Home News Canada Peel teacher suspended for anti-Israel speech at Al-Quds rally

Peel teacher suspended for anti-Israel speech at Al-Quds rally

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B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Afffairs (CIJA) are praising the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board for suspending a teacher they say glorified terrorists and called for violence against Israelis in a speech last month at Queen’s Park.

The school board released a statement Aug. 9 announcing that Nadia Shoufani, a teacher at St. Catherine of Siena Separate School in Mississauga, has been suspended with pay pending further investigation into remarks she made at the Toronto Al-Quds Day rally July 2, and that the incident has been referred to the Ontario College of Teachers for “investigation and review.”

A spokesperson for the Ontario College of Teachers told said the college is “aware of the matter” but couldn’t comment further at this time.

Following the rally, to which both organizations sent a representative, each group filed separate complaints with Toronto police and the school board.

A Toronto police spokesperson said the matter of whether Shoufani’s comments constitute a hate crime is under “active investigation.”

“It is heartening to see the [board] do the right thing… There is no room for the glorification of terrorists and terrorism in Canadian classrooms,” Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, said in a press release.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies also issued a statement commending the school board for suspending a teacher for “anti-Israel rhetoric, including her encouragement for Palestinians to liberate ‘all Palestine’ in ‘any form possible.’”

Last month, B’nai Brith outlined some of what the Mississauga teacher said in her speech, which the group recorded and posted on YouTube, such as Shoufani praising Ghassan Kanafani and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, two men with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group the government of Canada has classified as a terrorist entity.

Shoufani, who called Kanafani a martyr, also urged the audience to “break the silence of the international community and the complicit media,” raise awareness of Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinians, support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and “urge our governments to condemn Israel’s illegal policies of administrative detention [of Palestinian prisoners].”

After B’nai Brith filed a complaint with Toronto police last month, a police spokesperson told The CJN the incident was being investigated.

READ: POLICE INVESTIGATE TEACHER’S COMMENTS AT AL-QUDS RALLY

After the rally, CIJA requested that Toronto Police add concerns about Shoufani to a complaint the organization had filed regarding another speaker at Al-Quds Day.

It also sent letters of complaint about Shoufani’s speech to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, as well as the chair and vice-chair of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the principal of St. Catherine of Siena Separate School, the school’s superintendent, a local school board trustee, provincial Education Minster Mitzie Hunter and Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Cardinal Collins.

“We heard back from the mayor’s office right away. They said they were very concerned and would be looking into the incident,” said Sara Lefton, CIJA’s Greater Toronto Area vice-president.

Crombie’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lefton said CIJA is pleased that the school board is taking the issue seriously.

“I think it’s not over. We would like to see it resolved so that [Shoufani] will not be able to transmit her toxic opinions to students,” Lefton said.

She wouldn’t comment on whether she or CIJA would like to see Shoufani fired.

B’nai Brith and other Jewish groups have unsuccessfully tried in past to have the Al-Quds Day rally banned from Queen’s Park.

International Al-Quds Day, typically celebrated after the fast month of Ramadan, was started in 1979 by former Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The day is held in across the world in solidarity with the Palestinians and in opposition to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

  • heyu1960

    so much for our rights to free speech.

    • Groucho Marx

      Would you defend a teacher who engages in homophobia and gives an homophobic speech
      from consequences of that attitude and behaviour as a classroom teacher. I doubt it.
      Free speech is a right, but it has its consequences when it comes to employment matters.
      Say anything you want, but don’t expect to be employed or maintain employment where it
      has consequences. What about free speech of a teacher in favour of terrorism against Canadians? Or spouted anti-Palestinian views? Would you tolerate the employment of a teacher who promoted those views?

  • Craig_Hubley

    “Shoufani praising Ghassan Kanafani and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, two men with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” is presumably praising them for specific actions or views.

    If just “having ties to,,, a group the government of Canada has classified as a terrorist entity” makes it impossible to praise you for anything, then, well, that’s the end of free speech indeed.

    I think Shoufani should sue if she loses any income over this. People have a right to their views. If they can’t speak them in the street they tend to speak them anonymously or silently support armed tactics, and that’s really not the better way than having it out in an open forum.

  • TerrorIsEvil

    Teachers are fired every day for much less (or not hired because they do not exhibit enough tendencies on the left). The reasons for hiring or firing are usually never given.

    I recall during the first Intifada around 1988 a teacher in the teacher’s room said that Israelis were vicious killers who must leave Israel and that all the poor Arabs were doing was throwing stones. Another supply teacher in the room defended Israel by saying that throwing stones was a typical way of killing people in the Middle East. Guess what happened next? Nothing happened to the teacher who made the comment but the supply teacher who spoke up in defense of Israel was called into the Principal’s Office and told that he would never be asked back to the school. A reverse scenario but illustrative of the way an argument over this same conflict was handled.

    I do not think that teachers or anyone else be fired for their views provided those views do not interfere with their students or if those public statements do not incite people to harm others. She is certainly demanding another Holocaust when she asks for liberation “from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea.” She is also “saying no to peace” which is another way of saying yes to killing “Zionists” whom she mentions many times over. She is full-on hatemongering about Zionists and if this woman were in my presence, I would make sure that she did not have a gun. She is a lot more violent than an IDF that must keep people like her out of their neighborhoods in Israel or risk being terrorized by the same as her.

    The teacher in question, Nadia, is obviously a hater and she keeps pushing “the right to resist” which is another way of saying that she wants violence, but did she incite violence? I have heard many like her over the years. Would I let her teach my children knowing her inherent violent beliefs? No, I would withdraw them from that school. Does the school have a right to fire her? For sure, they fire teachers every day for any reason or none.

    When a teacher or academic is in the position of power over young people, it is his/her responsibility not to bring his/her hate/anger/propaganda/beliefs into that classroom. It is also highly recommended that the teacher does not become so radicalized and antisemitic that she can no longer be objective nor rational. I think that is why she could be released – she has crossed a line – not because she has exercised her right to free speech but because she is unbalanced and biased so much that she might bring harm to certain students.