BPC Bulletin: Guest Authors Henein and Murad Unsuitable for Student Book Club, Toronto School Official Says
In late October 2021, a superintendent of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) told the organizer of a book club for female students that the students wouldn’t be allowed to take part in two events with the authors of two books.
Helen Fisher, the superintendent, told Tanya Lee, the book club organizer, that the authors — Marie Henein, a leading criminal defence lawyer, and Nadia Murad, a survivor of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize — would send the wrong messages to students.
The TDSB would not promote these two events, Ms. Fisher reportedly said, because Ms. Henein had defended former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi at his sexual-assault trial and because Ms. Murad’s book would foster Islamophobia.
When Caroline Alphonso, a Globe and Mail reporter, began asking questions about the incident, she learned that senior officials at the TDSB had overruled Ms. Fisher.
In The Globe and Mail, Caroline Alphonso reports:
Colleen Russell-Rawlins of the TDSB responds:
In Le Devoir, Étienne Lajoie reports:
In Droit-Inc, Didier Bert reports:
In the National Post, Rex Murphy comments:
In the Toronto Star, Rosie DiManno comments:
The Toronto Star’s editorial board comments:
In The Epoch Times, Michael Zwaagstra comments:
In The Globe and Mail, Naomi Buck comments:
In The Hub, Marie Henein comments in an interview:
In the National Post, Kathryn Marshall comments:
The Globe and Mail publishes letters to the editor from Bruce Sutherland, Marian Kingsmill and Gilda Berger:
The Toronto Sun editorializes:
Thanks go to Ron Brown, Anne McClelland and Elizabeth Raymer who forwarded articles.
The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.