School board cancels former ISIS sex slave Nadia Murad's event to avoid 'offending Muslims'

Nadia Murad was going to meet students from the Toronto District School Board to discuss her traumatic memoir on life as a captive ISIS sex slave

                            School board cancels former ISIS sex slave Nadia Murad's event to avoid 'offending Muslims'
Nadia Murad at the 71st Bambi Awards on November 21, 2019 in Baden-Baden, Germany (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

A school board in Canada has canceled an event with ISIS survivor Nadia Murad because it believed her story would offend Muslims as well as promote “Islamophobia”. Murad was going to meet the students from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in February 2022 to discuss her book ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State’.

The book details the struggles Murad faced when she along with thousands of other Yazidi girls were forced into the ISIS sex slave trade. But eventually, she managed to escape and found shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim before reaching safety. The 28-year-old is currently living in Germany and is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She is also the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and a UN Goodwill Ambassador.


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However, months before the event, the superintendent of the school board, Helen Fisher, said her students would not attend it. Fisher has apologized for her stance but also made it clear that no student would participate in it. Explaining her reasons, she said she believes Murad’s book would “promote Islamophobia” and would also hurt the sentiments of her Muslim students.

Nadia Murad speaks onstage at the 10th Annual DVF Awards at Brooklyn Museum on April 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for DVF Awards)

But a TDSB parent Tanya Lee, who is also the founder of the book club — A Room Of Your Own Book Club — has objected to Fisher’s decision. Lee has sent an email to the superintendent in which she said, “This is what the Islamic State means. It is a terrorist organization. It has nothing to do with ordinary Muslims. The Toronto school board should be aware of the difference.”

After receiving the mail, Fisher reportedly sent Lee a copy of the school board's policy on choosing fair, culturally-relevant reading materials for students. But a spokesperson for the school board said there’s a “misunderstanding”. “The equity department does not review and approve books for book clubs,” they claimed.

Later, TDSB released a statement noting that they “wanted to provide some clarification”. The statement read, “An opinion that did not reflect the position of the Toronto District School Board was shared with the organizer of the book club prior to staff having an opportunity to read the books - something that is routinely done before giving them to students,” and added that “staff are currently reading'” and they “sincerely apologizes to Ms Murad (who) has powerful stories to tell” that would really help the students in learning.

Lee, who started the book club for teen girls aged 13 to 18 to hear from female authors, said: “The book club event for A Room Of Your Own Book Club with Nadia Murad will go ahead across Canada in February. The TDSB has not committed to letting their students attend. This is unfortunate for all involved. A great loss to the students, community, and educators at the TDSB.”

Co-laureate of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nadia Murad gives her lecture after accepting her award during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony 2018 at Oslo City Town Hall on December 10, 2018 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Erik Valestrand/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a lot of people have expressed their frustration over the cancellation of the event. A user wrote, “Victims’ voices should never be silenced. An Oppressor can belong to any identifiable group or religion. Teach students not to stereotype large groups based on the unacceptable actions of a few.” Another one tweeted, “Kids should know the truth. Barring them to learn right things would give opportunity for false propaganda to prevail. This is how radicals & ISIS like outfits have brainwashed many kids & youths. Let students know the truth. Prohibiting the truth is a greater lie.” “So, if one is Muslim, it's ok to rape and pillage?  Is that an accurate take on the behavior and thinking of the Toronto District School Board? This explains a lot of what's wrong in Western Europe and North America,” the third one added.




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