Turkey- Toronto Muslim school reopens after safety fears| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 24 January 2022 01:27 GMT

Turkey- Toronto Muslim school reopens after safety fears

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) A Toronto-area Muslim elementary school reopened Wednesday after being closed for classes due to safety concerns for staff and students.

The school is run by the same organization Al Huda Institute that operates a similar school in Pakistan where one of the killers who took part in a mass shooting in California last week attended classes.

The school condemned the attack by Tashfeen Malik and her husband that took 14 lives and wounded 21.

But the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported earlier that four young women who attended classes at the Toronto area school had traveled overseas to join Daesh sometime in 2014.

The school saying staff and students were “at risk of backlash” closed Tuesday after the CBC story was broadcast nationally on television and the news organization’s website.

But the school confirmed to Anadolu Agency that it had reopened to its 160 students.

The CBC said the four teenage girls took evening and weekend seminars at the school located in Mississauga Ontario near Toronto. Three were intercepted in Turkey and returned to their families in Canada.

Imran Haq the school’s operation manager told the CBC that Al Huda Institute Canada has never been approached by authorities about the teens.

“Al Huda Institute Canada would like to be clear that law enforcement authorities have never brought forward any allegations that the four girls associated with the institute traveled to join terrorist organizations” he said. “The institute has no knowledge as to the identity of these individuals and as such cannot confirm whether or not they were enrolled in the institution for how long or any other related information.”

The institute has been criticized however for favoring a very conservative brand of Islam.

“Religious conservatism in one thing” Haq told the CTV television network. “You have people who are conservative in all faiths. Extremism is something completely separate and there is absolutely no strain of that here.”

The women-only institute operates schools in several countries and was founded by Farhat Hashmi a Pakistani who lived in Canada but left and has not resided there for “many years” Haq said.

Haq also said the Canadian Al Huda Institute is not closely affiliated with the Pakistan school that Malik attended.

“We don’t have a very strong formal link with Al Huda Pakistan” he told CTV. “We are a religious operation within Canada and we are very much a part of that fabric and we feel like that except that when you see stuff like this in light of recent events we start to get a little worried.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Education declined comment.

“We do understand that this matter is currently under investigation by the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and as such it would be inappropriate to comment on any specifics” a ministry spokesperson said.

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