Originally published under the title "The Muslim Witch-hunt against Markham Principal."
It seemed the witch hunt against a school principal in Markham had all but died down after she was forced to apologize for her supposedly anti-Muslim Facebook posts.
When the attacks on Ghada Sadaka — an Arab Christian — began in September, I went through what the principal had posted and found nothing that would have upset me as a Muslim, or the many Muslim parents of York Region that I spoke to.
According to Toronto Star reporter Noor Javed, Sadaka shared and commented on videos purportedly showing violent "Muslim takeovers" of Paris and London, as well as articles expressing concerns refugees may bring "terrorist sympathies" to Canada.
Nowhere in her posts did Sadaka denounce all Muslims or peaceful followers of Islam. Yet, a single unnamed individual told the Star she felt the Facebook posts were "blatantly spreading hate" and so complained to the school board.
After relentless pressure by a handful of Muslim activists who employed the tactic of feigned outrage to set boundaries on free speech, the Christian Arab principal posted an apology on the school website. She wrote on Nov. 10 that she "did not intend to be disrespectful towards any group or individual and I sincerely regret the upset this has caused to those who were offended by the posts."
Nowhere in her posts did Sadaka denounce all Muslims or peaceful followers of Islam.
The matter should have ended there, but a week later, on Nov. 28, the Toronto Star wrote Sadaka had now gone on medical leave until the new year.
It was as if nothing would satisfy detractors other than her complete humiliation, if not dismissal, to send a warning message to the rest of Canada that anyone who dares criticize the inhumanity and barbarism of Islamist jihadis around the world will be hounded into total submission to the highly orchestrated brouhaha of victimhood and false allegations of racism and so-called Islamophobia.
But Sadaka has not been abandoned. Hundreds of parents — many of them Muslims — have signed multiple petitions to the York Region District School Board and Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter to support the principal.
"We strongly believe in what Mohandas Gandhi said decades ago: 'An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it,'" reads one petition.
One parent — a school teacher herself — wrote to the Toronto Sun of Sadaka's history of inclusiveness that appears to be missing what she called the "misleading and unbalanced information" so far.
Sadaka chaired a "Together We Are Better" conference, which focused on equity and inclusivity, the teacher recalled. "Her deep belief in equality for all was not lost on staff who felt the need to step up during her tenure," she wrote.
"It is truly a shame that someone's character can be so easily attacked and left undefended in the face of what appears to be a dominant and relentless pursuit of sensationalism and division."
Mymi Huynh, the school council chairman, who came as a Vietnamese refugee to Canada, wrote to Hunter, begging for provincial intervention. Huynh wrote that the silent majority stands behind Sadaka "but are uncomfortable speaking up in fear of being incorrectly labelled Islamophobic."
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Hunter would well be advised to pay attention.
Using the race card to please the supposed Muslim vote can backfire. Just ask Hillary Clinton and David Cameron. Them voters be angry.
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.