The discovery this week that some young students are saying their prayers at their school has created a great media and political storm. This storm required the intervention of the Ministry of Education, the National Assembly and of course several media outlets. Let’s try to objectively analyze the situation to fully understand what is going on and judge if this whole storm had its reason.

A few Muslim students have asked for a room to say their prayers. Of course, the news was brought to the attention of the media who asked the Minister of Education about it. The Minister has issued directives to prohibit this activity. The Parti Québécois presented a motion to the National Assembly in support of secularism and the prohibition of prayer in school. The motion passed unanimously.

Several voices in the public domain repeated like a concert that prayer should have no place in the school. A liberal member of the National Assembly of Muslim faith, or at least of Muslim origin, said that school is for learning and not for praying.

With all due respect to everyone involved in this controversy, I can’t help but feel that this is a storm in a teacup. Let me explain. In Islam there are five obligatory prayers a day at five fixed intervals, but not at specific times. These prayers should not be made at a particular place either.

A Muslim can pray at home, at the mosque, at work, in a park or of course at school. So the young person who cannot say his prayer at school can say it at home. That said, a student who spends a good part of the day at school may fear missing the interval of one of the five daily prayers and will be tempted to say his prayers on time rather than waiting for him to return home. .

Some people in the public and media sphere wondered why these requests to pray at school were popping up now and saw a hidden agenda there. The question was asked: why did students from different and disparate territories, in Montreal, on the South Shore, in the North Shore, from east to west, begin to pray in the common areas of their schools this year, following the same modus operandi? The conspiracy theory was starting to show its face by imagining that something was going on “as if a slogan had been issued since the break: be more visible, take up more space, test the system. »

We are now in the middle of Ramadan. During this sacred month for Muslims, they are called upon to multiply acts of benevolence, charity, solidarity, to revitalize themselves spiritually and of course to pray.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink throughout the day, from dawn until sunset. Students who observe the fast and do not eat during the day find that they have time to say their prayers while their friends eat, rather than watching them eat or stroll in the hallways. Moreover, these students began by saying their prayers in the hallways and parking lots, which led the school, for security reasons, to offer a quiet room.

Nor is it to question the fact that school is a place to learn. But just as a student may do other activities in his free time at school, such as chatting on his phone, playing with friends or doing yoga, he must also have the right to pray, meditate or collect himself. he chooses to do so, of course always with respect for others.

We must not set up secularism as a new religion whose mission is to eradicate all the others. The golden rule must be to live and let live… and the rights of some end where the rights of others begin.