A school board meeting in Ontaria, Canada, turned into a platform for hate speech when enraged parents tore up a Quran and trampled on its on torn pages while shouting "Islam will kill you."
A group of 80 parents turned up to the school meeting on 22 March to protest a weekly Friday school assembly where the Muslim Jummah prayers are recited by students. The parents presented a petition signed by 600 people calling for the prayers to be banned.
But the meeting swiftly descended into chaos when one man started to rip apart a Quran, while other parents walked over the torn pages, uttering anti-Islamic statements and handing out flyers encouraging people to protest against religion in public schools.
One man pointed to the Quran and shouted: "People died today because of that book," referring to the terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Another woman yelled: "We don't want religion in schools. Leave our kids alone."
A board spokesman, Brian Woodland, said he felt "deeply shaken" after the meeting. "I'm not sure I've ever in my life seen this level of hatred," he told The Globe and Mail newspaper.
Police were called to remove the furious protesters from the meeting, which proceeded behind closed doors.
The Peel School board in Mississauga released a statement following the incident: "We are appalled by the anti-Muslim rhetoric and prejudice we have seen on social media, read in emails, and heard first-hand at our board meetings. It has caused some of our students to feel unsafe, to feel targeted. We must not allow hatred toward any faith group to flourish. We will not stand for that."
Canadian education minister Mitzie Hunter condemned the parents' behaviour. "Ontario schools are places that must be beacons of equity and inclusivity. All students must feel that they belong in school and that they feel safe when they are there," she said.
The Ontario government unanimously passed an anti-Islamophobia motion last month after six people were shot dead in a mosque in Quebec. "Islamophobia is real and we have to condemn it unreservedly," Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown said.