Alors que le climat au Québec est actuellement délètère, en Ontario, on a le souci de l’étudiant(e) musulman(e). La Fédération canadienne des étudiants (FCE) publie, dans le cadre de sa campagne « No Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Racism » un rapport bien fourni intitulé « Task Force on the Needs of Muslim Students » dont l’objectif est de pallier les problèmes rencontrés par les étudiants musulmans et de combattre l’islamophobie dans les campus. Après avoir sondé un millier d’étudiants musulmans à travers 17 campus de la province de l’Ontario (Canada), la FCE propose toute une série d’aménagements en direction de ceux qui se réclament de l’islam. Ces propositions sont au nombre de 60. Du grain à moudre pour les détracteurs des « accommodements raisonnables ».
Mise en place en septembre 2006, un groupe de travail a planché pendant plusieurs semaines sur le problème de l’islamophobie dans les campus. Célia Jutras, représentante francophone de la FCE est convaincu que toutes les propositions sont tout à fait recevables ; ce qui ne doit pas laisser penser qu’il faille dire amen à tout, selon Zouheir Fawaz, responsable des affaires étudiantes à l’université Ryerson. Dans une interview à Radio Canada, ce dernier tient à rappeler, soucieux – peut-on penser – de ne pas alimenter des polémiques déjà bien vives, que « la liberté de l’un s’arrête là où celle de l’autre commence ».
En une trentaine de pages bien fournies, le document final propose soixante mesures, réparties en onze catégories, de la lutte contre l’islamophobie à l’augmentation du nombre de salles de prière, en passant par des prêts étudiants sans intérêts et des horaires aménagés et réservés aux femmes dans les gymnases. Nous les publions ci-après dans leur version anglaise.
Summary of Recommendations
Discrimination and Islamophobia
Recognise at the administrative level, the institution’s obligation to accommodate the needs of Muslim students in a way that is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Expand awareness and educational anti-racism campaigns to target Islamophobia on campus.
Encourage students who have experienced Islamphobic and racist acts to immediately register that with the appropriate campus office (security, equity services, ombuds, etc.) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Students’ unions and Muslim students’ associations should familiarise with reporting mechanisms at the institutional level and through the Ontario Human Rights Commission in order to help encourage and facilitate a culture of reporting Islamophobia and racism on campus.
Institutions and their security staff should take seriously and promptly address reports of Islamophobic incidents.
Statistics regarding the number of Islamophobic complaints and their nature should be compiled and maintained by the institution, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, students’ unions, and other relevant bodies.
Conduct a review of institutional policies that relate to discriminatory practices to ensure sufficiency in dealing with Islamophobic incidents and creating a permanently safe and welcoming environment.
Convene meetings among relevant administrators, students’ unions, Muslim Students’ Associations, faculty associations, and the campus media to recognise the collective responsibility to identify and stop Islamophobia and racism on campus.
In consultation with students, develop a institutional response to Islamophobia and a plan to streamline, and make more effective, reporting mechanisms for Islamophobic acts.
Improve and enhance institutional counseling services to properly address Muslim students’ needs by, for example, hiring Muslim chaplains, similar to those that exist for other denominations.
Implement mentorship initiatives to connect new students to students of similar faith.
Develop training modules on Islamophobia for campus security and maintenance staff. Islamophobic graffiti, for example, should not be removed until it has been properly documented by security staff.
Students’ unions, Muslim students’ associations, and campus women’s centres should promote the right of all women, especially Muslim women, to participate in their campus activities free of discrimination and misinformed stereotypes.
Follow up factual errors in media publications by letters to the editor that clearly outline the error and requests a printed retraction in the next edition.
Students should continue to critique media analysis of Islam and Muslim students via letters to their local and student newspapers.
Encourage Muslim students and faculty to write for their student or community newspapers and other communications materials.
Increase and institute recognition of religious observances on campus and in college and university policy by ensuring that information on Muslim religious observances is available to college/university administrators, faculty, academic and support staff, and students.
Send out memoranda to professors and teaching staff in advance of religious holidays and observances.
Increase flexibility for assignment due dates and exam scheduling to minimise or eliminate overlap with Friday prayer. Make provisions for alternate academic arrangements that are not more onerous than regularly scheduled assignments should be made.
Ensure that students are not penalised for missed class or lab time associated with religious observances.
Ensure clear and expedient processes for dealing with religious/academic conflict.
Islam in the Classroom
Integrate education modules on Islam and Islamophobia into training sessions for general teaching staff.
Institutional academic bodies should seek to ensure more courses offered on Islamic studies and Muslim culture.
Require academic instructors to rely resource materials for courses on Islam that are based on evidence and scholarship.
Ensure diversity within course materials. Materials discussed in the classroom should meet academic standards or be presented in the context of academic analysis.
Teaching staff should not target discussion of Islam to Muslim students in the class and Muslim students should not be made to feel that they are subject of class discussions regarding Islam.
Train teaching staff in anti-racist teaching practices and methods for identifying and responding to racism and conflict in the classroom.
Encourage Muslim graduates to consider working within academia.
Extend equity considerations in hiring to include Muslim candidates.
Promote the retention of Muslim faculty by ensuring a positive work environment.
Federal and Ontario student financial aid that is delivered through the Canada Student Loans Program and Ontario Student Assistance Program respectively should reduce reliance on a loan-based financial aid system.
Governments should reduce financial barriers for students through tuition fee protection in the form of tuition fee freezes and reductions along with targeted financial aid delivered through need-based grants.
Income contingent loan repayment and other forms of regressive financial aid schemes should be rejected by policy makers.
Education related government loans should not accumulate interest, even after graduation.
Ensure that adequate prayer space is acknowledged as a human rights issue and made available by the institution.
Develop a campus plan that involves students and ensures multiple prayer spaces across campus for easy access from all points and that new building plans account for prayer space and ablution washing facilities if necessary.
With involvement of students, conduct regular audits of the adequacy and availability of prayer space facilities including the size, convenience of locations, ablution washing facilities and separate accommodation for women.
Make prayer space audit results publicly available, especially to new students who need them in order decide where to study.
Ensure permanency, upkeep and proper location of prayer space on campus.
Conduct a food service audit with campus food services to assess kitchen facilities and food service delivery processes to determine areas of implementation and improvement of halal food provisions.
Universities should expand their food choices on campus and provide more halal options, especially in residence cafeterias and food services. Halal food should be provided at the same quality and costs as non-halal food.
Clearly identify halal options on menus and in campus food service facilities. Ensure clear labelling of halal food, and food ingredients.
Improve training of food service staff in the preparation of halal food, including training food service emlpoyees to change sanitary gloves and wash cutlery and surfaces after preparing non-halal food.
Include a requirement to provide halal food and halal practices in any new contracts with food service providers. Modify existing contracts to provide both halal food and halal
Create standard policy to allow Muslim students to bring outside food options for larger catered events, including allowances for Muslim students to bring in culturally appropriate food on Iftar and other religious holidays.
Orientation and Events
Ensure that orientation planning is open to, and reflective of, Muslim students and their organisations.
Provide inclusively training for orientation event organisers.
Include in orientation packages and summer mailouts the information necessary for Muslim students to properly access necessary campus and community services, such as local mosques, prayer room locations, Muslim Students’ Associations and central students’ unions’ contact information and opportunities to meet with Muslim students who attend college or university for mentorship and advice.
Include dry options in events and programmes, where alcohol is not served. Events in the evening can, for example, be “dry” for the first hour or so before making alcohol available.
Liaise with responsible university officials to determine decision-making structures for scheduling athletics and recreation facilities.
Conduct a student survey on athletic requirements to determine the need for gender specific hours including a use assessment of athletic facilities (i.e. identifying peak and off-peak hours, usage, etc.).
Improve access and athletic facilities for Muslim women students.
Provide women-only gym time. Provide curtains or screens over the observation windows looking into the swimming pool during women-only swim times.
Ensure that more Muslim dons are hired for campus residence, or contact information for Muslim dons at the residence complex be made available.
Provide training for residence dons and general information to residence occupants about the needs of Muslim students, especially as they pertain to alcohol.
Increase availability of halal food in residence and allow flexibility for students to prepare their own food.
Allow Muslim students to opt-out of mandatory meal plans where insufficient halal options exist.
Institute alcohol-free residences on campus.