Toronto board says students can now read Henein's memoir, but still reviewing Yazidi survivor's book


The TDSB has condemned the club’s incident with Marie Henein and said that Nadia Murad’s book, which was stolen by Islamic State militants, promotes Islamaphobia.

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Two weeks later the Toronto District School Board ruled that students should not be allowed to go to a book club where they have a lawyer, Marie Henein, and are now allowed to read her book.

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“I am very excited for the students to take part,” Lee said Thursday. “The book club is always about students and I know all students will love it.”

Lee said he hopes to hold a second event with Henein in January when students can enter the country and study law from Canadian lawyers. The school board said it should discuss with Lee, but students were allowed to attend.

“It’s going to be an amazing event,” Lee said.

The National Post reached school boards and trustees in London and Owen Sound districts to comment on the decision to allow students there to attend the Henein course last week; did not respond with comment time.

Lee has been running A Room of Your Own club for almost four years, a club that distributes books to young girls, often from low-income families, and then conducts book events, often teachers running a local club.

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“They just talk about the book and they have a long time to talk about it,” Lee said. “I usually choose books that feature well-known women who are talented and culturally diverse.”

Henein’s book story sparked controversy two weeks ago, with The Globe and Mail claiming Lee was told students could not read the book because he had defended CBC star Jian Ghomeshi in rape cases in 2016.

“He told me plainly ‘no’ because (Henein) backed Jian Ghomeshi and how do you explain this to girls,” Lee told The Globe.

Lee says he has never done anything with the school board to be a book – or a club event – in the past.

The council, however, said it was not the reason students failed to attend the event.

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“The idea that did not reflect the position of the Toronto District School Board was shared by the book club organizer before he had the opportunity to read the revised material — something that is usually done before giving it to students,” the school said. bodi said.

Lee said such an assessment had never taken place, according to his knowledge.

“I have been running clubs with TDSB, as well as their students, for four years, and this was the first time this has happened,” Lee said. “They usually read the material while the girls are reading it, while the students are reading.”

In February, students at a book club will have the opportunity to hear from Nadia Murad, a Yazidi of Iraq who was captured by Islamic State militants in 2014. She is the author of the memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight. Against the Islamic State, and the founder of Nadia’s Initiative, which promotes survivors of sexual violence, and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

Lee said he was initially told by the Toronto District School Board that Murad’s book could be seen as promoting Islamophobia.

The incident will continue, Lee said. He is anticipating a global event, and says he would like the Parliament Library to do this – but Murad’s book is still under consideration by the TDSB.

“The (Murad’s) book is still being read and we hope to receive it soon,” wrote Bird.

The Post reached out to Nadia’s Initiative, seeking an interview with Murad, but never heard from him again.


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