Svetlana Ekimenko

November 25, 2021



Thousands of Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority, were killed or enslaved when Daesh overran northern Iraq in 2014. In her memoir, Nadia Murad describes her personal ordeal. In 2018, she and Congolese pastor Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

A Canadian school has issued apologies after cancelling a book club event featuring Nadia Murad, the Nobel Prize-winner, former Daesh* sex slave, and author of “The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State,” reported the Globe and Mail.

Helen Fisher, the superintendent at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), had opted to scrub the event scheduled for February, prompted by concerns that it might “foster Islamaphobia.”

The autobiography by Murad describes how her family was executed and how she was sold into sexual slavery by Daesh Islamists. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her writing.

Furthermore, similar treatment was dished out to Canadian criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein who wrote “Nothing But the Truth: A Memoir” – ostensibly because she had acted for CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges.

The decision by the superintendent at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has triggered a widespread backlash.

Tanya Lee, a Toronto mother and entrepreneur running a book club for teenage girls called “A Room Of Your Own” reportedly sent an email to Fisher with information about Daesh from the BBC and CNN. The woman is said to have added:

“This is what Islamic State means. It is a terrorist organisation. It has nothing to do with ordinary Muslims. The TDSB should be aware of the difference.”

On the following day, according to Lee, Fisher sent her a copy of the board’s policy on selecting “culturally relevant” reading materials.

The TDSB has now conceded that “there appears to have been a misunderstanding, as the equity department does not review and approve books for book clubs.”

“An opinion that did not reflect the position of the Toronto District School Board was shared with the organiser of the book club prior to staff having an opportunity to read the books – something that is routinely done before giving them to students. Staff are currently reading both books and anticipate being able to add them to the list of titles used in the corresponding course(s),” said a statement from the TDSB.

It also added it would be reviewing the books.

“We sincerely apologise to both Ms Henein and Ms Murad – both of whom have powerful stories to tell and from whom we believe students would learn a great deal,” added the TDSB.

Tanya Lee was cited by The Telegraph as saying that the book club event for “A Room Of Your Own Book Club” with Murad would go ahead across Canada in February.

“The TDSB has not committed to letting their students attend. This is unfortunate for all involved. A great loss to the students, community, and educators at the TDSB,” Lee added.

Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia.