York School News

Learning About Islam and the Muslim Culture

The York School is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive community where every member can thrive as their authentic self. Since September, we’ve been supporting this goal by holding a series of assemblies that educate and empower our students to reject racism, Anti-Semitism, stereotypes, discrimination and hatred in all forms.
In recognition of International Day to Combat Islamophobia (March 15), the Middle and Senior Schools gathered to learn from speakers who generously shared their expertise and lived experience.

Students, faculty and staff were honoured to welcome distinguished guest speaker Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha. Dr. Kassim-Lakha is Chairman of the Board of the University of Central Asia (UCA) and was Founding President of the Aga Khan University (AKU). He previously served as Pakistan’s Minister of Education and Minister of Science and Technology, and was on the worldwide Board of the International Baccalaureate Organization. Dr. Kassim-Lakha is currently a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

During his engaging and informative presentation, Dr. Kassim-Lakha provided an overview of who Muslims are, the core beliefs and practices of Islam, and introduced us to some contemporary Muslims who are prominent in the fields of sports, politics, film, and advocacy.

He then went on to explain Islamophobia, its causes and signs. As with countering any hate related social phenomena, he encouraged the audience to be more discerning in accepting social media postings and be analytical in the reading of media stories. Finally, he advocated the importance of embracing the diversity of Canada's multi ethnic society by actively learning about those from different cultures and backgrounds.

Following Dr. Kassim-Lakha’s presentation, three York students gave us new insights into what it’s like to be Muslim in Canada by sharing their lived experiences. Two students, Hatem A.W. ‘27 and Armaan B.J. ‘27 , captured their thoughts and feelings in a powerful poem about The York School community: 

Old fears now give way to new understanding’s embrace,
A school where everyone belongs, creating a welcoming space. 

To progress, let's explore diverse cultures,
Learning together, breaking stereotypes, no more ruptures.

The future unfolds with possibilities bright,
A diverse community where respect takes flight.
We’d like to thank Dr. Kassim-Lakha for giving us new knowledge and insights that we will continue to build on.

About the York School

The York School is a gender-inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first English speaking school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experience Teaches.

Contact Us

Junior School (Grades JK-5) 1639 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 2W6 
Middle School (Grades 6-8) & Senior School (Grades 9-12) 1320 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2 | Tel: 416.926.1325
Mailing address: 1320 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2
Junior School: 1639attendance@yorkschool.com
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