International News Nov 27, 2021 5:50 PM EST

Toronto school cancels event with ISIS survivor over concerns it would 'foster Islamophobia'

Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Goodwill Ambassador who survived being kidnapped by ISIS, advocates for survivors of genocide and sexual violence.

Toronto school cancels event with ISIS survivor over concerns it would 'foster Islamophobia'
James Anthony Montreal QC

Canada's largest school board has cancelled a book club event with ISIS survivor Nadia Murad, citing concerns that it would "foster Islamaphobia."

Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Goodwill Ambassador who survived being kidnapped by ISIS, advocates for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She was plunged into sexual slavery when she was just a teenager and raped, tortured, and exchanged among militants in northern Iraq before escaping.

The 28-year-old was scheduled to sit down with students from some of the 600 schools that are part of the Toronto District School Board to talk about her upcoming book, The Last Girl: My Story Of Captivity, expected to be published in February 2022 that will discusses her kidnapping and ultimate escape from ISIS.

School board superintendent Helen Fisher cancelled the talk, alleging that Murad's visit would offend Muslims and "foster Islamophobia," according to the Telegraph.

"[The Islamic State] is a terrorist organization. It has nothing to do with ordinary Muslims. The Toronto school board should be aware of the difference," wrote Toronto parent Tanya Lee, an entrepreneur who runs the book club for teenage girls called "A Room Of Your Own." Lee said she sent an email to the superintendent with information about the Islamic State.

The next day, Lee said that Fisher sent a copy of the school board's policy on selecting equitable, culturally relevant, and responsive reading materials.

A school spokesperson said "there appears to have been a misunderstanding, as the equity department does not review and approve books for book clubs."

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