Peel District School Board terminates school council chair for Islamophobic tweet

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Peel District School Board (PDSB) has launched an investigation and has removed one of its school council chairs after he posted an Islamophobic tweet in response to the city of Brampton's decision allowing mosques to broadcast the call to prayer.

On April 30, 2020, Mayor Patrick Brown took to Twitter to say, "Our noise by-law originally passed in 1984 only included an exemption for Church bells. It will now include all faiths within the permitted hours and decibel levels. The Muslim community can proceed with the sunset azan because it’s 2020 and we treat all faiths equally."

Mississauga—also located in Peel—recently made waves when it decided to follow in Brampton’s footsteps and waive its own noise bylaw to allow mosques to broadcast a call to prayer once a day until the end of Ramadan.

In response to this tweet, a user by the name of Ravi Hooda, replied, "What's next? Separate lanes for camel and goat riders, allowing slaughter of animals at home in the name of sacrifice, bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the piece fools for votes."

While Hooda's Twitter profile identities him as a "professional realtor, immigration consultant" and "community volunteer," he was also an executive school council member for the Macville Public School in Bolton, according to the Peel District School Board.

On May 5, 2020, PDSB confirmed via Twitter than Hooda was in fact being removed from his role as school council chair.

"Islamophobia is not acceptable and a clear violation of our Safe and Accepting Schools Policy," said the tweet.

Macville Public School's principal, Robin Perri, released a letter to the school's families regarding the incident.

"Today, we were made aware of a disturbing, Islamophobic tweet that was written and shared by a member of our parent community. We immediately conducted an investigation into the matter," said Perri in the letter. 

"Please know that this individual's views in no way reflect the values of the Macville Public School community, nor those of the Peel board. Comments like these are upsetting and hurtful, and never acceptable."

This follows a review into racism within the school board, particularly on anti-Black racism.

Back in March, Education Minister, Stephen Lecce said, "The accounts of systemic racism and discrimination documented in the report are deeply troubling and will not be tolerated."

"Students and the community have demanded change and I want to assure them that we will monitor Board implementation of the directions and hold them to account to deliver transformational change that will put every student on a path to success," he said in the statement.   

RE/MAX Canada also chimed in via Twitter to address the tweet posted by Hooda.

"RE/MAX firmly believes that one of Brampton's and Canada's best qualities is our multiculturalism and diversity. Rest assured that RE/MAX does not support these opinions and we are addressing this matter," they said in the tweet.

Additionally, in a conference today (May 6), Mayor Patrick Brown addressed the issue when asked and told reporters that Brampton "is a mosaic of faith." 

"We believe in religious freedom and treating all faiths equally. Under the law, there should be no single exemption for one faith and I'm glad that we're in the process of updating our 1984 noise by-law to make sure that it is equal to all faiths," said Brown.

"There are consequences for preaching hate. That's not who we are in Canada, that's not who we are in Brampton or an inclusive country in an inclusive community," he concluded.

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