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Author Topic: York Prof says, "Sharia is neither Islamic nor Canadian". What does the NDP say?
Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 10:13 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Friends,

Prof. Taj Hashmi teaches at the Centre for Asian Research in York University, Toronto.

In this article, Prof. Hashmi argues that far from being a necessity for Muslims, Sharia is in fact "anti-Islamic". He writes that "some members of the (Muslim) Diaspora...want to come to the limelight as leaders of the Muslim community through the Sharia Board as advisers, arbitrators and “experts” of Sharia law."

He is urging ordinary people to step forward in their opposition to the Marion Boyd Report. He writes:
"The Government alone cannot stop the formation of the Sharia Board; civil society in general and liberal Muslims in particular should come forward to stop this vice, which is neither Islamic nor Canadian in character and spirit."

It is my hope that New Democrats too will stand up against the privitisation of the judicial system and state sanction of religious law.

Read and reflect.

Tarek Fatah
---------------------------------------
Sharia Is Neither Islamic, nor Canadian

By Taj Hashmi
MuslimWakeup.Com
http://www.muslimwakeup.com/main/archives/2004/12/sharia_is_neith.php#more

Of late the proposed introduction of a Sharia Arbitration Board in Ontario has created much controversy, among both Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians. Former attorney-general Marion Boyd's 150-page report favouring the introduction of Sharia, or "Muslim principles" (in her language), in the proposed Arbitration Board has become the proverbial last straw.

While the proponents justify the Sharia Board in the name of equal opportunity for the Muslim community, the opponents regard such a move as being contrary to Canadian constitution and anticipate gross violations of Muslim women's right to custody, inheritance and post-divorce alimony.

To the uninformed, Marion Boyd sounds quite "reasonable" in the way she has argued her case. In her view the "Muslim principles" should be considered an acceptable method of religious arbitration as long as they do not violate Canadian law - very similar to how Catholics, Jews and Ismailis have made use of a 1991 Act.

Surprisingly, she tells us: "We're being very clear, this is not Sharia law."

What is even more surprising is that Syed Mumtaz Ali, the main advocate of Sharia arbitrations in Ontario, is "delighted" with the Boyd Report given that many of the 46 recommendations of the Report came from him. Ali glorifies the proposed Board as "a model for the world to see how Sharia law can be used in a Western society." The ambivalence in Boyd’s and Ali’s statements on the true colour of the Report smacks of duplicity. It seems, Boyd is playing a hide and seek game with us, trying to introduce Sharia with a different name.

Although we cannot agree with the sensational view that some “fundamentalist” groups want the Sharia Board as a stepping-stone to eventually create an independent legal system for Canadian Muslims, we can agree that Canada’s adopting Sharia law may legitimize the excesses of Sharia committed elsewhere in the Muslim World.

Problematically, both the adherents and opponents of Sharia believe that the code was derived from the Quran and is as old as Islam itself. Ordinary Muslims also consider Sharia to be divine law. Contrary to these assumptions, Sharia is hardly Quranic in origin as the Quran contains 80-odd verses, which are prescriptive or regulative. The main sources of Sharia are thousands of spurious Hadiths or "sayings" of Prophet Muhammad, collected haphazardly more than 200 years after his death. Muslim jurists' legal opinions collected during the 8th and 12th centuries based on their understanding of the Quran, traditions of the Prophet, local customs and above all, common sense, are collectively known as the Sharia.

Once we consider the following facts, we come closer to resolving the Sharia debate:

1) Sharia is authoritative, not infallible; 2) The Sunni Sharia code went through major transformation and changes, but only up to the 16th century; 3) Shiite Sharia is still subject to changes and modifications; and, 4) The moral principles of the Quran outweigh its legal principles (for example, while slavery, concubinage and polygamy are tolerated in Islam for a specific historical era, the Quran does not promote or encourage these practices).

It is quite puzzling that secular Canada should toy with the idea of incorporating Sharia into its legal system while several Muslim countries are gradually replacing the Sharia with secular codes and some have already done away with it. Canada should be even more cautious about implementing Sharia, as there are very few Islamic scholars in the country, qualified enough to interpret the Quran and the teachings of Islam.

It is interesting that Dr Mohamed Elmasry (a mathematics professor at Waterloo University, not an Islamic scholar), controversial for his comments on Jews and his classification of anti-Sharia Muslims as "not religious", also thinks that there could be as few as "only one Muslim scholar in Canada” capable of interpreting the Sharia. Paradoxically, he is an ardent advocate of a Sharia Arbitration Board in Ontario.

Again, as it appears in Chapter 4 (Sura Nissa) of the Quran, only immediate family members of Muslim couples may arbitrate in matters relating to divorce and custody, there is no room for outsiders to arbitrate.

And again, whose Sharia are we talking about? There are at least four Sunni and scores of Shiite sects, each with its own Sharia code. While the Wahhabi and other Muslim sects sanction female genital mutilation in the name of Islam and Sharia, the official Iranian Shiism endorses temporary marriage (Muta or Segha) between a man and a woman for a day, week, month or year.

Some Muslims, on the basis of wrong interpretations of the Quran, justify polygamy and even consider wife beating permissible in Islam. Are Canadians willing to allow the implementation of these varying versions of Sharia in this country?

I think we should think carefully before taking such a rash move. Once we allow a Sharia Board to meddle with the conjugal problems of Muslim couples, the Ontario government would simply fail to protect half-educated, uninformed and dependent Muslim women from being abused in the name of Islam. All concerned should learn that what the Quran has given to women, Sharia has taken away from them. Examples abound. While men and women are equally held responsible for adultery in the Quran, which prescribes 80 lashes for the offenders each, the Sharia is particularly harsh on the adulteress, prescribing the death penalty for both the offenders.

Since Sharia is not infallible and is subject to change and modifications, there is no need to rush for its implementation anywhere, let alone Ontario, until the emergence of a Muslim Martin Luther. Unless Islam goes through its Reformation and the Muslim World undergoes a total transformation to adapt to modern, liberal democratic, secular and urban cultures of enlightenment and tolerance, no one should advocate the cause of Sharia in Canada.

Marion Boyd and like minded non-Muslim well wishers of the Canadian Muslim community should learn more about Sharia, Islam and Muslims. The advocates of a Sharia Board should realise that Ontario Muslims do not have to have a religious arbitration board only because the Catholics, Jews and Ismailis have their own boards.

The Ontario government should not try to do “justice” to the Muslim community through comparison with the Catholics or other communities, as apples cannot be compared with oranges.

The Canadian government should not pay heed to the romantic and utopian views of the Muslim Diaspora, which is unaware of the anti-Islamic nature of the Sharia. Some members of the Diaspora, we have reasons to believe, want to come to the limelight as leaders of the Muslim community through the Sharia Board as advisers, arbitrators and “experts” of Sharia law. However, the Government alone cannot stop the formation of the Sharia Board; civil society in general and liberal Muslims in particular should come forward to stop this vice, which is neither Islamic nor Canadian in character and spirit.
---------------------------
Dr. Taj Hashmi is a professor at the York Centre for Asian Research, York University, Toronto and a member of the Muslim Canadian Congress.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 01 January 2005 11:02 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree with you, Tarek.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Macabee
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posted 01 January 2005 11:11 AM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I too would agree.

Just one point on Babble process, I see that Tarek has both provided the URL to the fine article he references and then reproduces that article here in its entirety. Is that now permissable on Babble?


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Michelle
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posted 01 January 2005 11:15 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No. I meant to mention that, but I don't moderate this forum.
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skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 11:17 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was wondering whether Tarek had permission. That was my guess.

I think that the NDP should make itself open to learning from individuals like Prof. Hasmi and groups like the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, who made strong representations to Boyd and are now organizing an effective campaign critical of this report.

If there is a strong organization already representing a vulnerable group most likely to be affected by any legislative decisions, then it seems to me that we should trust them as leaders and treat them so.


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skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 11:19 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Canadian Council of Muslim Women
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Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 11:24 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Macabee:
I too would agree.

Just one point on Babble process, I see that Tarek has both provided the URL to the fine article he references and then reproduces that article here in its entirety. Is that now permissable on Babble?


I was not aware of a rule not permitting the URL plus the text. My mistake. Sorry.

Tarek


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 01 January 2005 11:27 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would agree to a limited point. I think some very solid arguments are made in regards to scrapping the entire Arbitration Act of 1991. But I saw no evidence in the article that would suggest to me that Sharia law is any more or less valid than other religious law, or that it would be right in treating it differently.

The Christian legal heritage includes things every bit as shocking-- perhaps more shocking-- than the legal heritage of Sharia law. The Catholics have thier Inquisition, and the Protestants had a fetish for tying women to posts and burning them alive.

It wasn't Martin Luther or some kind of internal Enlightenment within Catholicism or Protestantism that lead to governments taking the torture and heinous acts out of religious law. It was enlightened, secular governments-- with the churches protesting all the way.

What? ancient history? Well, we've seen, in this country, how both Protestant and Catholic administrations interpret justice in regards to sexual abuses that occured under their auspices.

Sharia Law? Least of our worries.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 11:28 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tarek, it's a question of copyright. We can't reproduce entire articles that are under copyright, so we give the URL and then quote a pithy passage or two.

If you have permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the whole thing, then that's ok.


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Michelle
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posted 01 January 2005 11:39 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, it's still not really okay. It disrupts the flow of conversation when entire articles are posted. It's much better to just quote a relevant passage and the URL.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 01 January 2005 12:07 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Am I the first one to notice the delicious irony here?

Here we campaign against Stephen Harper and the tories, sometimes alluding to their religious fundamentalist hidden agenda, when the most significant legal advance for fundamentalist religion occured under Bennidict Rae's NDP government.

I guess the right has no monopoly on hypocrisy.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 12:17 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
Sharia Law? Least of our worries.

Dear Tommy_Paine,

It may be the least of your worries, but for Muslim Canadians who escaped sharia to make Canada their home, introduction of sharia law in Canada is a very worrisome development.

I am a father of two daughters in their 20s and am worried at the prospect of religious laws getting state sanction and that too with the consent of the Left.

Religous laws, be they Islamic, Jewish or Christain, have no place in the legal frameowrk of our judicial system.

Any laws that cannot be debated in parliaments, amended by legislators, dicussed at committee levels, do not deserve to be part of our judicial system. They may have a role in the Church, Synagogue, Mosque or Temple, and that is where they should stay.

As a New Democrat I have presumed that all of us share the belief that one set of laws should apply to all citizens, but it seems I could be mistaken. Citizenship should not be based on inherited religion or inherited ethncity. Introduction of religous law into the public domain threatens this concept of citizenship.

Most folks of the left/liberal hue are walking into this minefield with their eyes shut. To me it seems to be laziness maquerading as a tolerance of multiculturalism.

Seperate laws for seperate people in one state, is racist. The sooner we acknowldge this slippery slope towards the ghettoisation of the Muslim community, the better it will be for the NDP.

Unfortunately, Islamic fundamentalists today have far better access to the NDP at all levels then long term Muslim New Democarts who do not have the ability to dangle mosque audiences as carrots before naive politcians.

My faith lies in ordinary members of the NDP who would convince their riding associations, their city councillors, MPPs and MPs to not succumb to the very effective campaign of the Islamic fundamentlists who shower their talk with lefty lingo and conceal their real intentions in brillaint fashion.

Happy New Year.

Tarek


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skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 12:32 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tarek, may I ask you: do you have any knowledge of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women?

All I know of them I've learned from their website, which seems impressive to me. But I would like to hear from some activists who have worked with them.


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 01 January 2005 12:38 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tarek, we don't really disagree.

"As a New Democrat I have presumed that all of us share the belief that one set of laws should apply to all citizens, but it seems I could be mistaken. Citizenship should not be based on inherited religion or inherited ethncity. Introduction of religous law into the public domain threatens this concept of citizenship.

Most folks of the left/liberal hue are walking into this minefield with their eyes shut. To me it seems to be laziness maquerading as a tolerance of multiculturalism."

New Democrats like us, who believe there should be one law for everyone are rare. We hold our caucus meetings in phone booths.

I am not in any way deffending Sharia Law. I just think it is a grave error to single out Sharia Law.

The whole Arbitration Act was an error.

Will New Democrats be mature enough to recognize this, and campaign against their own legislation?

Making mistakes is human. Clinging to them is the mark of an imbicile.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 12:40 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
[QB]Tarek, may I ask you: do you have any knowledge of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women?
QB]

I know them very well. In fact one of their Board members, Nuzhat Jafri, was Marion Boyd's C-of-Staff when the 1991 Arbitration Act amemdment was introduced by Howard Hampton, then AG.

Nuzhat and Marion Boyd of course are now on opposite sides of this dispute over Sharia.

CCMW is a Muslim women's organisation for professional upper middle class women with a liberal stance.

Good people.


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Frac Tal
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posted 01 January 2005 12:41 PM      Profile for Frac Tal        Edit/Delete Post
I agree Tarek, and Happy New Year.

We recently saw a fine example of this when Rick Salutin argued that talk of Canadian values reeks of "Nazi racial ideology". It was an attempt to squelch any opposition to the "anything goes" school of multicult, a sacred cow for the Salutins of the world.

Fundamentalist religious zealots, of whatever stripe, should not be be making law in Canada.


From: I'll never sign it. | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 01:24 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
Tarek, we don't really disagree.

New Democrats like us, who believe there should be one law for everyone are rare. We hold our caucus meetings in phone booths.


I would hope not. One law for all would be the starting point for a democracy, unless there were specific laws to alleviate the condition of a under-priviliged group, for example the disabled, or refugees.

Seperate laws for seperate people based on supposedly immutable God's words, is the gateway to an apartheid state based on religion.

quote:

I am not in any way deffending Sharia Law. I just think it is a grave error to single out Sharia Law.

I agree completely with you that sharia law should not be singled out and all religious courts/tribunals must be opposed.

However, for Muslims who consider themselves to be on the Left/Liberal/Progressive side of life, opposition to religious tribunals will start from their opposition to Sharia.

It is a pity that there are no Jewish groups who openly criticise the state sanctioning of rabbinical courst.

I have tried to look for any group with a name like "Jews against religious courts" or anything similar, but found none.

It will take a handfull of people to trigger an avalanche of common sense.

The Muslim Canadian Congress is a very small group of about 100 members. Had we not taken the decision to oppose Marion Boyd, this matter would have died by now, forever bringing religion deeply into Canadian law. But we held our breath and took the plunge to oppose the Muslim fundamentalists. This has put us (most of us NDPers) into an uncomfortable position with our Party, which has developed very sincere relations with the Muslim Right at all levels. While the NDP position is based on the principle of standing up for the underdog, the Muslim Right is using the NDP sincerity to extract concessions like they obtained from Marion Boyd.

Whereas homophobes would never have been tolerated anywhere in our party structure a few years ago, today they are grudgingly accepted beause theses homophobes invoke "religious values" as an excuse.

This phenomoena in not necessarily unique to Canada. In the UK, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are totally in the camp of the Muslim Right. The British author/actvist Tariq Ali once referred to this phenomena as "Shariah Bolshevism".

Tarek


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radiorahim
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posted 01 January 2005 02:34 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As someone on the left, I guess I have some concerns about Muslims being singled-out on the issue of Islamic courts, especially in the present day climate of anti-Muslim paranoia.

On the other hand, I suppose some right-wing Muslims might want to exploit the concerns of left-wing folks in order to pursue their right-wing agenda.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 01 January 2005 03:01 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Takek Fatah : It may be the least of your worries, but for Muslim Canadians who escaped sharia to make Canada their home, introduction of sharia law in Canada is a very worrisome development.

Then

quote:

Tarek Fatah: Unfortunately, Islamic fundamentalists today have far better access to the NDP at all levels then long term Muslim New Democarts who do not have the ability to dangle mosque audiences as carrots before naive politcians.


Your discourse is hard for me to follow, Tarek.

Muslims escaped Sharia to make Canada their home; but somehow they flocked to mosques and "fundamentalist" leaders to become their audiences, apparently a big carrot dangled before politicians.

Surely you are not suggesting that they were regularily rounded up here in Canada, blindfolded in convoys and horded to mosques.

quote:

Tarek Fatah: While the NDP position is based on the principle of standing up for the underdog, the Muslim Right is using the NDP sincerity to extract concessions like they obtained from Marion Boyd.

Are we to understand that Marion Boyd was looking at the "carrot" being dangled by the Muslim Right in making her report and recommendations ?

This is quite a conspiracy between the Muslim Right, Marion Boyd and the NDP against the equally sincere but self-righterous MCC and the CCMW !

Almost everybody is being duped by the Muslim Right: the NDP, Marion Boyd, Leftist Muslims, Leftist non-Muslims, a human rights organization such as B'nai Brith, MPs, MPPs, municipal Councillors .. all are being played as the village idiots by the Muslim Rights, except of course the MCC and the CCMW.

"Introduction of Sharia law is a very worrisome development" ? Wasn't it made clear by Marion Boyd and understood by most people that canadian public law is and will remain supreme ?


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 01 January 2005 03:14 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
It is a pity that there are no Jewish groups who openly criticise the state sanctioning of rabbinical courst.
Why do you think that's the case, Tarek (or anybody else who want to answer)?

I imagine it's because the Beit Din is seen as a positive element of the Canadian Jewish community. It has proven itself as a fair system. And, I'm not aware of widespread complaints. Maybe your misgivings don't apply to the example of the Beit Din.

I understand why you are not happy with the prospect of sharia courts in Ontario. I applaud your desire to remain consistent. And, I share an uneasiness about implementing sharia law in Ontario. But, I also don't see any way around allowing it.


From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 01 January 2005 04:17 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:

Are we to understand that Marion Boyd was looking at the "carrot" being dangled by the Muslim Right in making her report and recommendations ?

This is quite plausible.

London Centre has a vote-bank of about 10,000 Muslims and if she runs, she will have the leadership on side. However, as was evident in Ottawa South, the right-wing Muslim leadership cannot deliver.

Marion Boyd was quite reluctant to meet with Muslim New Democrats, but had regular exchanges with the Islamists. She is the poster child of right-wing religious groups like the one led by Syed Mumtaz Ali.

In fact, 49 of the recomendations she makes came from the group led by Syed Mumtaz.

quote:

This is quite a conspiracy between the Muslim Right, Marion Boyd and the NDP against the equally sincere but self-righterous MCC and the CCMW !

Not at all. Your sarcasm aside, this is not a case of an NDP conspiracy; it is more a sign of their confusion and inability to acknolwedge that they screwed up in 1991. They also have failed to stand firm on their social policy principles.

The Muslim Right is highly organised and since 9/11 has manipulated the NDP and the Left quite well, taking advantage of the fundamental decency of the NDP and its stand on civil and minority rights

quote:

Almost everybody is being duped by the Muslim Right: the NDP, Marion Boyd, Leftist Muslims, Leftist non-Muslims, a human rights organization such as B'nai Brith, MPs, MPPs, municipal Councillors .. all are being played as the village idiots by the Muslim Rights, except of course the MCC and the CCMW.

Not "Almost everybody" is being duped, just the non-Muslim Left.

Intersting how you threw in "Muslim Left" being duped. You know I never said that. In fact, the premise of my argument is that the mainstream Left needed to talk the Muslim Left, but it didn't.

And yes, they are looking like village idiots when they allow homophobes to dupe them into believing that their homphobia or mysogniy is of the harmless 'cultural' variety dictated by religion, not their personal prejudice and bigotry.

As far as Bnai Brith is concerned, they are defending the Rabbinical courts; they have little love lost for the islamic fundamnetalists, but in making common ground with them, it serves the objectives of both parties.

The MCC and the CCMW only speak for their membership and never pretend to speak for the entire Muslim community. The MCC has stated our position very clearly that we find the notion of seperate laws for seperate people as racist and unconstitutional.

In our fight, we are cognisant of the support the Muslim Right has within the NDP and other Left. (also evident in some of the posts here)

The fact is that we are quite suprised at this unexplained infatuation with the neo-Taliban. Partly, it reflects the bankruptcy of critical analysis in areas of Foreign Affairs. When people view the taliban as some sort of Sandanistas and Bin Laden as a modern day Che, it baffles people in the Muslim world.

The call for sharia has been the rallying cry of the Islamists since the days the CIA funded them. Sharia was the slogan used against the Left throughout the Muslim world. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanisatn, Indonesia, thousands of Leftists have died, murdered because they opposed the sharia. 500,000 in Indonesia alone in the 1965 slaughter of the Left.

It is sad to see so many people in the Canadain Left being duped and hostile to the aspirations of their fellow socialists.

Those who are defending the Shariah in Canada owe it to themselves to visit any Muslim country and meet with your SI counterparts and ask them, not me.

quote:

"Introduction of Sharia law is a very worrisome development" ? Wasn't it made clear by Marion Boyd and understood by most people that canadian public law is and will remain supreme ?

If not Sharia, what was she offering when she said "Muslim priciples"? She was asked repeatedly by reporters what she meant by "Muslim priciples" and how these principles were at variance with Canadian Family Laws.

This is Sharia by Stealth. Let there be no mistake about it.

Tarek


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 04:36 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:
As someone on the left, I guess I have some concerns about Muslims being singled-out on the issue of Islamic courts, especially in the present day climate of anti-Muslim paranoia.

On the other hand, I suppose some right-wing Muslims might want to exploit the concerns of left-wing folks in order to pursue their right-wing agenda.



Tarek, this post of radiorahim's sums up the reason for the tentative approach that many non-Muslim lefties have taken to this issue, I suspect.

On the one hand, I'm sure that ... you're right.

On the other, we have become so accustomed to seizing up at the appearance of horrors like, eg, Irshad Manji's virtuoso performances that most of us are really hesitant to leap forward to defend our own principles before we know that we are taking a willing community with us.

But sure: I'm a civil libertarian and a feminist, and I'm horrified by Marion Boyd's mindless use of that word that used to be useful but has now become a mere buzzword out of context, "choice."

So you tell me: where would my voice be most useful?


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radiorahim
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posted 01 January 2005 05:09 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Wasn't it made clear by Marion Boyd and understood by most people that canadian public law is and will remain supreme ?

The law is one thing. But I remember when Sunday shopping was first introduced in Ontario by the David Peterson Liberals and retail workers were supposed to be protected against being "forced" by their employers to work on Sundays. We all know how that worked out. When you have a difference in power relationships, one party can easily coerce the other party into doing what they want despite whatever law is on the books.

This is as I understand it what the concern is around the Islamic courts/arbitrations issue. A large percentage of the Muslim community (perhaps the majority?) would be first generation immigrants and therefore more vulnerable to coercion.

On the other hand Canada does have a tradition of collective or group rights for various ethnic and religious groupings. We have for example separate (Catholic) school funding in Ontario and up until recently the entire school system in Newfoundland & Labrador was religiously-based. (It required a constitutional amendment as I understand to change it). Also collective rights have been recognized to some degree for first nations peoples.

But with the Sharia courts issue my gut instincts lead me to be more concerned about the potential for women in particular to be coerced into using a forum that they don't necessarily want to use to settle disputes.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Radioactive Westerner
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posted 01 January 2005 06:16 PM      Profile for Radioactive Westerner     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The left has been on a campaign to remove the church from the state for over the past 30 years now.

Why on earth would you ever bring it back?

I remember Chretien boasting that he had managed to remove every reference to God from the federal government.

It seems to me that allowing a system of law that proscribes stoning, lashing, cutting off of hands, rape, and even capitol punishment, is a huge step backward.

How is this progressive?


From: Edmonton | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 01 January 2005 06:29 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Radiorahim: The law is one thing. But I remember when Sunday shopping was first introduced in Ontario by the David Peterson Liberals and retail workers were supposed to be protected against being "forced" by their employers to work on Sundays. We all know how that worked out. When you have a difference in power relationships, one party can easily coerce the other party into doing what they want despite whatever law is on the books.


Radiorahim,

If I understand you well, you are saying that Sharia arbitraion should not be introduced because it does not deliver fairly to women and instead we should rely on (secular) law which does not deliver fairly either ?

What is all the fuss about then, since one or the other the end-result is the same ?

In this respect, I ironically agree with you. I had written in another thread that the secular law that the MCC, CCMW and other opponents of Sharia law herald as THE forum has not shown to be a better answer in cases where the imbalance of power is obvious.

Isn't the power imbalance obvious between (especially non-unionized) workers and employers with deep pockets ? You may be aware of the horror stories of "settlements" under coercion and duress, simply because workers are of course more likely to become out of breath, financially speaking.

Power imbalance and -the inability or unwillingness of our capitalist system to deal with it- is rampant. Why single out Sharia tribunals as fora where potentially women will lose because of power imbalance ? Do they really stand a better stand with "secular" law ? Or is the discourse then to morphe from weak Muslim women v. strong Muslim men to women versus men dominated judicial system ?

That would be turning in circle, don't you agree, Radiorahim.

[ 01 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 01 January 2005 07:58 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If I understand you well, you are saying that Sharia arbitraion should not be introduced because it does not deliver fairly to women and instead we should rely on (secular) law which does not deliver fairly either ?

To be honest I haven't made up my mind yet but my gut instinct would be to oppose it specifically because concerns have been raised by MCC and CCMW.
Now these might be small organizations...to be honest I don't know. But it was small minorities of leftists who raised opposition to things like the racist internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War and to the 1970 War Measures Act.

I never said that the public judicial system...what you call "secular" law was fair.

But a) Why replicate existing unfairness and b) Why introduce a system which has the capability to actually be more unfair than the existing system? I would have to be convinced that the introduction of Sharia would in some way be better than the existing system in order to support it.

If the Sharia option is introduced what I see is that middle class western educated Muslims would avoid the Sharia option like the plague, while poor working class Muslims who don't necessarily speak English as their first language could be coerced into using the Sharia courts.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 January 2005 08:11 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lacabombi asked:

quote:
Do they [Muslim, or any women] really stand a better stand with "secular" law ?

Well, actually, yes, they do.

lacabombi, I have to tell you: this is a bottom line for me. The revolution in family law has meant a revolution, a serious revolution, in my adult lifetime. It has meant that women younger than I can live lives I could not have lived -- seriously.

And I am glad of that. I fought for those changes; I fought for them for others; and I'll go on defending them on principle. I know in my bones and blood and nervous system what happens to women who enter adulthood without the legal protections that recent family law in Canada gives them now.

The inequities that women face in Canada right now are practical inequities -- in coercive family or social groupings, or in terms of educational or employment opportunities.

Women's greatest -- in fact, their only sure, neutral defenders in Canada still -- are indeed the courts. Maybe the hearts and minds of a lot of men will follow one day ... maybe. Many already have, but most never moved until the courts finally explained, in little words, that equality really means ... equality.

If babblers like me and radiorahim have equivocated on these threads, it is not because we are ready to sacrifice that historic advance.

We are hesitant because we know that these issues, when they become hot-button issues in the popular press, need to be re-digested and re-complicated. As hot-button issues, they often are, as you are no doubt sensing, dishonest vehicles of prejudice and bigotry. People who have never cared about women's rights before will suddenly become terrifically heated on this subject because they see an opportunity to hurt a group they hate or fear, or to advance their own political agenda.

I am an old, privileged, tenth-generation Celtic Canadian, with the moderate disadvantage (it used to be much worse) of being a woman, and it is terribly easy for me to climb up on my soap-box and argue pure civil liberties. And I'm not offering to stop doing that, mind.

I will listen to any reasonable complication of the blindnesses and complacencies that my life has left me with. But will I agree, ever, to watch a sister deprived of the rights that I have, simply because some of the neo-cons have learned how to use the word "choices" in so cynical a way as to make it meaningless? And to seduce vulnerable immigrant groups towards a kind of mindless relativism that would deprive them -- any of them -- of the greatest benefits this country has to offer, imperfect though they may be?

[ 01 January 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 01 January 2005 09:19 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Radiorahim: If the Sharia option is introduced what I see is that middle class western educated Muslims would avoid the Sharia option like the plague, while poor working class Muslims who don't necessarily speak English as their first language could be coerced into using the Sharia courts.

You may be right. But isn't this the case now with our public law system ? Those educated and well of go to a court of law and those less educated and cannot afford to pay high "the cost" of justice resort to the Ombudsman's office: behind the scene proceedings and decisions taken on the basis of "evidence" a complainant has no legal right to see.

But again, radiorahim, you seem to have engaged now in relativism, which system is more or less fair and concluded that it is Sharia that is less fair. I would suggest this is speculation. As you know, now all eyes and ears will be on the Sharia arbitration institute should it be allowed to proceed.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 01 January 2005 09:59 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you skdadl for the insightful input. I read (with enjoyment) every word you wrote on Babble ever since I joined, though not far ago. I have always agreed with your views. The exception is now on the concept of "choice" in this discussion.

Yes, "choice" can be exploited by demagogues. But does that mean it has to be eliminated ? Have we ever, as a society, performed a test on whether women who work in strip clubs are educated enough to formulate their choices, whether they have been coerced or did they voluntarily choose and so on and so on ? No. But in the case of Muslim women we have already performed -albeit rhetorically- the test and concluded that they should not have a choice.

I can list many instances of injustices and examples of powe imbalances in society, yet that did not seem to draw our collective attention.

Needless to say I know that you and many people have sincere motives -as you cited- in opposing "Sharia" arbitration. On the other hand, and on the basis of what I wrote above, I may have reason to believe that many also seem to oppose Muslim women's choice on the basis on sheer islamophobia. Otherwise, How can we explain the lack of attention to numerous injustices and imbalances of power in our society, but all of sudden we are awake and talking about them ? The Muslims are coming ?

skdadl ? The Arbitration Act was promulgated in 1991. It has become an issue when the Sharia thing surfaced.

Talking about revolution, skdadl, the revolution that Islam has undertaken to protect women -among other achievements- is also considerable and does predate any western concern for the status of women. And that is what will take place here in Canada, not the orthodox version of some mysogynist (sp.?)dudes in Iran and Saudi Arabia for the additional reason that the public and governments are watching.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 11:32 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Radioactive Westerner: It seems to me that allowing a system of law that proscribes stoning, lashing, cutting off of hands, rape, and even capitol punishment, is a huge step backward.

This not what is being allowed, RW.

What you are talking about is Sharia criminal law which first, is only practiced in no more than 4 out of about 56 Muslim countries, and second, it has never been the question of introducing it in Canada.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 02 January 2005 11:55 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
How can we explain the lack of attention to numerous injustices and imbalances of power in our society, but all of sudden we are awake and talking about them ? The Muslims are coming ?

skdadl ? The Arbitration Act was promulgated in 1991. It has become an issue when the Sharia thing surfaced.


Och, I know how you feel, lacabombi. That is how it looks.

The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!

I mean, it is quite funny when you put it that way. Memories of the Cold War.

I still agree with Tarek, that the NDP has got to be on guard against against reactionary views of opposite and opposing kinds. Our problem is, indeed, that we are naive, and in our naivete we are often in danger of overcompensating.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 02 January 2005 12:04 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It seems to me that allowing a system of law that proscribes stoning, lashing, cutting off of hands, rape, and even capitol punishment, is a huge step backward.

Isn't this awful? We're trying to have a discussion about what is a fundamental issue of modern Canadian jurisprudence, and some people here haven't even bothered to familiarise themselves with the basic concepts. I have no energy to explain to RW what the 1991 Arbitration Act implies, or, for that matter, what arbitration itself means, but...RW...read up on it, for God's sakes.

Other than that, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I believe Muslims (as with any other group of people in Canada) have an inherent right to participate in this society in the way they decide to. I've long felt that cultural attitudes to crime and punishment are most appropriate when they have the greatest concensus. The Québec Civil Code and recent developments in Aboriginal justice to me make a lot of sense. I suppose, bottom line, is that most people believe Sharia-based juridsprudence is inherently misogynist, homophobic, and brutal, although I know that a lot of Sharia is fair and common sense.

I don't know what to think. Scrap the arbitration act altogether? I wouldn't shed a tear if the Catholics and Jews were derprived of their religious courts. For most adherents, they're pretty much inconsequential, anyway.

[ 02 January 2005: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 January 2005 12:07 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
All Canadians should oppose the creeping of religious law, wether Islamic, Jewish, or Catholic into our justice system. We live in a secular system under constant threat of religious fundamentalists.

If someone wanst to believe in a religion, ket them do so on their own terms with their own money. Their narrow visions and tribal bigotries do not belong in the public system of laws for all citizens.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 02 January 2005 12:52 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
And by the way, RW...proscribe does not mean what you think it means.
From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 02 January 2005 01:37 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
What you are talking about is Sharia criminal law which first, is only practiced in no more than 4 out of about 56 Muslim countries, and second, it has never been the question of introducing it in Canada.
I am not worried about Canadians being beheaded or stoned to death. But, just out of curiosity, which 4 would you say apply such laws? I can think of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan of the top of my head (please correct me if I've mistakenly added any country to this list). Are you sure there aren't more than four?

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 02:38 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phonicidal: ..which 4 would you say apply such laws? I can think of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan of the top of my head (please correct me if I've mistakenly added any country to this list). Are you sure there aren't more than four?


What you mentioned are indeed the countries where criminal Sharia is state-law. There are however spots in other countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan come to mind) where despite the fact that criminal Sharia is not state-law, some local fundamentalist characters (in remote villages) take it upon themselves to invoke and apply criminal criminal Sharia.

To the best of my knowledge, Phonicidal!


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 02:54 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

WingNut: If someone wanst to believe in a religion, ket them do so on their own terms with their own money. Their narrow visions and tribal bigotries do not belong in the public system of laws for all citizens

WingNut, first, Sharia arbitration is a service that people purchase out of their own pocket and would not involve public money. Second, if we are to talk public money, under our "secular" state, we are paying for flags displaying Crosses, colours of St Andrew, St Patrick, St John, the Knights of St. John and what have you, as well as Christian inscriptions. We can find them almost everywhere on provincial, municipal and federal flags and emblems.

[ 02 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 02 January 2005 05:39 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Suppose those of us who are nominally Christian found our family courts governed by Christian values as set out by the Pentecostal church.
From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
salaam
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posted 02 January 2005 07:22 PM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is a really horrible article. Shari'a is "un-Islamic"? How?
"It is quite puzzling that secular Canada should toy with the idea of incorporating Sharia into its legal system while several Muslim countries are gradually replacing the Sharia with secular codes and some have already done away with it."
These "muslim" countries are backward, western-sponsored authoritarian regimes. Why should anyone take them as a model?
"Canada should be even more cautious about implementing Sharia, as there are very few Islamic scholars in the country, qualified enough to interpret the Quran and the teachings of Islam."
What does "qualified" mean? Anyone who understands the language of the Quran is qualified to interpret it.
"While the Wahhabi and other Muslim sects sanction female genital mutilation in the name of Islam and Sharia"
I have never heard of any Muslim sect that sanctions this.
... This is all hateful bullshit.
And since when is there an Islamic "Left" and "Right"?

In my opinion, countries today creating Shari'a "institutions" are trying to control Moslems by imposing state-approved "clergy". I don't see anything positive coming out of such institutions whether in Europe or Canada or anywhere.

skdadl, I don't know anyone in the CCMW, but I would agree, their site is impressive, and I think their position is valid from an Islamic point of view.

[ 02 January 2005: Message edited by: salaam ]


From: exile | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 08:19 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

BleedingHeart: Suppose those of us who are nominally Christian found our family courts governed by Christian values as set out by the Pentecostal church.

I do not know about other threads, but on this thread, it appears that anyone can write whatever crosses his or her mind; it does not matter if it is irrelevant, inaccurate or off-topic. Nor is there any requirement that a writer at least knows what is being discusssed prior to joining the debate.

Here is the scenario as I envision it:
Someone yelled "The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!". Members of the tribe heard the yell. They have no idea whether what is being yelled is true or not, they have no clue as to the reason for the Muslims to come or their intent. For all they know 1) The land is "theirs" 2) Muslims are bad, they are the enemy and 3) the tribe has to defend its turf.

Therefore, members of the tribe must grab something, anything, and rush to hack the Muslims that are "coming". Other members of the tribe were away. They arrive in the middle of the battle and join on the side of their brethrens, of course, not having any clue what it is all about.

Bleeding Heart, like many others, your above statement clearly demonstrates that you have no clue what the issue is all about. Your analogy is totally off-base.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 02 January 2005 08:31 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
Here is the scenario as I envision it:
Someone yelled "The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!". Members of the tribe heard the yell. They have no idea whether what is being yelled is true or not, they have no clue as to the reason for the Muslims to come or their intent. For all they know 1) The land is "theirs" 2) Muslims are bad, they are the enemy and 3) the tribe has to defend its turf.

I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. Who yelled "The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!?" What "tribe" heard the yell?

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 January 2005 08:32 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
WingNut, first, Sharia arbitration is a service that people purchase out of their own pocket and would not involve public money.

If that is accurate and applies equally to Catholic and Jewish arbitration services then I have no objection so long as those being subjected to it are consenting freely of their own will.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 02 January 2005 08:48 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
This is a really horrible article. Shari'a is "un-Islamic"? How

Dear Salaam,

Perhaps Professor Taj Hashmi wishes to blow the lid on deeply entrenched myths about the Sharia. The fact is that Sharia is a man-made law that is masquerading as Quranic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Almost all of the Sharia texts have been written 100 to 200 years after the Quran was revelaed and after the death of Prophet Muhammad.

Prof. Hashmi has appeared on my TV show and I asked the same question you raise. How can you say Shariah is un-islamic?

His reply was simple. Any laws that have been written by men serving Kings and Sultans and that violate the spirit of the Quran, cannot be equated as divine and are un-islamic

As an example, and with some embarssament, I would like to share some passages from the Sharia. All of them are written and I have quoted refercnes, incluidng page numbers.

1. If the husband’s body is covered with pus and blood and if the wife licks and drinks it, still her obligation to her husband will not be fulfilled.
--Imam Ghazzali - Ehya Ulum Al Deen – Vol 2 of 9 - page 311.

2. “Wives enter into their husband’s slavery after marriage”
- Imam Ghazzali - Ehya Ulum Al Deen – Vol 2 of 9 page 310.

3. “A Muslim man is allowed to beat his wife or wives.”
- Imam Shafi, “Umdat Al Salik,” Shafi’i Law # M.10.12, Page-541 & O.17.4, Page 619.

4. “A Muslim man is allowed to have four wives at one time.”
- Imam Abu Hanifa, “ “Hedaya,” Hanafi Law- Page 31.
- Dr. Abdur Rahman Doi, “Sharia the Islamic Law,” page 147.

5. Women inherit half of what men do
- “Sharia the Islamic Law,” Dr. Abdur Rahman Doi - page 299.

All of these laws are accepted by Muslim clerics as divine intructions applicable for all times. This is a myth that has been inflicted on Muslims for centuries and a handful of us are taking huge risks in exposing this fraud.

Muslims who brake this code of silence would be declared apostates and put to death. Few non-Muslims can understand the terror the accusation of apostacy carries with it. Already a few of us have been declared as apostates.

The person heading the campaign for shariah in Canada had this to say; a line that means nothing to a non-Muslim, but can scare the hell out of a Muslim.

Mubin Sheikh, an Imam at a Toronto Mosque sent two emails celebrating the Marion Boyd Report. The first he wrote to a non-Muslim woman activist opposing shariah courts:

"GET BENT LADY - take your bigotry to an edge of a cliff, close your eyes, and let the wind take you over."

This death-wish email was copied to staff at the AG's office and Marion Boyd's assistants.

In another otherwise innocous email sent to AG staff and copied to me, he wrote:

"Tarek Fatah and others who PROFESS to be Muslim are not."

Such a line may cause a chuckle ot two among non-Muslim Canadians, but in the Muslim narrative, it is a charge of apostacy; the logical conclusion of which is a death sentence.

These statements, wishing death to one person and accusing another of apostacy, didn't come in a closed room gossip. They were made in a public forum and copied to every person who made a submission to Marion Boyd.

Furthermore, it comes from the man who worked very closely with Marion Boyd; a person she quoted as the shariah expert and will be entrusted to be an arbitrator in the shariah tribunal system. These were his first pronouncments after the rush of victory.

Most canadian Muslims have close families in Muslim countries; places where it does not take much to rouse religious passion and physically attack an accused apostate.

Folks, this is multiculturalism gone amuck. Not till someone dies in Toronto will the liberal-left wake up. By that time the Fortyns of our world will have the intitiative, not those who are paralysed in indecision.

Cheers.

Tarek


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 09:00 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

WingNut:If that is accurate and applies equally to Catholic and Jewish arbitration services then I have no objection so long as those being subjected to it are consenting freely of their own will.


It is accurate, WingNut. And it is precisely my position. I am not religious, I do not care about religion. I simply believe that consenting adults should be free to contract, engage in anything they consent to without hinderance or interference.

If we are to dissect whether one party in a given consensual undertaking is weak, vulnerable, uneducated and so on.. and on such basis we should prohibit such undertaking, as the opponents of this initiative are saying, then we have to withdraw most of Canada's civil laws, statutes and regulations. In almost any litigation one party is stronger, wealthier, more educated, more informed than the other. Why single out Sharia arbitration?


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 02 January 2005 09:00 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I wonder if the bulk of the objections from Canadian Muslims have something to do with a split in the Muslim community (particularly between Arab and non-Arab Muslims). What I mean to ask is, if the Sharia court proposal was being run by more "moderate" (in quotes because I know Tarek doesn't like that label) Islamic leaders, would more people, and progressive Muslims in particular, accept it?
From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 02 January 2005 09:01 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But again, radiorahim, you seem to have engaged now in relativism, which system is more or less fair and concluded that it is Sharia that is less fair. I would suggest this is speculation. As you know, now all eyes and ears will be on the Sharia arbitration institute should it be allowed to proceed.

All one can do about future events is speculate based on what we know now and on our experiences...since none of us has a magic crystal ball.

However, left/progressive folks have this terrible habit of being correct when speculating about the future of those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

quote:
As you know, now all eyes and ears will be on the Sharia arbitration institute should it be allowed to proceed.

I would hope so.

quote:
And since when is there an Islamic "Left" and "Right"?

I think it would be fair to say that there are folks on the political "left" and "right" in every religion.

[ 02 January 2005: Message edited by: radiorahim ]


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 10:57 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phonicidal: I wonder if the bulk of the objections from Canadian Muslims have something to do with a split in the Muslim community (particularly between Arab and non-Arab Muslims).


This is a very pertinent question I pondered myself.

quote:

What I mean to ask is, if the Sharia court proposal was being run by more "moderate" (in quotes because I know Tarek doesn't like that label) Islamic leaders, would more people, and progressive Muslims in particular, accept it?

It has not been off the ground yet, so we do not know whether it is orthodox or moderate and it does not seem that it is being given a chance to show its colours by its opponents. No guarantees seem to satisfy the opponents who seem to hold for all means and purposes that Muslim women should not be trusted with their own choices.

[ 02 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 02 January 2005 11:15 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The problem is that its supporters have, to some extent, shown their colours. It's becoming clearer to me that some people see this as a means of "separating the men from the boys" as far as Islamic law is concerned. Mumtaz Ali attempts to define a Muslim as one who avails himself of the court; he then weasels his way out of an accusation of apostacy in such a way that leaves it hanging.

I am also suspicious to some extent of its opponents, like Homa Arjomand, who seems to me a mirror image of Mumtaz Ali in some ways. Her passion leads her to ally with secular humanists making her position more difficult to swallow as one friendly to Islam. There no better way to garner support for the court except by making it look like opposition to it is anti-Islamic...

The CCMW is a very nice organization. But I know multiple women who have quit it or now dislike it greatly, particularly younger Muslim women, who are often the rank-and-file drivers of tendencies that many people see as "fundamentalist", more so than men. The CCMW tends to represent a certain category of older immigrant professional women, and an alleged anti-hijab attitude alienates a segment of younger nonimmigrant professional women who take hijab, the court, etc, as visible assertions of their Islamic identity.


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Phonicidal
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posted 02 January 2005 11:31 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
It has not been off the ground yet, so we do not know whether it is orthodox or moderate and it does not seem that it is being given a chance to show its colours by its opponents.
Well, in fairness to those opponents, they may be more familiar with the people behind the project than outsiders. Canadian Muslims like Tarek are probably justified in their discomfort given, what I assume is, their familiarity with some of the people who will likely be doing the judging in the sharia court.

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Hinterland
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posted 02 January 2005 11:33 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
Aarg!...apostasy.

I know, I know...but Mandos, why do you torture me so?


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radiorahim
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posted 02 January 2005 11:48 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
No guarantees seem to satisfy the opponents who seem to hold for all means and purposes that Muslim women should not be trusted with their own choices.

What CCMW seems to be saying is that they want family law matters removed from the Sharia arbitration system.

The specific issues they raise are:

*There is no requirement to keep a record of arbitral awards; therefore there is no way to determine fairness to both parties.

*Filing an arbitration order with a court is neither mandatory nor does it represent court oversight of an arbitral award.

*Proponents of the Sharia tribunals say that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will protect women’s equality rights. The Charter applies only to state actions and not disputes between private individuals such as the arbitration agreements or awards.

*Proponents have also made statements that custody/access or child support matters will not be arbitrable. However, there is no legal impediment to using the Arbitration Act in such matters therefore there are no guarantees that arbitration will not be applied in these matters.

*There are no requirements for the arbitrators to be trained or educated in Canadian laws or Sharia.

*Parties who choose the arbitration route are not eligible to receive legal representation through Legal Aid Ontario.

*While arbitration requires consent of both parties and is voluntary, women may feel compelled to go to a Sharia tribunal by virtue of their strong religious affiliation and family and community pressures.

*While the right of appeal exists under the Arbitration Act, the courts afford a high degree of deference to the arbitrator’s decision, particularly where an arbitrator can claim a highly specialized expertise, such as religious knowledge and experience in interpreting religious texts.

*Sharia law is not a homogeneous civil code but rather a very complex system of Muslim jurisprudence interpreted by culturally and ethnically diverse individuals often from a patriarchal perspective. There are no norms or standards for settlements, e.g. amount or length of alimony and support payments, age of male or female children for custody awards. It is precisely the arbitrariness of these awards that will jeopardize the equality rights of Muslim women. CCMW fears that arbitration using Sharia/Muslim family law will continue to be based on a very narrow, conservative interpretation of Islam, which has already had a negative impact on some Canadian Muslim women and Muslim women world-wide.

CCMW - Tribunals will marginalize Canadian Muslim women

From what I can see these are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.


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lacabombi
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posted 02 January 2005 11:52 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree with your assessment, Mandos. But in regards to Mumtaz Ali's statement about who is Muslim and who is not, should we look at the safeguards Marion Board stipulated in her reports, should such statement or what is behind it seep into an arbitration process, the whole thing is toast!

The CCMW is in my view an elitist group of professionals. Their position is that the rest of the Muslim women are not capable of making their own decisions, unlike the leaders and members of the elite class, of course.

Who appointed this elite group to talk on behalf of all Muslim women is beyond me.


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Tarek Fatah
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posted 03 January 2005 12:05 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

If that is accurate and applies equally to Catholic and Jewish arbitration services then I have no objection so long as those being subjected to it are consenting freely of their own will.

Let me understand your position. You say you are ok with consenting adults hiring private judges to bypass the country's laws?

Because that is what is happening. The governement does not wish to fund the judicial system and to transfer costs, is basically encouraging marginalized communitiies to take their problems out of the cost system, hire private sector self-appointed judges.

Will we accept this elsehwere? Will we next allow traffic offences to be handled by private companies? How about privtising the drug offense area of law. And while we are at it, let us privitise the law making system.

The very foundations of democracy is being threatnened and the the most vigourous proponents of justice being in the public sector, are being extremely naive.

Masquerading cost cutting privitisation as a sop to religious minorities, is pathetic. The fact that it is the NDP who paved this path and is now scared of Bnai Brith on one hand and Muslim fundamentalist vote banks on the other, is scandalous.

Tarek


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:08 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phinicidal: Well, in fairness to those opponents, they may be more familiar with the people behind the project than outsiders. Canadian Muslims like Tarek are probably justified in their discomfort given, what I assume is, their familiarity with some of the people who will likely be doing the judging in the sharia court.

It is not a court, Phonicidal. Using the word court makes it like there will be a monopoly. Anyone can open shop and advertize "Arbitrator in 'Sharia' dispute resolution".

It is no different than a barber shop, seriously!If you and I see that there is money in such endeavour, we can invest, seek a few people with the right qualifications (in Sharia studies), hang our shingles and let the money pour in.

Tarek Fatah and the CCMW can, if not found their own arbitration services, at least encourage for some (progressive) competition to these dudes that are thought to emerge as orthodox in their Sharia interpretation.


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Tarek Fatah
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posted 03 January 2005 12:11 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is the position of the Muslim Canadian Congress as expressed by its Secretary Niaz Salimi in a letter to the Toronto Star.

She is of Iranian ancestry and is quite aware of the real intentions of the proponents of sharia.

Here she is responding to Thomas Walkom.

Tarek
---------

The Editor,
The Toronto Star
One Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario

Re: Courts must have final say on arbitration
[http://tinyurl.com/5lvnh]

In his column of Tuesday, December 27, Thomas Walkom writes that "...the Muslim Canadian Congress have come out strongly against giving state sanction to Islamic rulings in family matters. As practised, they say, these rulings tend to be fundamentally unfair to women."

As far as the Muslim Canadian Congress is concerned, our opposition is not just to Shariah courts; rather, we are opposed to all religious courts irrespective whether they Rabbinical, Christian or Shariah.

We believe that if the Marion Boyd report is implemented, Ontario will enter the dangerous road of privatization of our judicial system, which will create a two-tiered level of citizenship. Like our healthcare system, the MCC believes our judicial system should also be free from for-profit operators masquerading as alternate service providers.

We also believe the 1991 amendment to the Arbitration Act that allowed family disputes to be settled outside the family Law Act, was unconstitutional.

This is why we are asking the Ontario government to refer the matter to the Ontario Court of Appeal to determine:

1. Whether the Arbitration Act confers jurisdiction, outside the Family Law Act, to resolve disputes of property, children, inheritance and estates in the family context.

2. If the Arbitration Act does confer such jurisdiction, whether this is constitutional.

We believe that mosques, churches, temples and synagogues have an important role to play in the community, but their role should be restricted to mediation and reconciliation, not interfering with the Canadian justice system and running a parallel private-sector judiciary with self-styled religious judges for hire.

Also, the MCC believes that by invoking the "Buyer Beware" principle in matters of judiciary, Marion Boyd has reduced justice to a mere consumer commodity. This is antithetical to both Islam and Canadian values, which are often one and the same.

Niaz Salimi
Secretary General
Muslim Canadian Congress


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 12:14 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
Anyone can open shop and advertize "Arbitrator in 'Sharia' dispute resolution".
Are you telling me that there will be no process by which the government will liscense and monitor the sharia arbitration? That doesn't sound right.

quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
Tarek Fatah and the CCMW can, if not found their own arbitration services, at least encourage for some (progressive) competition to these dudes that are thought to emerge as orthodox in their Sharia interpretation.
That is a great idea.

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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:14 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Tarek Fatah: The very foundations of democracy is being threatnened and the the most vigourous proponents of justice being in the public sector, are being extremely naive.

What you are saying may be true. But the Arbitration Act has been promulgated in 1991. Why did your opposition to it emerge now, with the emergence of the words Sharia and Muslims ?

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 12:15 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think that there are any safeguards against the division that Mumtaz Ali proposes. There may be legal safeguards against the actual physical effects, I guess, and Boyd's recommendations may function in that regard; I'm worried about the effect of the existence of the organization on the whole Muslim community's dynamics in that it has been proposed by the likes of Mumtaz Ali. I've seen this going on for many years, and I agree that a lot of the criticism from some quarters (that Arjomand is too quick to embrace) is not well-intentioned.

But particularly of the likes of Ali, I think there's places where it is quite valid. Ali is probably a perfectly nice man himself, and I know that Anab Whitehouse is, but still.

I wouldn't condemn the CCMW as far as you do; they provide an important feminists perspective from within the Muslim community (as opposed to a hostile one that Arjomand seems to represent). It's not entirely their fault that this perspective seems to primarily attract a certain subset of Muslim women; the problem is that younger Muslim women, I find, are looking for something more in their lives that assert their Muslimness.


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 12:20 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
As far as the Muslim Canadian Congress is concerned, our opposition is not just to Shariah courts; rather, we are opposed to all religious courts irrespective whether they Rabbinical, Christian or Shariah.
This is where I take issue with the MCC and Tarek's position. They are prepared to throw out all religious arbitration with the sharia bathwater. I can understand why they are against sharia courts. But, in an effort to take a consistant public position, they have unfairly characterized Rabbinical and Christian courts with the same negative attributes that they see in sharia.

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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 12:21 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, you are partially mischaracterizing Tarek. He is against the privatization of the justice systemm, which all three kinds of courts represent.
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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 12:26 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
Actually, you are partially mischaracterizing Tarek. He is against the privatization of the justice systemm, which all three kinds of courts represent.
I wonder if that ever occured to him before the prospect of sharia courts materialized.

My point is that I think that he is projecting his negative feelings about sharia courts, or at least those who are running them, on other religious arbitration systems in Ontario. I just don't think that the negativity he associates with sharia applies in the other cases. So, I don't think it makes sense to argue against all of them just because you don't like one of them.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:31 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Radiorahim:

You have listed what the CCMW cited as their concerns. I was talking about the safeguards drafted by Marion Boyd. We put the two together and then and only then we will see whether these concerns have been ignored by Boyd or is it possible that the only thing that would satisfy the opponents is to take away the freedom of consenting adults to take their case to Sharia arbitration.

We are in Canada and I should not be protected from my own choice.


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 12:35 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Umm, yes you can. Our whole health system is based on the idea that in some things (like health insurance), individual choice is precisely what we need to be protected against. Now that I presently live in the US, I can see why this makes sense: the "choice-based" US health system has very damaging effects caused by the choice itself.

I can well see how this could operate in the justice system.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:36 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phonicidal:This is where I take issue with the MCC and Tarek's position. They are prepared to throw out all religious arbitration with the sharia bathwater. I can understand why they are against sharia courts. But, in an effort to take a consistant public position, they have unfairly characterized Rabbinical and Christian courts with the same negative attributes that they see in sharia.

Well put. You have an excellent grasp on the issue.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:42 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Mandos:Umm, yes you can. Our whole health system is based on the idea that in some things (like health insurance), individual choice is precisely what we need to be protected against. Now that I presently live in the US, I can see why this makes sense: the "choice-based" US health system has very damaging effects caused by the choice itself.
I can well see how this could operate in the justice system.


The analogy with healthcare is not pertinent at all. In health care, what I choose does potentially, directly or indirectly- affect others. There are variables.

What I contract with another consenting adult and does not affect others, I should not be protected from it. There is hardly any variable.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 12:44 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Your choice of justice system, particularly in a culturally loaded context, clearly affects others. With good reason, we regulate contracts all the time.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: Mandos ]


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:46 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Would you care to show me how others can be affected by my choice.
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Tarek Fatah
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posted 03 January 2005 12:53 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Phonicidal:
I wonder if that ever occured to him before the prospect of sharia courts materialized.

You are making unfair asumptions based on ignorance. I have always been against this nonsense of bringing divine laws into the judicial system, and that too by people who cannot be questioned by a parliamentary committee. Last I know, God has not yet allowed himself to be questioned at Queen's Park.

In fact, had I as a Muslim even raised a finger at Rabbinical Courts without first attacking Shariah courts, I would have been accused of being anti-Semetic. In fact, that label has already been used against me at a debate on the Toronto Centre Yahoo list.

This is not rocket science. Me and many more New Democrats sat in stunned disbelief as our government compromised its social democratic princoples. The 407, public auto insurance, Ontario Hydro, the list goes on.

quote:

My point is that I think that he is projecting his negative feelings about sharia courts, or at least those who are running them, on other religious arbitration systems in Ontario. I just don't think that the negativity he associates with sharia applies in the other cases. So, I don't think it makes sense to argue against all of them just because you don't like one of them.

The merits of the case detremine that laws that did not flow from mere mortals cannot and should not appear in the public domain.

Why would rabbincial courts be considered better than Islamic ones? There is no case for such double standards. This is not about Windows 95 vs. Windows 2000.

There is enough stuff in the Old and New Testaments to make sharia's harshness appear docile.

Some of us Muslims do not wish to fall into the trap laid out for us that will forever relinquish us in the ghetto where we would live up to our streotypes and where targetting us would be easier!

Ours is a multifacted fight and it is pity that the rank and file of the NDP cannot see the worthiness of our struggle. We are standing up for the seperation of religion and state; against the privitisation of our judicial system; attacking the concept of citizenship based on inherited religion; resisting the tempation of sliding towards apartheid light; and refusing to quit while facing huge obstacles.

The unholy alliance of Jewish and Islamic fundamnetalists may suceed; they may very well win, but some of us will sleep better in that we did not give up easy despite being abandoned by the very party we relied on.

Tarek


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 12:57 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Tarek Fatah: Here is the position of the Muslim Canadian Congress as expressed by its Secretary Niaz Salimi in a letter to the Toronto Star.

She is of Iranian ancestry and is quite aware of the real intentions of the proponents of sharia.


Real intentions of the proponents of sharia ?
If there is something sinister, would she care share with us ? Islamizing Canada ? An Ayatollah on Sussex Drive ?


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 01:25 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Tarek Fatah: I have always been against this nonsense of bringing divine laws into the judicial system, and that too by people who cannot be questioned by a parliamentary committee.

.....In fact, had I as a Muslim even raised a finger at Rabbinical Courts without first attacking Shariah courts, I would have been accused of being anti-Semetic.


This is baffling. Hadn't the sharia arbitration issue emerged, Tarek would have simply kept quite on the 'nonsense of bringing divine laws into the judicial system', against which he always has been !

Well, that might be justified by Tarek's fear of being accused of anti-semitism.

But "privatization of the judicial system" that Tarek mentions as his other reason to oppose sharia arbitration has taken place in 1991. He kept silent then... until the sharia issue emerged. What is the reason for such silence ?

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 01:36 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
You are making unfair asumptions based on ignorance.
No, I am asking questions to resolve my obvious ignorance of internal Muslim politics.

quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
In fact, had I as a Muslim even raised a finger at Rabbinical Courts without first attacking Shariah courts, I would have been accused of being anti-Semetic.
That may be true. But, if you are not anti-Semitic, you shouldn't let unjust accusations stand in your way. You may very well have always been against government sanctioned religious law. But, my question was not "If Tarek knew then what he knows now, would he have spoken out against the Beit Din?" I wanted to know if the issue of religious arbitration is something that entered your conciousness at the time, or if your opinion was formulated once you saw the prospect of sharia law creeping up on you?

quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
Why would rabbincial courts be considered better than Islamic ones? There is no case for such double standards.
I am not arguing that the implementation of sharia in Ontario is or is not harmful. I don't know. But, I am not aware of any substantive compalaints against the Beit Din. So, I don't see any reason to get rid of it. But, if sharia is as sinister as you suggest, maybe it should not be adopted.

quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
Some of us Muslims do not wish to fall into the trap laid out for us that will forever relinquish us in the ghetto where we would live up to our streotypes and where targetting us would be easier!
So, why not establish your own liberal sharia court as someone else suggested. Wouldn't that be a way to break the stereotype while maintaining religious practice? Seems like a pretty good made-in-Canada solution to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
The unholy alliance of Jewish and Islamic fundamnetalists may suceed; they may very well win, but some of us will sleep better in that we did not give up easy despite being abandoned by the very party we relied on.
Maybe you relied on the wrong party for the wrong reasons? Maybe your alliance with the NDP was just as unholy and self-serving as the one between "Jewish and Islamic fundamnetalists." Maybe that's why they didn't feel any particular loyalty to you, just like Jewish and Muslim proponents of sharia in Ontario will probably not feel any particular loyalty to each other after their nearly inevitable success.

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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 02:00 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The simplest example here is the disposition of children, who might be affected, in a family arbitration, in ways that the ordinary system may not affect them. It may ultimately be stamped as a fair settlement...but the procedure is different. There may be many fair settlements, but how much the children may participate it in it may be different.

Another example would be where a someone seeks to use the ordinary justice system, but extreme cultural and social pressure is brought to bear to use an alternative system, spurred on by the example of others. Particularly when it is shown to give beneficial (but narrowly fair) results to one side or ther other. So the example of others in their choices has an effect.

Just two simple ways.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 02:34 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos wrote:

quote:

Actually, you are partially mischaracterizing Tarek. He is against the privatization of the justice systemm, which all three kinds of courts represent.

Phonicidal replied:

quote:
I wonder if that ever occured to him before the prospect of sharia courts materialized.

Tarek arrives. And while Phonicidal meant the privatization, Tarek did not talk about that:

quote:
Tarek quotes Phonicidal:
I wonder if that ever occured to him before the prospect of sharia courts materialized.


quote:

Tarek: You are making unfair asumptions based on ignorance. I have always been against this nonsense of bringing divine laws into the judicial system, and that too by people who cannot be questioned by a parliamentary committee. Last I know, God has not yet allowed himself to be questioned at Queen's Park...

Again, since Tarek's concern is the 'privatization of the justice system' and since that has been enacted in 1991, did that concern occur to him before the porspect of sharia courts materialized ? Why 13 years of silence ?

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 02:38 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think it's actually reasonable to object to a law after you've seen it reaching its consequence, so I'm not sure if Tarek has something to answer for.
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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 03:02 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So mandos, the consequence of privatization of the judicial system is the establishment of sharia arbitration. It made us realize where privatization has led us!

This is islamophobia.

Tarek is certainly free to answer or not. But generally when one is presenting an issue and seeking support, it would be nice to answer people's questions. After all Tarek himself opened this thread, Mandos.

By the way, Canon tribunals are as old as Canada. But again, only when we saw the ugly head of sharia, we realized how deep in trouble we are.

The MCC seems to be following a convoluted path, no, rather maze of arguments amassed haphazardly as they become available. It is not even clear what is or are the real arguments and I doubt the MCC knows them either. They shift, they morphe, they are neither synchronized nor aligned in time or space. They are neither articulate nor sound.

That is why Tarek's help to clarify seems to me of some potential benefits.


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radiorahim
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posted 03 January 2005 03:02 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The CCMW is in my view an elitist group of professionals. Their position is that the rest of the Muslim women are not capable of making their own decisions, unlike the leaders and members of the elite class, of course.

lacabombi the CCMW has raised some substantive issues here and instead of dealing with the issues raised you shoot the messenger.

As one who is trying to keep an open mind on this issue this isn't a line of argument that's going to win me over.

In what way(s) do you feel that Marion Boyd's report has dealt with these issues?

quote:
Who appointed this elite group to talk on behalf of all Muslim women is beyond me.

From the CCMW website:

quote:
We acknowledge that CCMW is one voice amongst many who speak on behalf of Muslim women and that there are others who may represent differing perspectives.

The CCMW isn't claiming to represent "all Muslim women"...simply a particular point of view within the community.

quote:
We are in Canada and I should not be protected from my own choice.

There are all kinds of situations in this country where we see fit to protect people from making bad decisions.

quote:
Would you care to show me how others can be affected by my choice.

I think Mandros has done an adequate job of that.


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 03:22 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I find calling it Islamophobia a bit rich, and it's starting to smell like the "selfhating Jew" racket.

Tarek feels that this impinges on him and people he knows in a personal way, because of the behaviour and claims of the likes of Mumtaz Ali. It is reasonable to object to the imposition of Ali's brand of sharia court for that reason. There is nothing that Marion Boyd can do to eliminate all the internal social effects on the community of giving state legitimacy to Ali's project.

If on the way Tarek discovers or realizes or notices once again the privatization of the justice system inherent therein, and thus seeks to remove it in all cases, this is not something blameworthy.

I have a long record on babble of being fairly sensitive to Islamophobia being Muslim myself. And there are opponents of the sharia court whom I also oppose because they are Islamophobes. But Tarek is not one of them.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 09:55 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos,

I said islamophobia in the sense of fear and rejection of the practice of islam, namely sharia, not fear and rejection of Muslims. I know that Tarek, the MCC and the CCMW are Muslim.

While inclusion of some Sunna (sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed), and some interpretation of sharia (all some centuries old)are debatable and may totally lack credibility, sharia itself is not un-islamic as Prof Taj Hashmi claims. When the Qur'an prohibits interest (such as on loans), gambling, stacking of weight-scales by merchants, exploiting workers, there must be some forum to administer such laws, at least at that time.

Anyway,

The logic pursued by the opponents of sharia arbitration is that Muslim women are vulnerable, mostly uneducated, non-informed of their rights, prone to be coerced and pressured by the community, threatened of being ostracized and would accept decisions unfair to them. They must be protected through banning of sharia arbitration.

Following such logic, why not simply prohibit Muslim women from getting married period. Since they might be coerced into an arranged marriage, pressured into it or threatened of being ostracized etc..


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 11:29 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lacabombi, I have to challenge you on two turfs:

First, the "we are in Canada, so ..." turf:

Quite right. We are in Canada, and so we have to defend the basic principles of democracy. It is a mindless notion of democracy, feeding right into the wet-dreams of the neo-cons, that democracy consists in nothing more than voting and exercising endless, value-neutral "choice."

As radiorahim has said, democrats believe in principle and for practical reasons as well in protecting people from certain kinds of choices, especially when they may have a broader social impact, as the impoverishment of women and children certainly would have.

Second, the sniffy dismissals of the women of the CCMW:

Would each of the men present like to give us a personal social-class profile?

There are a lot of men present, aren't there.

I would love to hear from some other Muslim women who would be supporters of private arbitration of matters that might affect them. I would love to hear from Catholic or Jewish women who support similar parallel private systems.

You ask, lacabombi, why none of us spoke up against the Arbitration Act before, and I must confess, for myself, anyway, that I had only the fuzziest idea that the state had authorized such panels for any confessional group.

Like Mandos, I suspect that there will continue to be some kinds of social pressure within closed groups that no laws we can devise can lift directly or immediately -- that has long been true of other groups in Canada -- in fact, we have a sometimes horrifying history of committing worse wrongs when we have tried to intervene suddenly and insensitively, as with the Sons of Freedom Doukhobors.

At the same time, we should not be writing new laws that authorize communities to defy the most basic principles of the Charter, to whose protections every Canadian citizen -- and, in my view, every living human being -- should be able to appeal.

This has been an interesting discussion, and it has helped me to arrive at a clearer position of my own, now in firm opposition to the Arbitration Act as a whole.

I do wish we could hear from more of the women likely to be affected, though.


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 January 2005 11:40 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Skdadl I am not a woman nor been involved in the arbitration process directly but would like to relay a story about the religious court in Jerusalem from the early 1980's involving the granting of a Get or Jewish Religious divorce.

My brother's partner told me this story and it involves his aunt.

The orthodox religious court at that time would only hear from men with regards to the granting of a religious divorce. The husband did not want a divorce, the wife did.

The wife in this case was not going to be listened to because woman had no standing. The court called for a male immediate family member to speak on her behalf.

The problem is that she had no living male immediate relatives. All she had was an Aunt.

The Aunt had to petition the court, provide evidence that she was the sole relative alive who could advocate on the woman's behalf and wait while the judges decided to see if she would be heard.

Now the Aunt was heard, the divorce granted etc.

But I always wonder what would have happened if the Aunt was not alive, able and willing to go to Jerusalem to fight for her niece.

I am no expert on Sharia but to those who know. Could this type of situation exist if it is implemented? Do both men and woman have equal standing?


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Tarek Fatah
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posted 03 January 2005 03:20 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by johnpauljones:
Skdadl I am not a woman nor been involved in the arbitration process directly but would like to relay a story about the religious court in Jerusalem from the early 1980's involving the granting of a Get or Jewish Religious divorce.

This report from 2000 in New York may be of interest to all of you whi have not been exposed to the inner worlings of Rabbinical Courts.

-----------------
February 16, 2000

HASIDIC WIFE FIGHTS BACK;
SUES RABBIS WHO BRANDED HER CRAZY

By Jessica Graham
New York Post

Helen Chayie Sieger says she is everything a good Hasidic wife should be. She covers her head with a strawberry-brown wig. She wears dark, conservative clothes that cover her arms and legs. And every month in the 24 years of her married life, she attended a mikva -- a ritual bath that purifies a woman for sexual relations with her husband after her menstrual period.

"I am an Orthodox woman," said the 46-year-old Sieger, a resident of Borough Park and an operator of several Brooklyn nursing homes. "I kept a kosher home. I followed the law."

But that's not what 100 powerful rabbis from three countries say in a document they signed at her husband's request. It's called a heter meah rabonim, and it grants a husband a de facto divorce and declares his wife insane. So powerful is this ancient Jewish decree that it has tarnished Sieger's reputation and caused her to be ostracized in her Hasidic community.

"Since the heter was issued, I haven't had too many invitations to go to weddings or any other affairs," she said. "There was one invitation that I RSVP'd, but three days before the ceremony I got a call saying, Please don't come.' I didn't have to ask why."

Desperate, she has reluctantly chosen to seek redress outside the Jewish courts -- a risk few Hasidic women have taken. "It destroyed my life," she said. "I've always been a private person, and it pains me to go outside my community. But I've been left with no choice."

Sieger's case, which is being heard in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, sheds light on a Jewish legal procedure that she and others claim is being grossly abused by a group of Hasidic rabbis.

Her struggle began in 1995, when her two grown children were married with their own families and she decided to leave her husband, Chaim, 48, after years of unhappiness.

"A divorce is a very painful thing to have to go through," Helen Sieger said. "I had a very difficult married life, but I waited until my children were married off, appropriately. The children of a divorced woman often have trouble finding mates in my community. " On a routine basis, an Orthodox husband who wants a divorce from his wife must ask a rabbinical court to issue a document called a get.

Chaim Sieger and the rabbinical court said that Helen refused to accept a get -- and it was on this count that they based the issuance of the heter. Helen says, however, that she did agree to arbitration in the Jewish tribunal -- but that her husband had the heter written up in order to avoid an official proceeding.

Helen Sieger alleges her husband bribed members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis with $50,000 to issue the false document, which claimed she was "not fit to live with or have sexual relations with."

The document also said Helen had "turned her house into an insane asylum," basically declared her meshuggah, or crazy, and was certified by rabbis whom she'd never met.
The damaging statements about Helen were published in Jewish communities in New York and Israel in January 1998, before she learned of the heter's existence from people in her neighborhood.

As a result, clients refused to deal with Helen, and a kosher resort in the Catskills turned her away -- all because of the Jewish document, the court papers say.

Most damaging was her husband's allegation that she refused to go to a mikva.

"It ruined my chances for remarriage -- ever," she said. "I'm Orthodox, and I'll only marry an Orthodox man. But what kind of Orthodox man would marry a woman who has never been to the mikva? If you can't trust me to go to the mikva, then the food in my house is probably not kosher.

"Basically, they're saying that I'm not a real Orthodox person." The heter left Chaim Sieger free to remarry immediately. His new wife is eight months pregnant. The couple lives just a few blocks from Helen Sieger's house. Helen took her case to secular court only after she thought she could find no redress in her own community.

State Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld last week denied the rabbis' motion to dismiss Helen's claims of libel and emotional distress -- setting in motion her quest to clear her name through the American legal system and seek up to $11 million in damages.

Experts agree that the heter meah rabonim is used too widely in New York's Hasidic community as leverage for men who want their wives to agree to a divorce on their terms.

Rabbi David Bleich, professor at Cardozo School of Law and an expert on the Talmud -- the book of Jewish civil and religious law -- said that no one has an accurate picture of the number of heters issued in New York, but he added that "the statistics indicate abuse." But Bleich believes such cases belong in the Jewish community, and should be left for the rabbis to decide.

"If the rabbis accepted bribes, that's very, very serious, and this issue could be settled almost immediately in rabbinical court," he said. "There is a prohibition in Jewish law against review in secular courts. And the Constitution says there must be a barrier between church and state."

Feminist groups in Orthodox circles have applauded Helen Sieger for stepping out of their world and seeking justice in the secular court. Nadine Brodsky, founder of Jewish Women for Justice, a Brooklyn-based advocacy group for Hasidic women, said that the misuse of the heter is "widespread."

"There's fraud going on, and it's an abuse of our system," Brodsky said. "If you can pay for a heter, you can get it. It's very common and, unfortunately, no one talks about it, because they're afraid. Anyone who voices dissent will be shot down.

"The heter is being used today to hurt people," she said, explaining that a woman left with the choice of a heter or a get that gives her no financial compensation will often choose to be penniless rather than see her name smeared.

"To go to secular court is considered the greatest offense a Jewish person can commit," Brodsky said.

The rabbis named in the Sieger case refused requests for interviews. But Nathan Lewin, a lawyer for the rabbis, said his clients are "highly respected," in the Hasidic community and that Helen Sieger's accusations are false.

"It is very alarming when someone turns around and sues rabbis for doing what rabbis do," he said.

Helen said she hopes her case will help other women who she claims have been maligned through the rabbinical court. She also hopes that her suit will not give all rabbis a bad name -- but will help to weed out what she sees as a small, yet powerful, pocket of corruption.

Although feminist groups have contacted her and tried to take on her case, she has refused their help, because she says her struggle is a personal one.

She hopes to live and die in Borough Park, among her people.

"I was raised in an Orthodox community all my life. I don't see a reason to leave," she said. "I need to clear my name and stay in my community."


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 03:49 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Uhh, Tarek, yet again that's a complete article.
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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 03:59 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Helen Sieger: God bless, and God speed.

Tarek, I couldn't get through that article without crying.

And you're right. We can't let that happen here. Sign me up.

Oh, God, we're going backwards. And whenever rights are lost, it's women who lose them first. This should never have been allowed.


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:05 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Second, the sniffy dismissals of the women of the CCMW:

Would each of the men present like to give us a personal social-class profile?

There are a lot of men present, aren't there.


Let me put it this way: I have personal experience with this matter. Most of the women I know of my mother's generation are professional-ish upper/middle class immigrants who are secure in their Muslim identities and whose main problem was to fit in to NA society. Not much, in this regard, different from the men. A lot of the women of my generation are women who grew up here and whose main problem was "finding an Islamic identity," not fitting in. I do notice that the former sort of treat the latter, particularly when the latter put on hijab and become overtly religious sharia types, in a kind of condescending way.

Then there are immigrant women who come from "more conservative" backgrounds then the older professional women I mentioned above. I think that there is some condescension regarding them too.

I sometimes read CCMW newsletters and know people who are either members or who support them or who quit and don't like them. I can only conclude by looking at the sort of people who are alienated by them that they really do represent the "upper class professional" demographic above, and that they are a little condescending without realizing it. At the same time, I sympathize with them in that I also don't really like the "self-help" identity-seeking sort of religious practice.

BTW, this same dynamic exists among men as well, but it's a lot more overt among Muslim women. I know people who compare hijab-wearing young women to punks.

quote:
I would love to hear from some other Muslim women who would be supporters of private arbitration of matters that might affect them. I would love to hear from Catholic or Jewish women who support similar parallel private systems.
Mumtaz Ali does have female supporters/assistants, and you can see them sometimes quoted when the issue is brought up on TV. Aside from that, you are unlikely to see such women on babble, because it would largely be a waste of their time.

I can attempt to approximate the argument they might make: they do not consider the ideal of Western material equality to be satisfactory to them, and believe that following Muslim personal law provides the true equality that comes with taking into account the God-given natures of men and women. That the legal abuse of women that happens in "sharia-based" countries cannot happen here, as this is Canada and as Canadians they are unencumbered by the cultural (ie, nonIslamic) predilections of those countries that influences the legal systems there. That these arbitration boards have external systems to take care of such cultural residues, and with that they believe that the results will be fair.

That Western legal systems are subject to abuse as well, and that a sharia system takes into account their identity and social context in a multicultural society. That they've put a lot of effort into the Muslim community themselves, and think that the Muslim community is better off self-governing as much as possible rather than being influenced by a state that officially embraces materialist equality arguments. And so on.


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 January 2005 04:08 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am sure that their are woman like Helen in every community out there regardless of religion or location.

I am amazed at how in the span of a couple of hours another story like the one I referrenced earlier was brought to our attention.

I only wish that I could have written as eliquently as the reporter did in relaying the story of Helen.

Very simply are all religious courts like this? Are there any safeguards that the government could put in place when it enshrines if it enshrines Sharia in Ontario?

Lastly, what is the appeal process with Sharia? Can a case go back to the civil authorities or is it either Religious Court or Civil Court at the beginning.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 04:08 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

skdadl:As radiorahim has said, democrats believe in principle and for practical reasons as well in protecting people from certain kinds of choices, especially when they may have a broader social impact, as the impoverishment of women and children certainly would have.

skdadl, I have suggested that we prohibit or at least "screen" Muslim women's marriages for the very reason mentioned by the opponents of sharia arbitration and in the same time pluck out a few potentially abusive marriages. Somehow nobody had a take on this.

As for the social and economic impacts of sharia arbitration, we are only presuming that such arbitration would flout the standards we have in Ontario family law, an issue already addressed by Boyd's report.

skdadl, I am surprised that you are defending depriving people of their rights on the basis of their own interest or some undefined social and economic impacts. I heard soomething similar to this from the opponents of same sex marriage.


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 04:09 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Quoted by Tarek Fatah:
She also hopes that her suit will not give all rabbis a bad name -- but will help to weed out what she sees as a small, yet powerful, pocket of corruption.
Maybe we should respect this woman's wish and not try to pass off this "pocket of corruption" as the norm within rabbinical courts. I don't deny that it is a troubling story. But, your single example, beside the fact that it is not a Canadian example, doesn't really demonstrate a problem as "widespread" as some of the people quoted in the article seem to think. It may actually represent a triumph in that the secular legal system is still being looked to for oversight.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: Phonicidal ]


From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 04:14 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos, lacabombi, and others, I'm sure: please explain to me, a flawed and imperfect woman of a certain age who knows in her nervous system the value of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: for a Muslim woman in Canada, what is not to like about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:19 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, here's a really obvious example: for some religiously conservative women (not just Muslims!), that it can be read in such a way that SSM can be seen as a right suggests that it really isn't a document in keeping with divine truth as expressed in scripture and Nature. I mean, as they say, it's man-made law. Therefore, it creates the conditions in Canadian society that are corrupting to children in that children are not exposed to a clear and unambiguous public morality. Following Islamic law takes into account more than material equality.

I am skeptical that Sharia as proposed by Ali is really divine law based on clear scripture, and so in the CCMW. And rightly so.

In any case, Ali has come up with many interpretations of the Charter that show (according to him!) that it is perfectly good document for permitting Islamic law to be practiced in Canada in the Muslim community as an aspect of religious freedom...


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:21 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know a young Muslim mother or two who were very angry that the Ont Libs proposed to take away tax breaks for private schools, because they were afraid of raising their kids in secular schools. Like that. Some Muslim women see Islamic law, etc, etc, as ways of insulating themselves and their children within an Islamic microcosm and thus maintaining a public morality of their own. Many of these are women born and raised here.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: Mandos ]


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 04:22 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm sorry: I've lost track: who is Ali?
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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:24 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Syed Mumtaz Ali, the first Muslim lawyer admitted to the bar in Canada, who has for a couple of decades been the prime mover behind the Muslim personal/family law movement.
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WingNut
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posted 03 January 2005 04:25 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Having read all this I return to my original position: No religious courts, arbitration, what have you. A large part of this reversal is the argument about privatizing the justice system. I hadn't thought of that aspect.
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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 04:27 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
I know a young Muslim mother or two who were very angry that the Ont Libs proposed to take away tax breaks for private schools, because they were afraid of raising their kids in secular schools. Like that. Some Muslim women see Islamic law, etc, etc, as ways of insulating themselves and their children within an Islamic microcosm and thus maintaining a public morality of their own. Many of these are women born and raised here.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: Mandos ]



Och, weel. We have hit a bottom line there.

The "taking away" that matters in a democracy is the money that is taken away from the public school system.

I don't advocate forcing closed groups into the public system. But no self-respecting democrat can agree to take public money out of the public system and encourage the growth of private systems.

Sorry, Mandos, but that is just not on. I would be happy to be instructed in useful ways of discussing this issue with dissenters -- or not -- but democracy is my bottom line.


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 04:28 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
for a Muslim woman in Canada, what is not to like about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
I don't know if the sharia courts necessarily would violated the Charter. If it can be shown that it will, then I can't defend it. But, I see it as a voluntary restriction on one's self. Such restrictions are not against the law, but an addendum. And, they ought to be consistent with the Charter.

For example, it is against the law to drive with a certain blood alcohol level. But, some people may choose to restrict themselves, by not drinking at all, to 0.00%. That's not what the law requires, but neither is it against the Charter to refrain from drinking.

In the same way, a Muslim can choose to restrict themselves by their personal interpretation of sharia, or by somebody elses in sharia courts (or not at all). The law should not require them to do so, but it shouldn't prevent them from doing so either (provided that the rulings do remain consistent with the Charter).


From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:32 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, I was only bringing that up as an example of the mentality. The religious courts are also part of this complex: the desire to set up systems that maintain public morality in a legal environment that puts material equality over the spiritual equality mediated through public morality. Schools, laws, etc.

The problem for young Muslim mothers is affordability of the private schools; they are run at cost and backed up by nonprofits but it's still pretty expensive. But that's an aside.

You asked for the mentality as I saw it, and I explained it as I have observed it, attempting to limit my own prejudices in this.


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 04:36 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos: why are you attempting to restrain expression of your own prejudices?
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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 04:38 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Mandos: why are you attempting to restrain expression of your own prejudices?
Maybe because he hopes to see others will also restrain theirs?

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:39 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Because I am not a conservative Muslim woman, but I want to try to give the fairest airing of their perspective on this given your question, seeing as we do not have conservative Muslim women on babble.

I also do give my views clearly marked off as mine. Also, there was a lot of my own perspective given prior to your question.


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:39 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Phon: No, that's not what I meant.
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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 04:42 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
BTW, some of these women are quite feminist in other ways. They certainly don't believe that men ever have the right to abuse women, they have professional educations and careers of their own and hope their daughters have them too, and so on. So I also don't want to provide a caricature of them. They believe that Muslim law, in its ideal state, is a Perfect Balance of material and spiritual equality.
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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 04:47 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
Phon: No, that's not what I meant.

And I understand that, anyway, Mandos. Thank you.

I must digest and think for a bit.

Phon: My prejudice is that democracy is not a prejudice. Yes, it's easy for me to say that, but I think I'm also capable of distancing myself enough to conclude that that proposition is also true.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 05:28 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos,

You are talking about sharia as interpreted by Syed Mumtaz Ali.

I wish to ask you this question:

Is the sharia arbitration -if finally appproved-going to be a monopoly for Mmtaz Ali ?

In other words, is it or is it not true that competition is possible, that other arbitrators can open shop and bring in progressive interpretations ?

Am I wrong, Mandos (or whoever wishes to answer) ?

This is just for purposes of clarification. Apparently many here believe that it is going to be a court (monopoly) and no other alternative within sharia interpretors. This is not so.

Islam has no central authority (and anyone learned in islamic studies can hang up shingles as arbitrator and interpret sharia, rejecting the anachronic and paving the way for modern, Canadian-law and Charter compatible sharia.

This explains the proliferation from time to time of fatwas (religious legal advice, decision..) sometimes contradicting one another etc.. Pick whatever best suits you. Still and always Muslim in good standing. Beauty and diversity of Islam.

The way opponents of sharia are presenting the issue leaves with the impression that Ontario will have religious courts for Muslims. Nonsense.


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radiorahim
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posted 03 January 2005 05:31 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
skdadl, I have suggested that we prohibit or at least "screen" Muslim women's marriages for the very reason mentioned by the opponents of sharia arbitration and in the same time pluck out a few potentially abusive marriages.

Sorry, but this "well you could get run over by a truck tomorrow" style of presenting your case doesn't do anything for me.

quote:
As for the social and economic impacts of sharia arbitration, we are only presuming that such arbitration would flout the standards we have in Ontario family law, an issue already addressed by Boyd's report.

Again, I ask how?


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 05:36 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As I understand it, there will be a board---Dar ul-Qada---that will be managing it, and Mumtaz Ali is the one who has been setting it up. I could be wrong, but he is the main driver of this and his site describes the infrastructure he has helped create.

If there are multiple boards, or multiple perspectives in that board, then I would say that there is still a long-term effect from the original intellectual and institutional infrastructure that Ali has generated in that it still sets up internal and external relations of the Muslim community in a certain way.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 05:42 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Radiorahim: Sorry, but this "well you could get run over by a truck tomorrow" style of presenting your case doesn't do anything for me.

You still have not answered the question, radiorahim.

The arguments are the same: Muslim women can be coerced into accepting unfair arbitration, ban them from entering sharia arbitration. Muslim women can also be coerced into arranged marriages: ban them from contracting marriage.

What do you say, radiorahim, besides just scoffing with your above comment ?

Others would care to answer ? skdadl, you are surely informed about the impacts of forced, loveless and possible abusive marriages.

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
Muslim women can be coerced into accepting unfair arbitration, ban them from entering sharia arbitration. Muslim women can also be coerced into arranged marriages: ban them from contracting marriage.
"Unfair" is not always the same as "illegal." To the best of my knowledge a person cannot legally agree to illegal treatment. But, they can legally agree to be treated "unfairly."

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Mr. Magoo
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posted 03 January 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've asked a similar thing. If the root cause of the potential problems with Islamic tribunals is the possibility of undue influence from fanatical fundamentalists, why is nobody talking, seriously, about halting fanatical fundamentalism then? Why focus on only one of many, many areas where it must be causing harm?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 05:57 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
they can legally agree to be treated "unfairly."

IANAL, but I believe this to be untrue, or at least I believe that, if it were played out in the courts, it would be repudiated.

As soon as people "allow" themselves to be treated unfairly in certain ways, the state legitimately has an interest in what has happened.

That would be most obviously true if any individual, and especially if children as well, were to be impoverished, and thus become dependents on the state.


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
As soon as people "allow" themselves to be treated unfairly in certain ways, the state legitimately has an interest in what has happened.
I put "unfairly" in quotes because the term is up for interpretation. The state does not have an interest unless the particular agreement is found to be, in fact, unfair enough to make it illegal.

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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 06:06 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
skdadl, you are surely informed about the impacts of forced, loveless and possible abusive marriages.

lacabombi, I confess that I am not sure what you are asking me here.

All I can say is ... yes and no. Yes, in so far as I have read of such marriages, as we all did above in Tarek's post; and in so far as I have known of many other desperate situations, directly and indirectly, where my support was needed mainly to get women to safe havens.

But personally, no. We fought so hard to convince women that they did not have to put themselves in such situations, or that they would always have help from us in getting out of them. It makes me weep to think that that struggle must go on ... But ... I guess it does.

I know something of abuse, lacabombi, but it was in a different context, definitely not loveless. Sometimes, when people get old, we must become braver than usual.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 03 January 2005 06:08 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For clarity's sake, does one agree to be treated unfairly, or does one simply agree to take the chance of such?

In a secular world, you can agree to let Judge Wapner of the People's Court decide your case. You don't agree beforehand to unfair treatment, but you agree to respect the judge's decision, and you essentially agree to take the chance that his decision will be (or seem to you) unfair.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 06:08 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Phonicidal:
I put "unfairly" in quotes because the term is up for interpretation. The state does not have an interest unless the particular agreement is found to be, in fact, unfair enough to make it illegal.

Do you seriously think that Canadian courts are going to sit there pondering what "unfair enough" means, Phonicidal?

Ontario Family Law says that spouses are equal. Punkt. Full stop. Point. She gets half. Live with it.


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 06:13 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh, please. Some other women. Why am I the only woman holding the fort on this thread? Why?

Periyar? Please come back, Periyar?


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 06:50 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
For clarity's sake, does one agree to be treated unfairly, or does one simply agree to take the chance of such?
Good point. But, given the current landscape, one might be forgiven for expecting the treatment to be unfair.

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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 06:53 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
By "the current landscape," Phonicidal, I take it that you are referring to what happens to Orthodox Jewish women who agree to such arbitration?
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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 06:55 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Do you seriously think that Canadian courts are going to sit there pondering what "unfair enough" means, Phonicidal?
Isn't that something that Judges do all the time? Judges have any discretion? Don't they decide things like how many phone calls constitute harasment as opposed to annoyance? When it comes to criminal law, they have discretion in sentencing. So, would't a secular Judge hearing a woman who believed that she was treated unfairly by the sharia court have some discretion in deciding if her treatment was, in fact, illegal?

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radiorahim
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posted 03 January 2005 06:59 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
You still have not answered the question, radiorahim.

Quite honestly I do not know what your question is.

A question I have tried to pose for you is "How has the Boyd report addressed the issues raised by the CCMW with regard to Sharia arbitration?"

I think that's a clear question.

I have also said that Canadian tradition is not quite as "secular" as Tarek Fatah and others have said it is. There are publicly-funded non-secular institutions such as separate schools in Ontario. There are also things like "sentencing circles" that have been introduced in the aboriginal communities as an alternative justice system.

Group and collective rights are part of the Canadian tradition.

Out of that tradition there may be some room for Sharia arbitration. However, in my mind the CCMW and others have raised some very particular and in my view very valid concerns. The issues they raise make me feel very uncomfortable about the introduction of Sharia arbitration.

Its quite true that we don't live in a perfect society. But I do not want to make things worse for what I perceive as a vulnerable part of society.

Referring to CCMW as "elitist" and raising false analogies does not raise my comfort level. If someone could explain to me how poor working class Muslim women would be better off in this proposed new arbitration system then I might be more comfortable with it.


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 06:59 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Judges are disciplined by principle and principled precedent, Phonicidal.

Unlike you, apparently.

And the principles of Ontario Family Law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are pretty clear as regards the full humanity of women and their equal rights.


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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 06:59 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
By "the current landscape," Phonicidal, I take it that you are referring to what happens to Orthodox Jewish women who agree to such arbitration?
And, what does happen to Orthodox Jewish women? It sounds like you are making a gross generalization based on one or two cases that have been cited.

But, no. I was referring to the leadership behind the current push for sharia courts. I think that their perceived unfairness is the big problem here. If the sharia courts were being run by more liberal Muslims, maybe there wouldn't be such a stink being made about them.


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skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 07:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tarek, you have my support.
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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 07:03 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Judges are disciplined by principle and principled precedent, Phonicidal. Unlike you, apparently.
What in God's name do you mean by that? I think you've admitted that you're not a lawyer. And, none of us have reliable ESP. So, maybe you should stop assuming that decisions made by sharia courts will necessarily be against the law.

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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 07:34 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We have mediation and arbitration in Ontario Labour law. There are roasters of mediators and arbitrators and the litigants and/or their legal representatives choose and both agree on a mediator/arbittrator.

sharia arbitration is no different. A roaster can be drawn and people can choose.


Phonicidal raises the very good point:

quote:
Phonicidal: If the sharia courts were being run by more liberal Muslims, maybe there wouldn't be such a stink being made about them.

(Again I emphasize: it is not a court. It is an arbitration service."Court" implies a monopoly.)

Phonicidal, other arbitration services are possible, even inevitable. If opponents are motivated by fear of conservative interpretations, they can open their own or encourage others to open arbitration services that will provide progressive interpretations. But that does not seem to be the answer for them. They morphed their concern to one regarding "privatizing the justice system".

I can only conclude that their target is sharia, period. Not conservative interpretations, not progressive ones. And if that means demanding that the arbitration Act be abolished, so be it. If that means that Jews and Christians and possibly others must loose their religious/cultural channels, so be it.

Mind you I have never read anything other than opposition to sharia prior to Marion Boyd's report.

After the report, new arguments were improvised.
This "no compromise, no sharia of any kind, at any cost" troubles me.

What is next ?

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 January 2005 07:46 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And if that means demanding that the arbitration Act be abolished, so be it. If that means that Jews and Christians and possibly others must loose their religious/cultural channels, so be it.

Agreed.

The equality of women is not up for negotiation.


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Tarek Fatah
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posted 03 January 2005 07:55 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:

The equality of women is not up for negotiation.


Neither is the privitisation of Canada's judicial system in the hands of clergy masquerading as providers of alternate service providers.

Here is another perspective by a Muslim woman; my daughter, Natasha Fatah who works for CBC in Windsor.

One Law for All

By Natasha Fatah
CBC News Viewpoint
CBC News Viewpoint


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 08:29 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
skddl
The equality of women is not up for negotiation.

I believe we are confusing equality and sameness.

Muslim women -if they wish to practice their faith and seek sharia arbitration- need not be forced to shed their Muslimness in order to be equal to others, women or men.

Such understanding of equality is erroneous.

Indeed it has been argued before the Supreme Court of Canada that Sikhs in the RCMP should not wear turbans but rather don the "neutral" (you may say secular) hat worn by RCMP officers. The argument failed.

Sameness is not equality.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 08:33 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
One Law for All

One RCMP hat for all.

"Not so", ruled the Supreme Court of Canada.


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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 09:08 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is
a law
a hat?

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Mandos
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posted 03 January 2005 09:13 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As for Phonicidal and Orthodox women, indeed a few cases is highly important. In medecine, a small number of unnecessary deaths is all it takes (or should) for systems to be radically reexamined, products to be pulled, etc, etc. Similarly, a small number of miscarriages of justice ought to be a trigger for reexamination of legal processes. A few Orthodox women indeed!
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Phonicidal
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posted 03 January 2005 09:50 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
[QB]As for Phonicidal and Orthodox women, indeed...a small number of miscarriages of justice ought to be a trigger for reexamination of legal processes.[QB]
Reexamination, or closer scrutiny maybe. But, not elimination.

If we are talking about the legality of sharia in Ontario the positivity or negativity of these women's experiences is not really the (secular) Court's concern. That is, unless there is good reason to believe that negativity which crosses the line into illegality is inevitable.

I actually see the two examples here as initially unfortunate, but ultimately positive. It may not have been resolved yet, but the case in New York demonstrates that the civil law is still dominant. And at the risk of sparking a fire by using the "I" word), it's my understanding that men in Israel who refuse to give their wives a get can be jailed because their actions are so harmful to their wives.

In both cases the people running the Batei Din seem to have acted improperly (and maybe illegally) according to secular and Jewish law. And, they should be admonished, maybe prosecuted, for doing so. But, if you find a crooked cop, you don't fire the whole police force. You don't abandon the system, you fix it.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 January 2005 10:08 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Mandos: Is the law a hat ?

No, Mandos, the law is not a hat. I wrote "One hat for all" after I have written the (backgroud) context for my saying that.

But you evidently could not counter-argue what I have presented, so you scoffed with your question.
Convenient, isn't it ?

[ 03 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


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salaam
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posted 04 January 2005 12:09 AM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tareq:
Why don't you just go ahead and say the Quran is "un-Islamic". After all, it was assembled in its present form only after the prophet's death, from documents written by men. The Arabic language itself is man-made!

Quranic verses are just pretty words if you take them out of the context in which they were revealed. The same with the Sunna. The Quran is not supposed to be some mystic text. Islam didn't just drop down from the sky in one neat package. It was revealed gradually according to the situation of the people at that time, with needs much like our own. When someone says Islamic law is applicable for all places and all times, it means it must be understood and applied in a way that is relevant for the time and place concerned, just as it was the first time.

Applying family law without Islam's strict laws protecting an individuals dignity creates a very cruel system. Ignorance and abuse of these laws makes Shari'a look a sensless backward system, instead of the fair, equitable and progressive system it is meant to be.

But in the present, when Moslems are divided and persecuted for their beliefs, despite their numbers, when they don't even control the resources to feed themselves, I think they have much more fundamental problems and more pressing concerns than Shari'a courts.


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Phonicidal
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posted 04 January 2005 12:37 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
Quranic verses are just pretty words if you take them out of the context in which they were revealed.
Silly kafir question: Can't somebody live as a Muslim and not necessarily believe that the Qur'an was revealed by Allah? Just because they don't take the Qur'an or Sunna litterally doesn't mean that they are not a Muslim, does it? You may not be accusing Tarek of that, but some people probably wrongly make that accusation.

quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
Applying family law without Islam's strict laws protecting an individuals dignity creates a very cruel system.
You're not saying that the secular justice system is "cruel", are you?

quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
Moslems...have much more fundamental problems and more pressing concerns than Shari'a courts.
I don't buy that argument because you could use it to exclude any number of rights struggles. I don't agree with all of Tarek's proposed solutions to the problems he has with sharia courts. But I don't doubt that, in his own mind, he is engaged in an important civil rights battle. So, one might ask you, salaam, what other struggles should Muslims take up before worrying about their rights being violated by sharia courts?

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salaam
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posted 04 January 2005 01:18 AM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Can't somebody live as a Muslim and not necessarily believe that the Qur'an was revealed by Allah?
If somebody says he/she is a Muslim and lives like a Muslim then who am I to say such a person is not?

quote:
You're not saying that the secular justice system is "cruel", are you?
I was talking about the Islamic justice system. However, any justice system can be abused when laws are applied selectively and rights are ignored.

[ 04 January 2005: Message edited by: salaam ]


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interalia
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posted 04 January 2005 10:16 AM      Profile for interalia     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just a clarification of something from way back on this thread:
"I remember when Sunday shopping was first introduced in Ontario by the David Peterson Liberals and retail workers were supposed to be protected against being "forced" by their employers to work on Sundays."
I don't mean to take the thread off topic but I'm surprised that no one corrected this - the Rae government introduced Sunday shopping.

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bhagat
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posted 04 January 2005 12:46 PM      Profile for bhagat        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
Tareq:
Why don't you just go ahead and say the Quran is "un-Islamic".

Why?

This is dangerous spinning of someone's position. Totally unfair and reminds one of the inquisitions.


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Phonicidal
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posted 04 January 2005 01:01 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by bhagat:
This is dangerous spinning of someone's position. Totally unfair and reminds one of the inquisitions.
What makes something "Islamic" and "un-Islamic?" I agree that the quote above puts an unfair spin on what Tarek has said. But, I wonder what Muslim babblers would say to a fellow self-identified Muslim who believed that the Qur'an was "man-made" and wasn't revealed by Allah. Would they tell that person that if you don't believe in the divine origins of the Qur'an that you must also believe that the Qur'an is "un-Islamic?"

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radiorahim
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posted 05 January 2005 12:28 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thread drift...

quote:
I don't mean to take the thread off topic but I'm surprised that no one corrected this - the Rae government introduced Sunday shopping.

I'll admit that my memory is a little fuzzy on this one. Did a bit off Googling (its sometimes hard to find references on the net to events that took place pre-world wide web).

Anyway the "initial" push for Sunday openings did take place under the Peterson Liberals where they brought in legislation that turned the issue over to the municipalities. Couldn't reference the exact date but it was sometime around 1989-1990.

But you're right in that the Bob Rae NDP government finally blew the doors wide open on Sunday shopping. They introduced the bill in 1991 and it went into effect in 1993. It was one of Rae's "flip flops" like failing to bring in public auto insurance and the social contract.


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exist
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posted 05 January 2005 02:49 AM      Profile for exist   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just a quick question:

If a gay Muslim married couple decides to divorce can they apply for Sharia arbitration
for the divorce proceeding?


From: tor | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 10:26 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'll give you the answer by way of a boring, longwinded parable:

When I was a kid, I was asked by someone "What would happen if a large, unbreakable, unmoveable object were struck by a fast-moving, unbreakable, unstoppable object?"

I puzzled over it for a long time before the answer was revealed: the question doesn't make sense. It assumes two mutually contradictory things. By definition, if your universe contains an unmoveable object, it cannot also contain one that is unstoppable. Likewise, if it contains an unstoppable moving object then it cannot contain one that is umoveable and unbreakable. Something's gotta give.

So what's that have to do with your question? Well, in what universe are you imagining a same sex couple married under Islam and attempting to be recognized before a Sharia tribunal??


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 05 January 2005 11:39 AM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:
Thread drift... I'll admit that my memory is a little fuzzy on this one. Anyway the "initial" push for Sunday openings did take place under the Peterson Liberals where they brought in legislation that turned the issue over to the municipalities... But you're right in that the Bob Rae NDP government finally blew the doors wide open on Sunday shopping.

Former Solicitor General (now NDP MP) Dave Christopherson goes into painful detail in this speech about the history of Sunday Shopping. The Liberals under Peterson - rather than allow it - gave municipalities the power to exempt stores with a by-law. This was the de facto beginning of Sunday Shopping. In 1989 the Superior Court ruled that municipalities shouldn't have this power which tossed the issue back to the Legislature. At the time Bob Rae said we needed a "common day of rest" but once in power he brought it in.

... and that's how I feel about Sharia Law.


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 05 January 2005 11:48 AM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
An interesting article:


In a post-9/11 world such as this – where well-intentioned white liberals have temporarily de-emphasized their personal campaigns to smile awkwardly at every black person they pass on the street in order to concentrate on smiling awkwardly at every woman they come across in a head scarf – it’s difficult to know how to navigate a perilous discussion such as the one surrounding the possible introduction of Shariah courts in Canada. Last Thursday, a day after demonstrations held in cities across the country opposing the proposed introduction of Islamic tribunals to mediate disputes within a limited jurisdiction in Ontario, I received an e-mail from a local South Asian activist who summed up the dilemma facing progressives dealing with the issue: “Although there is understandably much hesitancy amongst the left/progressive movement to take this on or to get involved for fear of playing into right-wing politics, it is time to offer tangible support to Muslim womyn, queers, secularists fighting this.”

sharia


From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 05 January 2005 12:12 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by periyar:
...I received an e-mail from a local South Asian activist...
Again, I can't help but notice that a great deal of those against sharia in Ontario appear to be of South Asian origin. Am I imagining this? I think that I even recall Tarek saying something, on the Michael Coren show, about the "Arabization" of Islam.

Isn't that part of this whole issue? Are more progressive South Asian Muslims worried about being treated unfairly by more hardline Arab administrators in the sharia tribunals? The objections to sharia in Ontario still all seem to come back to who is running the thing and who isn't.


From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 12:29 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Are more progressive South Asian Muslims worried about being treated unfairly by more hardline Arab administrators in the sharia tribunals?

Why would they choose the tribunal then? They always have the option of secular courts just like everyone else.


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Burns
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posted 05 January 2005 12:40 PM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Some interesting points being made here but the article above throws a lot around without making any conherent point.
quote:
The move towards introducing Islamic courts in Canada, though regressive, is not backward-looking, but the most sinister kind of forward thinking: in a social and legal context in which Muslims have been not only pushed out of the Canadian legal system but held to be its main antagonists, a new umbrella must be set up under which to administer their needs. As legal aid funds disappear, and legal services once offered to refugees are no longer available, and as Canadian law continues to be practiced along lines which define Muslim communities as exceptions to the rule of law (such as the case of Maher Arar), there must be a flip-side to that ghettoization and marginalization. Shariah courts mark the ‘opportunity’ for some layers of the Muslim community in the face of the ‘crises’ of a general democratic breakdown and campaign of scapegoating. Like the removal of farm labour (performed by an overwhelmingly Indo-Canadian workforce) from the protections offered by the Employment Standards act, the move towards Shariah is part of a broader campaign to legally codify the second and third class citizenships of immigrants and people of colour.
The author seems to think that be mentioning all of these issues in the same paragraph he can establish some sort of substantive connection - but beyond the fact that these things all happen to "people of colour" there isn't one. Farm workers (almost entirely Mexicans and Carribean in origin) are getting screwed under the worker exchange program but how does that have anything to do with an orthodox jew who wants to let a rabbi decide her divorce settlement? Other than the fact that these are all "problems in the law" there isn't any connection at all. And if we're going to be that intelectually lazy we may as well throw in racial profiling, and the shocking incarceration rate for First Nations.

If the point is that the vigilance with which legal authorities uphold legal rights decreases as skin pigmentation incrases that's true - but the author seems to be grasping at a broader conspiracy without proving shit.

This issue really needs a lot of untangling. There are clearly racists on boths sides of the argument (those who are quite happy to ghettozie the Islamic community and "let them sort out their own problems" and those who believe Muslims to be an inferior race incapable of understanding justice) and there is clearly misinformation being spread by both sides (like the continual use of the word "Sharia Court" to describe Marion Boyd's proposals).

While I am of the view that family law is best decided by the courts I've yet to come up with an adequate answer for people who ask, "But what if I want to go to an arbitrator?" or - for that matter - for people who say, "But what if I can't afford to go to court?" It's all well and good to say "increase Legal Aid" but if it doesn't happen (and it likely won't) then the same women who we're protecting from terrible settlements arrived at through bad adjudication will be recieving terrible settlements through other agreements they arrived at because they couldn't afford to go to court.

[ 05 January 2005: Message edited by: Burns ]


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 05 January 2005 12:57 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Why would they choose the tribunal then? They always have the option of secular courts just like everyone else.
Maybe they are religious enough that they want to go to a tribunal, but they are progressive enough that they don't want the decision to be made by a hardliner. There is a lot of room to interpret Muslim law, is there not? So, the issue then becomes who is doing the interpreting.

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 05 January 2005 07:00 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phonicidal: There is a lot of room to interpret Muslim law, is there not? So, the issue then becomes who is doing the interpreting.

Exactly. And an attempt at a responde is that "competition" would be available. There would be progressive/liberal and even revolutionary interpretations.

Opponents can open their own or encourage others to open shops for liberal interpretation.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 05 January 2005 07:02 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It's all well and good to say "increase Legal Aid" but if it doesn't happen (and it likely won't) then the same women who we're protecting from terrible settlements arrived at through bad adjudication will be recieving terrible settlements through other agreements they arrived at because they couldn't afford to go to court.
[B]

Burns, let me get this right- legal aid is becoming inaccessible for low income muslim women, as you say that is the reality, so even though they live in a secular society, they can just settle for religious arbitration . Speaks volumes about who you think should and shouldn’t be full participants of society.

Along the same reasoning, if healthcare becomes privatized, oh well, that’s the reality, but I hear faith healing is really cheap!!


From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 05 January 2005 08:36 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
WingNut: Having read all this I return to my original position: No religious courts, arbitration, what have you. A large part of this reversal is the argument about privatizing the justice system. I hadn't thought of that aspect.

It depends what you means by "privatizing". Do lawyers work free, for charity purposes or the 'public good' ? Is Legal Aid provided to the poor in all cases ? Do you have any idea what legal aid covers and does not cover ? Isn't it the case that the rich is more likely to get "public" justice than the poor ?

How about the two-tier justice: if you have the money you go to court to assert your rights and if you have no money go to the Ombudsman's Office (in camera justice, hidden pseudo-evidence and no chance of appearing befor any forum: "justice by correspondence").

Amazing how everything becomes fine and rosy with our system when the aliens bring us their issues.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 05 January 2005 10:35 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Phonicidal: Again, I can't help but notice that a great deal of those against sharia in Ontario appear to be of South Asian origin. Am I imagining this? I think that I even recall Tarek saying something, on the Michael Coren show, about the "Arabization" of Islam.
Isn't that part of this whole issue? Are more progressive South Asian Muslims worried about being treated unfairly by more hardline Arab administrators in the sharia tribunals? The objections to sharia in Ontario still all seem to come back to who is running the thing and who isn't.


Syed Mumtaz Ali, whose interpretation is feared by both Arab and non-Arab Muslims is of South East Asian Origin. So -mostly- are his supporters.

I am not sure, but perhaps he is adherent to Wahhabism which is the most conservative school of thought, exclusive to Saudi Arabia).

As there are 21 other Arab countries (none of which adopts Wahhabism), "Arabization of Islam" is not a fair comment. Wahhabization, or Saudization, of Islam would have been more accurate.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 05 January 2005 10:45 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
As there are 21 other Arab countries (none of which adopts Wahhabism), "Arabization of Islam" is not a fair comment. Wahhabization, or Saudization, of Islam would have been more accurate.
Maybe. But, like I said, I heard it from somewhere. And, I may be wrong, but I thought it was Terek who said it. Is he still following this thread to confirm or deny?

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 05 January 2005 10:50 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There are conservative nonSaudi interpretations as well. Salafism (what the Wahhabist like to call it IIRC) is simply highly inflexible, taking a "literalist" stance. However, there are other traditions that, while perhaps being more flexible in interpretation, are at this present time more liberal in some ways and more conservative in other ways that the Salafist variety of Islam. The Salafists do not have a monopoly on reactionary interpretation.
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lacabombi
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posted 06 January 2005 07:53 AM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Phonicidal: Maybe. But, like I said, I heard it from somewhere. And, I may be wrong, but I thought it was Terek who said it. Is he still following this thread to confirm or deny?

Very unlikely that you are wrong and I agree with your suggestion.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 January 2005 08:06 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by periyar:

Burns, let me get this right- legal aid is becoming inaccessible for low income muslim women, as you say that is the reality, so even though they live in a secular society, they can just settle for religious arbitration . Speaks volumes about who you think should and shouldn’t be full participants of society.

Along the same reasoning, if healthcare becomes privatized, oh well, that’s the reality, but I hear faith healing is really cheap!!


Right on, periyar.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 06 January 2005 10:04 AM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by periyar:
[B]Burns, let me get this right- legal aid is becoming inaccessible for low income muslim women, as you say that is the reality, so even though they live in a secular society, they can just settle for religious arbitration . Speaks volumes about who you think should and shouldn’t be full participants of society.
And your response speaks volumes about your desire to get on a high horse rather than consider the real problem low-income people (of any ethnicity) face when they get divorced.

I actually agree with you but I'm wary about lobbying a Liberal government to scrap arbitration when I know they won't put adequate supports in place. God knows how many times well-intentioned lefties have fought to get rid of some institution that was terrible for the poor only to realize once they "won" that the alternative is even worse. I've seen well-intentioned lefties declare war on terrible rooming houses only to realize once they're gone that now the people who used them rather than have a TERRIBLE place to stay have NO place to stay. Or going after a bank that has terrible lending policies for low-income people only to have the bank stop lending to them altogether.

The fact is women (and men) I've known would have been totally screwed if they'd been forced to go to court for their divorce. Ideally they should have recieved legal aid and been able to go to court if they wanted - but some of them actually preferred arbitration and for the rest, well, arbitration was far better than bankrupting themselves.


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 January 2005 10:29 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Burns, I confess that I don't know how arbitration now works.

But I do know how things often worked until one basic principle was both affirmed by the Supreme Court and reflected in family law in every province: a woman's contribution to a marriage is to be considered equal to her husband's.

Do you know what was happening to divorcing women in this country before that? And do you know how recent that shift was?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
bhagat
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posted 06 January 2005 10:52 AM      Profile for bhagat        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Phonicidal:
Maybe. But, like I said, I heard it from somewhere. And, I may be wrong, but I thought it was Terek who said it. Is he still following this thread to confirm or deny?

I have heard him talk about the "Saudization of Islam," but not the Arabisation of Islam. From what I know of Tarek and read and hear him on TV and Radio, he appears contradictory at times, but not if you pay attention.

He is highly critical of the Arab intelligentsia and the poltical actvists, while being one of the most articulate non-Arab advocates of the Arab cause. I think he risks being misunderstood by both his friends and his foes. is he following this thread?

BTW, as an Indo-Canadian, I follow the Pakistani press daily; there is a huge peace movement building thanks to the General we all love to hate. But browsing through the Pakistan Times of Lahore, I caught Tarek's name in a story. This guy is everywhere except Babble.

Click here:
Pakistan Times report on the Tsuanami and the stinginess of Gulf Arabs


From: Mississauga | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 06 January 2005 10:59 AM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Burns. Sorry for the sarcasm and attacking tone of my post. I guess my frustration is that change is happening, there seems to be political will to and attention directed at a minority community, but I'm skeptical about its effectiveness in dealing with the problems of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of that community. Just like western societies, the majority of these communities are patriarchal and that has real and destructive ramificaitons for women.
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bhagat
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posted 06 January 2005 11:05 AM      Profile for bhagat        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by periyar:
Burns. Sorry for the sarcasm and attacking tone of my post. I guess my frustration is that change is happening, there seems to be political will to and attention directed at a minority community, but I'm skeptical about its effectiveness in dealing with the problems of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of that community. Just like western societies, the majority of these communities are patriarchal and that has real and destructive ramificaitons for women.

Periyar is right. And I am surpised that most mainstream women's groups have been silent on this issue.

Isn't it ironic that it is a Muslim man leading this fight for women's rights while womens groups sit back and dont know what to say. I've read Sheila Copps and Maragret Wente on this issue, but where are Sunera Thobani and Michele Landsberg. I wonder what Benazir Bhutto or Magawati would have to say.


From: Mississauga | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 06 January 2005 04:01 PM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The person with the loudest voice isn't necesarily the leader.
From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 January 2005 04:08 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
bhagat, haven't you read the entire thread? Very early on there is a post linking to the site of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, who are clearly involved in this struggle, and have been from early on.

I very much doubt that Tarek would want to be characterized as you have described him there.

And periyar and I are here.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 06 January 2005 05:22 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
1) my understanding is that Catholic religious tribunals do not arbitrate on family law matters. Protestant churches like the Anglican church have stated publicly they have no intention of going the arbitration route in family law cases

2) my understanding is that Jewish religious panels also refrain from family law matters (perhaps they are a few exceptions for the truly Orthodox, a small minority). The majority Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews certainly do not recognize the authority of religious tribunals in divorce and custody

The debate is truly about allowing the encroachment of conservative or reactionary religious ideology into what are secular family law matters. This is what the proponents of sharia want in Ontario: religious jurisdiction over family law matters (divorce, custody, property, wills).

One solution, being proposed by humanist associations, and organizations like the Muslim Women's association is to adopt the Quebec civil law model which forbids family law matters from being decided outside the parameters of existing family legislation. Religious tribunals can certainly decide on religious matters (has someone converted properly to judaism, can someone remarry religiously in the Catholic faith?) but those decisions have no value in courts of law. A Catholic in Quebec can get a secular divorce no matter what a religious panel decides.

The debate is about many things - it is not about "Islam" or "Judaism". It is about a) privatization of the legal sphere as pointed out, b) conservative religious forces making an end run around the democratic process and the Charter, c) the need to support "moderate" (I prefer the term "progressive" or modernist) voices in minority communities and in particular in the Muslim community, d) the need for progressives to counter the rise of religious political forces.

This is pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back for many people: we have seen the rise of the Stockwell Days in Canadian politics, the open political mobilization recently of official Catholic, Sikh, Muslim etc. organizations to lobby MPs to block same-sex marriage equality rights, lobbying efforts by the right wing of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish communities to confer tax privileges on private confessional schools, etc.

And now this brazen attempt to introduce inegalitarian family law policies in the name of "religion".

Secular democratic values are under attack.

I am from Quebec - Quebec spent the better part of the past 50 years eliminating the negative influence of religion from politics and law, sending the clerical forces packing, deconfessionalizing school systems, opposing efforts by conservative religious forces to come back through the reardoor. Those forces have copied our language, twisting it unfortunately, always argueing in the name of pluralism, diversity and multiculturalism (or multiconfessionalism) to the point where some secular progressive people get confused.

Let's make it clear. As Mr. Fatah has said, it is a campaign by reactionaries who do not believe in basic principles of equality before the law. It is that fundamental.

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 06 January 2005 05:27 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Oh. I forgot: And Happy New Year!
From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 January 2005 05:35 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Quebec spent the better part of the past 50 years eliminating the negative influence of religion from politics and law, sending the clerical forces packing, deconfessionalizing school systems, opposing efforts by conservative religious forces to come back through the reardoor.

When religion is forced on those who don't want it, I think we need to stamp that out mercilessly. But that really shouldn't be compared to something that is a voluntary option.

As an analogy, if I were being forced to say grace before meals, I'd fight that. If someone else wants to say grace before a meal, and I'm not forced to, why should I stop it? Have we desecularized meals if we allow them?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 06 January 2005 05:40 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Saying grace is a private act. The proponents of sharia tribunals want religious doctrine to have the force of law.

Different kettle of fish.

Untrained, unaccountable, self-proclaimed "religious" figures should not be given legal authority over matters such as divorce, child custody, division of property, women's rights and other matters best left to the rigorous procedures of the secular court system.

My main point is that we are missing the forest for the trees. The push for sharia tribunals is one element among many that constitute the political emergence of a religious right, part of the movement for privatized Christian, Muslim, Jewish religious schools, opposition to gay marriage, opposition to equality rights for women, banning of "bad" anti-family values books in public schools etc.

This sharia debate should not be read in isolation from those other related politial trends around us.

We have focused so much on the rise of the religious right in the USA in recent decades that we may have neglected to turn our attention to the same kinds of forces right here at home.

Thankfully it is not as strong as south of the border but we should put some time and effort into making sure it is not given one more inch.

From Quebec history, I have learned that you have to expel religious influence from the public sphere of law and politics and never waver in your vigilance.

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 January 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The proponents of sharia tribunals want religious doctrine to have the force of law.

Only for those who explicitly also want this doctrine to have the force of law in their lives. Heck, those for whom it probably already does.

I think the slipperiest part of this whole argument is how, on the surface, it can be made to appear that somehow we're all going to be forced to use these tribunals, the secular courts having been disbanded or something.

The second slipperiest, easily, are articles and letters to the editor and such that take great pains to mention stonings and beheadings and all sorts of abominations, as though these tribunals were going to sentence people to death.

quote:
The push for sharia tribunals is one element among many that constitute the political emergence of a religious right, part of the movement for privatized Christian, Muslim, Jewish religious schools, opposition to gay marriage, opposition to equality rights for women, banning of "bad" anti-family values books in public schools etc.

Well, we already have religious schools, and appear to have no plan in place for destroying the separate school system. Do we? Either way, as long as you and I aren't forced to use them...

Every other example is of religion being forced on those who don't want it. That's categorically different from them being available for those who do, voluntarily, as adults, want them.

quote:
From Quebec history, I have learned that you have to expel religious influence from the public sphere of law and politics and never waver in your vigilance.

But we're already wavering in our vigilance. Badly. We have Catholic schools, Jewish schools, Muslim schools, Jewish tribunals, aboriginal sentencing circles, etc. This seems to be the only place anyone's being vigilant.

For the record, if we're going to abolish all of them — every last one — and never mind the inevitable weeping and gnashing of teeth, let's have at it. But if we aren't, then let's be fair about it. Right now we, as a society, seem to believe that Jews are responsible enough to handle some civil law, but not Muslims.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 06 January 2005 07:43 PM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
2) my understanding is that Jewish religious panels also refrain from family law matters (perhaps they are a few exceptions for the truly Orthodox, a small minority). The majority Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews certainly do not recognize the authority of religious tribunals in divorce and custody
They do. And the "mainstream" Jewish community supports them - see this submission to Boyd's review by the B'nai Brith for example.

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: Burns ]


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Macabee
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posted 06 January 2005 08:13 PM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Burns:
They do. And the "mainstream" Jewish community supports them - see this submission to Boyd's review by the B'nai Brith for example.

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: Burns ]



Im not sure I would call B'nai Brith the "mainstream"

From: Vaughan | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 06 January 2005 08:46 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Well if rabbinical tribunals are getting involved in family law cases, maybe that power should be removed from them.

I like to be consistent in my anti-clericalism.

Religious tribunals have a legitimate function in matters of liturgy and spirituality, not in matters of secular law.

I don't care if the Church of the Holy Hand Grenade, the Temple of Perpetual Indulgence or the Gathering of the Sacred Cucumber decide who is allowed to be a convert or how to celebrate their holy ceremonies, but I don't see how it is compatible with democratic politics and principles of equality before the law to allow legal decisions to be based on irrational, unprovable, unappealable beliefs.

Which brings me back to my original point - this sharia campaign is part of the same ideological family as the push for private school tax exemptions, opposition to feminism, opposition to gay people, and a whole bunch of other fairly conservative social ideas I believe it is legitimate to want to oppose.

Don't give them an inch. Quebec has gone through the experience and it is much better off as a society now that it has succeeded in eviscertating the power of religious unreason.


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 06 January 2005 09:27 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
Well if rabbinical tribunals are getting involved in family law cases, maybe that power should be removed from them.

I like to be consistent in my anti-clericalism.


If we are going to start removing civil liberties, or rights, there really needs to be a stronger case than "we're afraid of sharia, but we don't want to look racist, so take arbitration away from everybody who already uses it." As long as no laws are being broken, why would we strip anybody's liberties?

quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
Religious tribunals have a legitimate function in matters of liturgy and spirituality, not in matters of secular law.
There are many times when the two overlap. And, I think that you would also find that one system of law will often concur with (or, at least be consistent with) the other. Afterall, they evolved from common ancestors. And, to the extent to which they already overlap, why shouldn't they be allowed to do so in some official capacity?

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 06 January 2005 11:08 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Opponents of the sharia arbiration are yelling that the sky is going to fall because of a request from an applicant who wants to open an office and hang shingles saying "sharia arbitration service". Potential clients purchase the service on their own volition. Thus, they can prevail themselves of "secular" law OR sharia.

Opponents of sharia arbitration seem to be saying that since Muslim women are prone to be influenced, threatened and coerced 1) to choose sharia arbitration and 2) to accept settlements unfavourable to their own interests, We should not allow sharia arbitration to take place.

The question that opponents of sharia arbitration never answered is:

Since Muslim women are prone to be influenced, coerced, threatened and pressured (as into an arranged marriage) Why should we allow their marriages to take place ?

[Edited by Lacabombi to add]

I almost forgot: Perhaps because they were caught in their own weak argumment about "Muslim women incapable of choice" and the absurdity of both the argument and banning Muslim women from entering marriage, they abandoned it to what appears to be a more marketable argument: "privatization of our legal system". Basically in this new argument, they are re-defining equality as being sameness.

That is, for a Muslim (or for that matter a Jewish or Catholic woman who practices her faith), to achieve equality, she must emulate "secular" women. Whether she wants it or not is of no consequence.

Because there are some Muslim fundamentalists who may constitue a threat, let us take people's civil liberties away.

These are the very progressives that are critical of the erosion of peoples' civil rights in the USA on the basis of these very arguments, albeit the claimed threat in the USA is of 'terrorism' and in Canada, the claim is "Religion creeping in matters of state" !

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]

[ 06 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 07 January 2005 09:47 AM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
I don't see how it is compatible with democratic politics and principles of equality before the law to allow legal decisions to be based on irrational, unprovable, unappealable beliefs.
No one has proposed giving them the power to make any legal decisions. The argument is whether two people should be able to go to an arbitrator when they have a dispute or whether they have to go to court every time. Arbitrators are not allowed to make findings in law. And arbitrators aren't allowed to make decisions that break the law.

From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 07 January 2005 10:50 AM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Well, we all seem to be repeating our arguments.

All I can add to sum up the debate is that it seems to come down to an unreconciliable clash between those for whom the vision of modern Enlightenment secularism or humanism must predominate and those who believe that religious conservatism can have a place in the modern legal system.

My reading of world history is that religious conservatism has been an unmitigated disaster and that therefore we must reduce the political space afforded it (I don't believe it can be eliminated entirely). It would be nice to hope that we could get rid of the political influence of religion ideologies but that is asking for too much.

Let us admit that this debate is a part of political clash with little room for middle ground. I happen to be on the side of the secularists who know the consequences of the rise of reactionary religious forces and believe we must support those forces like the Muslim Women's association and its allies who want to stop the worlwide conservative religious backlash against equality.

No religious tribunals with powers over family law, no private tax breaks for religious schools, no separate schools from public funds, no to religious organizations opposing abortion rights and gay marriage rights. I don't care if my "faith-based" adversaries are in the Alliance, the US Republican party, the Iranian parliament, the Catholic archdiocese or the mosque down the street.

Clear?


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 07 January 2005 11:08 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
No religious tribunals with powers over family law, no private tax breaks for religious schools, no separate schools from public funds, no to religious organizations opposing abortion rights and gay marriage rights. I don't care if my "faith-based" adversaries are in the Alliance, the US Republican party, the Iranian parliament, the Catholic archdiocese or the mosque down the street.

If we're really going to do that, great. Count me in.

But if we're not, why would we single out one group to say "no" to while we're saying "yes" to the rest?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 07 January 2005 11:13 AM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I really hesistate to use personal examples but I feel compelled to do it because of the various comments on arranged marriages and voluntary nature etc.

It's interesting that arranged marriage was brought up because when I read this thread, and the critical points about sharia, that is actually the first thing I thought of. I happen to have intimate knowledge of this cultural practice as I am South Asian and I have a real problem with it.
I was very young when I came to Canada and my family is pretty conservative and I have this memory of my oldest sister who got married in the mid 1980's. We were all expected to have arranged marriages, she chose her own partner outside our community. I remember my parents were very upset, tried to persuade her against it. They had relatives and friends call her to try to dissuade her. Fortunately she was gainfully employed and living in another city and avoided coming home until she got married because she was terrified that she would have various people tell her in person why she shouldn't marry the man of her choice. Of course all of this would be a volunatry practice. Of course she would be advised that she was committing a sin and would wind up in hell( my family belong to fundamental christian denomination), also how she would ruin the family name, make it impossible for myself and my other sister to have arranged marriages etc- but yes, it's completely her choice to make. You can see how voluntary such community intervention can be.
Just a few days after she made the announcement she got married and none of us attended the wedding. Interestingly, now there are many people getting married outside our community and these marriages are generally accepted. So attitudes have changed with time, partially because people were forced into considering new practices. The result is that the idea of young women and men choosing their own partners is no longer radical and unacceptable which in my view is a good thing.

This is not a comment on western culture being more progressive than the one I grew up in. I think there are strengths and weaknesses in both. And my parents have really relaxed their attitudes- I don't want people to think they're ogres- we all wound up choosing our own partners.

When I hear of how sharia will be applied, the voluntary nature etc., this memory is the first thing that comes to mind. I'm sure my sister had the confidence to stick to her choice in some part due to the attitudes toward arranged marriage by the dominant society (even though it's for their own ethnocentric and sometimes racist reasons). But imagine the pressures a woman who wants to divorce or leave an abusive partner will face when both the community and the province empowers and legitimizes patriarchic and backward elements of their community. And by saying this, I’m not saying that immigrant, non-western communities are backwards- I am saying that the conservative members of these communities, just like in the west, tend to consolidate and exercise more power. This is what seems to be happening with sharia. For those on the left with more progressive ideas, our voices are marginalized. I’m sure many of you can relate to this as it also occurs in the dominant culture. And just as Tarek and others on this thread have articulated and informed us, it is alarming and should be stopped.

I can think of many instances where there will be an element of force to use sharia. Someone mentioned lack of access to legal aid, could this situation not force low income women to utilze sharia? What about a situation where a woman is unfamiliar with Canadian laws and institutions or has a language barrier. Could she not be forced to utilize sharia. I guess what's problematic is that women who are already vulnerable because they are new immigrants, poor, in abusive relationships etc, there are many situations that would lead to the forced utilization of sharia in family law. From everything I've read on this thread provided by Tarek and others, I don't think a progressive egalatarin application will be applied. I think that sharia will be used as a veichle to reinforce further marginalization of women. I think the conservative voices in the muslim communities are being privelleged over the progressive voices, just as it is in the dominant society regarding issues of equality. It's too bad the NDP is getting on board


From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 07 January 2005 11:29 AM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Mr. Magoo, at least Ontarians stopped the idea of tax breaks for private religious schools.

I still can't understand why Ontario has failed to join the modern world and deconfessionalize its school system.

As an aside, it is a fairly eye-opening experience to explore the publications of some of the organizations that support the Boyd report's recommendations to allow Muslim sharia arbitration: quite a few describe progressive Muslims like Tarek Fatah and the Muslim Women's association as quasi-terrorists, traitors, pr pseudo-Muslims. Quite a few also describe gay marriage as evil and homosexuality as a form of mental illness. It is all part of the same conservative political offensive.

We have a choice: support the Tarek Fatahs or the conservatives.

[ 07 January 2005: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 07 January 2005 11:48 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Mr. Magoo, at least Ontarians stopped the idea of tax breaks for private religious schools.

That's a good thing, but not enough. Nobody's asking for tax breaks for Islamic tribunals, so if the deal is "fine, as long as we don't have to pay for it", then this doesn't argue against tribunals at all.

If we stopped recognizing the acreditation of religious schools, that would be a genuine secularization.

quote:
I can think of many instances where there will be an element of force to use sharia.

And also rabbinical courts or aboriginal sentencing circles?

If so, why do we still recognize their right to exist?

If not, what are you saying about Islam??


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 07 January 2005 12:05 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that the privelleging of secualr principles in education and law should apply to all religious communities.
From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 07 January 2005 12:08 PM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
Let us admit that this debate is a part of political clash with little room for middle ground.
Huh? As an avowed passionate secularist I don't feel that way at all.

If one wants to one can - I guess - declare "war" on people of faith. We could emulate the French move to and ban headscarves in schools, for example. I'm not sure that's productive.

Personally, I think the arbitration act has some merit. I've had friends who used it to bypass the court system, thereby saving themselves a hefty hunk of change which they could ill-afford to lose. For women living on limited incomes this is a good thing - and it sure beats bankrupting yourself paying lawyers to fight a court battle. As we can see here Legal Aid is an option for only the most severely poverty stricken (how can anyone live on less than $7,000 a year?).

That noted, it seems like a lot of people (from father's rights groups to religious fundamentalists) think the process can be used to by-pass protections for women that exist in courts.

I'm not convinced there isn't any middle ground.


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 07 January 2005 12:31 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
The "middle ground" would be to remove religion from family law.

The same groups that want religious arbitration in family law also campaign for all those other elements of the conservative backlash agenda already mentioned.

I don't want to give any of them a single inch.


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 07 January 2005 01:01 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Peryiar,

You hae provided quite a good prose about "arranged marriage".

I had asked the following question:

Since we should oppose sharia arbitration because -the argument goes- Muslim women are vulnerable, weak, prone to be influenced, coerced, threatened etc.. , Why shouldn't we also ban them from marrying.

Nobody answered this question. Only skating arount the issue, ducking, dodging and tengeants, like yours.

Could any of the opponents of sharia, please answer the question ?


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 07 January 2005 01:07 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lacabombi, there is something that you don't seem to be grasping in periyar's posts, and yet it seems to me the essence of her (most wise) posts:

ALL women everywhere are still vulnerable to regressive social pressures in their communities.

periyar has gone to some lengths to make that point. Why can you not see it and accept it?

Do you, or does any other man here, think that Canadian women finally gained the support of legislatures and courts in this country because of some general consensus that the equality of women was to be recognized and guaranteed? Do you?

Because if so, you are wrong. There was no such consensus, and there probably still isn't.

The courts are my defence. I certainly do not feel sure that Canadian society as a whole would be.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 07 January 2005 01:20 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
skdadl: In your reply to lacabombi and periyar I do detect that you view this as primarily, or perhaps only, a women's issue, and that's why you appear (am I mistaken?) to emphasize that lacabombi is a man.

However, I do think that lacabombi has a point in that it also has to do with the place of Muslims, particularly conservative Muslims (a category that includes women), in Canadian society, not just the place of women in general. His concern is that this has become an issue due to the involvement of conservative Muslims, and that any other group would not have created such a fuss even among progressives. I think that he has a point, even though I think that it is fair for Muslims like the CCMW to raise the issue in their own communities.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Burns
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posted 07 January 2005 01:24 PM      Profile for Burns   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
The "middle ground" would be to remove religion from family law.
Maybe. I don't know if you could without throwing out arbitration entirely. All the Arbitraction Act does is give people to pick an arbitrator instead of a court. Unforrtunately (in my opinion) some people turn to religious whackos - though it's worth asking whether that's always of their own free will.

In many ways Marion Boyd's proposals (if implemented) deal with this by saying that all arbitrators should be regulated and monitored. While that still technically allows religious arbitration it would make it near impossible to be systematically sexist, or to endanger children's rights, or most of the other things that the religious nuts would want to do.


From: ... is everything. Location! Location! Location! | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 07 January 2005 08:24 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
skdadl: lacabombi, there is something that you don't seem to be grasping in periyar's posts, and yet it seems to me the essence of her (most wise) posts: ALL women everywhere are still vulnerable to regressive social pressures in their communities

periyar has gone to some lengths to make that point. Why can you not see it and accept it?

skdadl, I cannot understand, let alone accept, that on the one hand, the vulnerable Muslim women should not be allowed to be regressively pressured by their communities to seek sharia arbitration, but on the other hand the vulnerable Muslim women should be allowed to be regressively pressured by their communities to get into arranged marriages.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 07 January 2005 09:16 PM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by bhagat:

I have heard him talk about the "Saudization of Islam," but not the Arabisation of Islam.

I am sorry I couldn't respond earlier to this issue. Let me clarify my take on this subject.

Bhagt makes a fine distiction. Thank you for maiking this clarifictaion

Arab culture and tradition and Islam are integrated and interwoven. No Muslim has, and neither do I see this as a problem. Non-Arab Muslims are cognisant of the how Arab culture, langauge, poetry and custom are part and parcel of our common religion.

Having said this, there are two issues that bother non-Arab Muslims. They are:

1. Arab racism against non-Arab Muslims using the Quran's Arabic text as the basis of their being a chosen race as against the lowly placed dark coloured African or South Asian. Such behaviour, if not widespread even among the secular and liberal Arabs, is tolerated and hardly ever critcised. There is a tacit agreement that the Africans and South Asian Muslims ARE of inferior race. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I am still haunted by the call of "nigger-slave" (Ya Abdi) and "Paki" (Ya Rafik) I heard everyday of my stay there.

2. The attack on Indian and African cultures as unislamic and influenced by the infidels. This trait is dominant among the religious Arab leadership influenced by wahabbis and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The latter is the issue I refer to as the saudization of Islam, while the former is a question of racism that has developed deep roots in the Arab World, despite the fact that it is contrary to every principle of Islam and Prophet Muhammad's teachings. The racsim is complicated by an absolute and complete denial of its existence.

As far as Arabisation of Islam is concerend, that is not a problem and has never been in the non-Arab Muslim world. Non-Arab Muslims take on Arab names (like my name) have woven their customs into our own and have a deep love and affection for the Arab people. The tragedy is that there is no, or little reciprocity in this relationship.

Part of the problem is that very few people wish to talk about this fissure. I feel I can take the risk and confront my Arab comrades to speak out. Few have taken up my invitation, but they will. It is a question of awareness and leadership.

Now, in context of shariah, this is NOT an Arab problem; it is a problem that has no ethnicity and blaming it on the Arabs is unfair and defies truth. The fact is that the movement for shariah was a US backed move in the cold war; a tool against Communism and socialism. Maudoodi and the Taliban were not Arabs, neither was Khomeini.

For 50 years the US encouraged the movement for shariah supporting the Muslim Broitherhood in Egypt against Nasser, and the Jamat-e-Islami in Pakistan against Bhutto and Mujib in Bengal. Today the recipients of this US generosity are in power in the msoques and madrassahs and their teachings are widespread.

If you wish to get a glimpse of what the proponents of shariah truly want, listen to this debate on Egyptian TV on how and why a wife should accept being beaten by her husband. Even a female particpant defends such actions.

Click below and listen to the discussion. You may undersatnd why some of us are so worried and angry at the naivity of the Shariah-Bolsheviks.
Egyptian TV debate on pros and cons of wife-beating


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 07 January 2005 09:28 PM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tarek Fatah:
The fact is that the movement for shariah was a US backed move in the cold war...

If you wish to get a glimpse of what the proponents of shariah truly want, listen to this debate on Egyptian TV on how and why a wife should accept being beaten by her husband.


Ah. The obligatory "it's the Americans' fault." I was wondering when that might come up in this thread.

But seriously, Tarek. Wife-beating is illegal in Canada. Proponents of sharia in Ontario may want to implemement widespread spousal abuse. But, I have confidence that Canadian society will not allow it. So, I can't see the story about Egypt, along with the referrences to the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamat-e-Islami, and Mujib as anything but a scare tactic. It might be naive to say "it can't happen here." But, it's not naive to say "We won't let that happen here."


From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 07 January 2005 10:52 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Bhagt makes a fine distiction. Thank you for maiking this clarifictaion


The distinction was made by a Babbler who is begging opponents of sharia arbitration to explain...

...How is it that on the one hand, the vulnerable Muslim women should not be allowed to be pressured by their communities to seek sharia arbitration, but on the other hand the vulnerable Muslim women should be allowed to be pressured by their communities to get into arranged marriages.

I understand that my questions may entangle opponents of sharia arbitration in their own logic but let me this time beg Tarek for an explanation.

[Edited to add]

Tarek, don't you agree that applying your very argument that Muslim women are vulnerable and prone to be pressured, we should also request that Muslim women's marriage should not be allowed to take place.

[ 07 January 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 07 January 2005 11:26 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Nobody answered this question. Only skating arount the issue, ducking, dodging and tengeants, like yours.

Before we start making accusations about ducking and dodging, I've asked you a relatively simple and straightforward question twice in this thread and have not seen an answer.

I'll try one more time. How in your view have the Boyd recommendations addressed the concerns raised by the CCMW?

I have learned from other posters that both (possibly most?) Christian and Jewish arbitrators are refusing to deal with questions of family law. The CCMW is asking that this be the case with Sharia arbitrations.

In light of what is defacto practice in the other religious arbitration systems, the CCMW's position looks quite reasonable and logical to me.

quote:
skdadl, I cannot understand, let alone accept, that on the one hand, the vulnerable Muslim women should not be allowed to be regressively pressured by their communities to seek sharia arbitration, but on the other hand the vulnerable Muslim women should be allowed to be regressively pressured by their communities to get into arranged marriages.

If one could create legal mechanisms to prevent marriages through coercive means I would by all means support any such efforts.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 07 January 2005 11:33 PM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:

I'll try one more time. How in your view have the Boyd recommendations addressed the concerns raised by the CCMW?

How have the specific Boyd recommendations failed to address those concerns? How many people commenting here have even read her report?


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 07 January 2005 11:47 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
radiorahim: If one could create legal mechanisms to prevent marriages through coercive means I would by all means support any such efforts.

The MCC and the CCMW are in the process of creating a legal mechanism to prevent sharia arbitration through BOTH coercive and voluntary means: Shut the door on sharia arbitration.

How about this legal mechanism to prevent Muslim women's marriages through BOTH coercive and voluntary means by shutting the door on (their) marriages ?


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radiorahim
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posted 08 January 2005 01:18 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Okay lacabombi, strike one, strike two, strike three...you're out!!

Plonk!!!


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 08 January 2005 01:28 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
1. radiorahim's question to lacabombi is fair.

2. lacabombi's question to radiorahim is fair.

3. neither radiorahim nor lacabombi have answered each other's questions.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 08 January 2005 01:32 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:
How in your view have the Boyd recommendations addressed the concerns raised by the CCMW?
That may not be the most important question to ask. Afterall, is there any recommendation at all that Boyd could make, short of banning sharia, that the CCMW would accept? Maybe the question to ask is, "Under what conditions would the CCMW and the MCC accept sharia tribunals in Ontario?" That's what I'd like to know, anyway.

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 08 January 2005 02:10 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Afterall, is there any recommendation at all that Boyd could make, short of banning sharia, that the CCMW would accept? Maybe the question to ask is, "Under what conditions would the CCMW and the MCC accept sharia tribunals in Ontario?" That's what I'd like to know, anyway.

The CCMW's position is pretty clear. They don't want Sharia tribunals to deal with matters of family law. The MCC's position, if its the same as the position that Tarek Fatah advocates is they are opposed to Sharia tribunals period.

quote:
1. radiorahim's question to lacabombi is fair.

2. lacabombi's question to radiorahim is fair.

3. neither radiorahim nor lacabombi have answered each other's questions.


To make it perfectly clear, that is if I understand lacabombi's "question", I find that the proposition that if Muslim women don't have access to Sharia arbitration that they therefore shouldn't be allowed to marry utterly and completely ridiculous.

Anyway I'm responding to your post Mandos, I no longer wish to engage in debate with lacabombi on this subject.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
aa
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posted 08 January 2005 02:28 AM      Profile for aa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tarek,

I agree with much that you say, but I really dont know if you honestly believe some of the stuff that you are saying, or if you adopt these positions tactically.

Shariah is not "un-Islamic", it *is* Islam, at least Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam. I'm not sure how you can argue against the application of Sharia from an Islamic perspective. You can, like Tareq Ramadhan, say that "now is not the time"--Islam can bide its time, no problem with that--but there is really no basis, in Islam, to argue against Sharia as an Islamic instition.

This discourse, of alleviating the effects of Sharia by invoking meaningless and odd interpreations of the Quran--ie the Quran doesnt *really* say that one cant have four wives, although that is how the Quran was interpreted by practically everyone for centuries, and for very good reason--is stupid and counterproductive. It has been of some use, for instance, in feminist movements in the Arab world, but has backfired.

In the article you linked to, the author points out that Al-Masry is not "qualified." True. Qualification, in orthodox Sunnism (and Sufism) means a permit from a recognized scholar in one of the branches of jurisprudence, hadith etc, who possesses a permit, recieved from another scholar, and so on. 99% of these "qualified" scholars make Al Masry look like a libertarian. If there is another definition of "qualified", I (nor anyone I have consulted, in years of Sharia study) have no knowledge of it, and would greatly appreciate a description of the qualifications. As it stands, this type of argument is entierly meaningless, and I think dishonest. I also think that trying to engage with fundemnatilists on what is Islamic or un-Islamic merely strenghtens them, and Islam as a basis of legitimacy. Ultimatly, it backfires.


From: montreal | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
aa
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posted 08 January 2005 02:34 AM      Profile for aa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Phonicidal: "Ah. The obligatory "it's the Americans' fault." I was wondering when that might come up in this thread."

That would be the point at which someone decided that some knowledge of recent history might be of some help.


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Mandos
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posted 08 January 2005 02:45 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
radiorahim: The comparison taken at face value is ridiculous but the principle behind it is not. The claim being made by sharia opponents is that cultural pressure would force women to use arbitration; hence arbitration would become an artifact of women's oppression. Thus, no one should have access to sharia family law arbitration. Lacabombi is quite reasonably asking why this is not a concern in all culturally-charged family dealings.

aa: What argument do you consider to be productive? The point that has been made is that Sharia has had many schools of thought and is ultimately man-made as are the structures of legitimacy. That everyone read the Qur'an a certain way for centuries means little from a progressive point of view: people read the Bible a certain way for centuries too, but that didn't stop other interpretations from forming now, unless you consider this to be futile as well.

To clarify, are you making the claims,

1. that Islam is what fundamentalist thinkers in foreign countries say that it is?

2. that it can be nothing else, and there is no use trying?

3. that this is a characteristic specific to Islam?


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 08 January 2005 03:10 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:
To make it perfectly clear, that is if I understand lacabombi's "question", I find that the proposition that if Muslim women don't have access to Sharia arbitration that they therefore shouldn't be allowed to marry utterly and completely ridiculous.
I think you got it exactly. But, maybe what you didn't get is that it was a rhetorical question (as I took it, anyway). Of course Muslim women should be allowed to marry. I think that's the point.

From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
aa
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posted 08 January 2005 03:28 AM      Profile for aa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"1. that Islam is what fundamentalist thinkers in foreign countries say that it is?"

The best answer to that (as fundemantilists, a term I use for conveniance, will be quick to point out) is to refer to the texts that are basic to Islam, and with out which Islam wouldnt "exist". First, the Quran. Its pretty clear on what Islam is. Islam is the religion of God, as reviealed in the Quran, the imperishable word of God, and Islam (according to the Quran), is also the Prophet's practice, and how he interpreted the Quran. The Quran is also very clear on what is "un-Islamic". For example, instituting any laws that govern society that are not the laws of God is kufr, that is, infidelism.(and by the way, I dont know when the last time Hashmi read the the Quran, but it contains far more than 80 verses on legistlation. Also, the first, and canonical, book of traditions was Muwata Malik, compiled less than a hundred years after the Prophets death, and to say that it was a "haphazard" science is just ignorant).

There is ofcourse room for disagreement, about what exactly does God's word mean, and what are the laws of God, but it does not afford the leeway that progressives credit it with. True, the Sunni schools of jurisprudence are many (more than teh commonly cited four schools) but there disagreements are concerned more with issues like: do you clasp your hands before your navel, or your chest, when you do the daily prayers. (they all agree that abondoning the five daily prayers warrants excecution).

2. that it can be nothing else, and there is no use trying?

Not unless their is a hegemony that supports alternate visions of Islam. But even the ones that have tried (like Nassir's government) took care not to engage in head on disputes with teh fundemnatilists, they simply imposed secular law and told the fundemntalists to go to hell. Ofcourse they sought some Islamic endorsements, but hardly convinced anyone.

3. that this is a characteristic specific to Islam?

No. To be clear, I think that all Judeo Christian Muslim mononthiesms are equally (in potential, atleast) dangerous and inhumane (also the Shiva types in India, teh Dalai Lama's take on the world, the Falun Dafa's ideology etc.) They all have admirable traditions (and some of the intellectuals I most respect are medieval Muslim thinkers, like Al-Ghazzali and Ibn Arabi). As Christopher Hitchens pointed out, if the Quran were Gods word, he must have revealed it on a very bad day. And God must have felt spiteful on that day he inspired the Torah, and very confused by the time he sent his son to the chopping block.

Since it is not specific to Islam, I think that we should look to how, and why, the Enlightenment (whats so good about Reformation?) came about. It certainly wasnt because Voltaire convinced the clergy that they had the bible all wrong.


From: montreal | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Phonicidal
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posted 08 January 2005 03:38 AM      Profile for Phonicidal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My proposal: The CCMW start their own sharia tribunal organization. If they want to stay clear of extremist ideology, that seems a good way to do it.
From: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tarek Fatah
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posted 08 January 2005 11:40 AM      Profile for Tarek Fatah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:

..How is it that on the one hand, the vulnerable Muslim women should not be allowed to be pressured by their communities to seek sharia arbitration, but on the other hand the vulnerable Muslim women should be allowed to be pressured by their communities to get into arranged marriages.

Did I advocate this position? Where did you get this impression? I have been advocating against 'arranged' marraiges and consider them not arranged, but 'forced' marraiges. They are the ultimate exapmple of how society coniders daughters and sisters as essentially chattel and property.

As the father of two 20+ year Muslim daughters, I know the pressure parents face of 'getting their daughters married'.

In fact there is a family crisis that I have not been actiley enaging in seeking proposals for my older one who is 27. Me and my wife have said NO.

This practise is not restructed to Muslims; it is widely practised by Hindus and Sikhs as well in South Asia.

In fact, for Muslims, the practise conlficts with the life of Prophet Muhammad. As a 25-year old young man, his 40-year old boss, Kahdija, proposed to him and they married. It was the woman who proposed to a much younger man!

If a Muslim woman did this in this day and age, she would be considered of having 'loose moral character'.

In fact, the Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians based in Toronto has decreed that a wife, after marraige, may not utter her husband's name when addressing him, let alone propose to him before marraige! These are the guys who will run your sharuah courts.

Read this 'fatwa' and reflect on what went though Marion Boyd's mind when she took the advice of this group. The Imam asks women to address their husband's as 'master'.

Canadian Muslim wives told not to address Husbands by name


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 08 January 2005 12:19 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mandos, two points:

I leave Tarek to make the more comprehensive answer to lacabombi's question that he just has (yay!) above.

My answer would be more modest and restricted, given my ignorance: to me, the possibility that marriage itself, any marriage and any system of arranging marriages, might be exploitative is entertainable, but waaaay too nebulous for our current laws and courts to cope with well.

By contrast, the dissolution of marriages raises practical issues, notably division of property and custody of children, that our courts can and (sometimes) do deal with in ways that, to me, accord more and more closely with democratic ideals. I'm not saying they're perfect, but I am old enough to remember the catastrophic consequences to women of many divorces before the Charter and Charter battles led by -- you should forgive the expression -- MIDDLE-CLASS WOMEN.

Which leads to my second point. Mandos, did you not notice my foot-dragging earlier in this thread? Do I sound like a smug, ignorant cultural imperialist to you?

I have acknowledged, here and elsewhere, that democratic struggles like this one are best led from within communities, not by people blinded by their own privilege and insensitive to the fears of vulnerable communities. radiorahim also was arguing that caution early in this thread.

However, I find it just a bit hard to swallow that so many obviously well-educated men have spent time on this board condescending to "middle-class professional women" like the CCMW. I repeat: how do you think that the Charter affirmation of women's equality came about? Through a referendum? Through the efforts of well-intentioned "middle-class professional men"?

Think again, Mandos.

You think that MY community does not have its conservatives? Who are still, some of them, deeply opposed to feminist struggles? You think that any woman feels fully free and invulnerable, even now, on these scores?

Do I consider this mainly a women's issue? Don't the CCMW appear to? Doesn't Tarek appear to?

I have lots of empathy for the conservative and fearful in any community, especially one facing threats as real as I know Canadian Muslims face right now. This discussion, though, has started to give me some faith that maybe some of the fearful will now be learning more and more from the women in their midst.

It never happens overnight. My best sororal wishes to them all.

[ 08 January 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 08 January 2005 12:36 PM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Since Muslim women are prone to be influenced, coerced, threatened and pressured (as into an arranged marriage) Why should we allow their marriages to take place ?

It is my understanding that it is considered haram (a sin) to force a young woman to marry someone she does not want in islam.

quote:
. Arab racism against non-Arab Muslims using the Quran's Arabic text as the basis of their being a chosen race as against the lowly placed dark coloured African or South Asian. Such behaviour, if not widespread even among the secular and liberal Arabs, is tolerated and hardly ever critcised. There is a tacit agreement that the Africans and South Asian Muslims ARE of inferior race. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I am still haunted by the call of "nigger-slave" (Ya Abdi) and "Paki" (Ya Rafik) I heard everyday of my stay there.

I had not realized it was that overt. That just sickens me.

quote:
Did I advocate this position? Where did you get this impression? I have been advocating against 'arranged' marraiges and consider them not arranged, but 'forced' marraiges. They are the ultimate exapmple of how society coniders daughters and sisters as essentially chattel and property

I understand that part of islam is against dating so parents becoming involved in match making is a means of addressing the lack of social opportunities.

My understanding is that Islam was one of the religions that gave women rights before all others in certain areas and it's considered haram and against Prophet Mohammed to force marriage.

quote:
In fact, the Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians based in Toronto has decreed that a wife, after marraige, may not utter her husband's name when addressing him, let alone propose to him before marraige! These are the guys who will run your sharuah courts.

Read this 'fatwa' and reflect on what went though Marion Boyd's


Keep in mind that there is no hadith or aye quoted to support this. It's his personal opinion.

It's shocking though. I just about spat out my drink.


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 08 January 2005 03:07 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Tarek: In fact, the Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians based in Toronto has decreed that a wife, after marraige, may not utter her husband's name when addressing him, let alone propose to him before marraige! These are the guys who will run your sharuah courts.
Read this 'fatwa' and reflect on what went though Marion Boyd's mind..

It is unfortunate that Tarek seems to be engaging in a fear-mongering campaign.

Tarek well knows that it is not a "sharia court", but rather an arbitration service. Yet he keeps spinning this term.

Tarek well knows that "fatwa" means a religious legal opinion, he also knows that there may be as many fatwas as religious scholars (or pseu-scholars), orthodox, liberal and in between. Yet he submits a link for a "fatwas", apparently as evidence of what is coming should sharia arbitration be allowed.

Tarek well knows that the credibility of such nameless and faceless "Council of Theopogians" hardly goes beyond the person or persons behind such web site and his or their limited circle (in fact it could be no more that one fanatic person).

Tarek well knows that himself and the MCC are quite capable of opening or sponsoring a liberal arbitration service but has yet to tell us what would be wrong with such a compromise between the interests of women for which he sincerely advocates and the cause of civil rights that he equally sincerely respects.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 08 January 2005 03:13 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lacabombi, can you explain to me the distinction that you are making there between "the interests of women" and "civil rights"?

I don't actually see that there is any need to separate those two interests / ideals.

And just btw, friends:

On the one hand, I think that this has been a model discussion for babble. I recognize that it has been painful and/or tiring or frustrating for many of us, but it has been educational for me and, I detect, some others. And in spite of quite a lot, it has proceeded articulately and civilly.

On the other hand: Holy long thread!

Could the next person who has something of substance to say start a new thread with the same title, adding "cont'd"? I shall write to the moderator and ask her to close this one. Threads this long prevent many people from participating.

[ 08 January 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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