, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre says the school must go a step further and open up its curriculum to investigation by outside organizations and the local Education Ministry.
“It needs to go much further than an apology and removal from their website,” said Avi Benlolo, president of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “In order to regain public trust, they need to convince us the problem is not systematic and institutionalized.”
The anti-Semitic statements appear in a text that discusses Islamic theology and history. A section titled “The Purpose of Jihad” says that the beliefs of ancient Romans, Jews and Nazis are “restricted to a certain community of a certain race.” A following passage then alleges that the Jewish population of Medina tried to “stamp out Islam.”
The curriculum also includes sections in which it tells boys that they should exercise so they are “ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it.”
Texts also defend violent jihad saying that, “any wise, humanitarian person accepts such a combat and admires it because there is no other way to achieve the sacred ends of the Prophets.”
David Spiro, Greater Toronto co-chair of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, condemned the text, calling the accusation that Jews wanted to kill Mohammad a “horrific conspiracy theory” and “blood libel.”
The Toronto District School Board said in a statement it was cooperating with police and would “take appropriate action pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
“Yes, I can confirm for you that a complaint has been made and our Hate Crimes Unit is investigating,” Acting Sergeant Rebecca Boyd, a York Region Police spokeswoman, told the National Post on Monday. “However, they are in the early stages of the investigation.”
“To think that this is happening right here in Canada, in our backyards, in our own country where we promote tolerance, diversity, understanding, human rights, and bringing those types of concepts over the from the ancient world if you will, its just unbelievable,” said Mr. Benlolo added.