Looking down from the podium into the sea of parents’ faces as I gave a talk for Understanding Islam Academy on Ontario’s new Sex Ed. Curriculum, I was struck by the simultaneous diversity and unity of the audience. Diverse in background—some parents came wearing kurtas, while others were visibly Arab, from Somalia, Turkish or reverts to Islam—one factor unified this crowd: genuine care and concern for our children.
What came to mind at this moment were Allah’s (swt) words in… the Quran when He says, “it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know. [2:216]”
As a community, we certainly dislike the new curriculum that plans to teach early grades about age-inappropriate topics like masturbation, anal intercourse, oral sex, vaginal lubrication, and the idea that being male or female is merely a “social construct”. However, one notably, positive side effect came out of the way that we handled the Liberal Party’s announcement of the new curriculum: we worked together.
That is, in a matter of speaking, the new curriculum unified various organizations and sub-communities within the Muslim community in the GTA. Not only did the community come together to discuss the situation For Understanding Islam Academy as I mentioned earlier, but also at Anatolia Islamic Center, ISNA, Olive Grove, Maple Grove, Muslim Women, Islamic Society of Peel, and numerous other venues at which I also gave presentations on the subject as the Principal of Maingate Academy. At each forum, representatives from various factions of the community presented their thoughts and worked with the audience to come up with concrete steps forward. We exchanged ideas, formed alliances, and built networks.
In fact, the new Sex Ed curriculum helped us fulfill Allah’s commandment in the Quran to, “hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers [3:103]”.
As Allah reminds us to be thankful for our unity, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to form new networks through our community’s response to the new curriculum. I believe that these networks will not only benefit our school but also the community at large. We can now utilize these new alliances for causes past the Sex Ed curriculum, such as Islamophobia and Bill C-51 and plan strategic responses that harness the talents of diverse individuals and organizations throughout the Muslim community in the GTA.
– Farrah Marfatia, Principal of Maingate Academy