NCCM welcomes court decision to uphold ruling on discrimination by Calgary School

Former Webber Academy students “very pleased” by Alberta Court decision

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – August 17, 2015) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties & advocacy organization, welcomes the decision by an Alberta court to dismiss the appeal of a Calgary private school which had been found to have discriminated against two Canadian Muslim students.

In a decision released August 10th and reported this week, Justice Glen Poelman of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the Alberta Human Rights tribunal was correct in its finding that the private school could have reasonably accommodated the students’ request to perform their Islamic worship but chose not to do so. The Court found that “the tribunal applied well-established principles of law. For many years, public and private schools have been required to adhere to human rights legislation in offering their educational services to the public.”

“We welcome this decision as an affirmation of reasonable accommodation principles,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“By discriminating against two students who merely sought to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs quietly and without causing undue hardship, the school ignored its responsibility to provide reasonable accommodation. Educational institutions must be a welcoming place for all students by respecting their human rights and dignity and by fostering an inclusive and safe atmosphere.”

“We are very pleased by the Court’s ruling in this matter. We never sought better or preferential treatment in relation to any other member of the Webber Academy community; we merely sought to have our sincerely held religious beliefs respected. With this ruling, we are satisfied that Webber Academy will treat the religious beliefs of Muslim students with the same regard and accommodation that they already afford to other students of faith or of no faith – not any more nor any less,” said Sarmad Amir and Naman Siddique, the two former Webber students.

The NCCM presents workshops and publishes guides on issues of diversity and accommodation. To view the NCCM’s Guide for Educators, click here.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.