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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ontario passes new lawfamily legal arbitrations must now use Canadian law

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006


Attention: News, Features, Government/Political Affairs, Religion Editors

Ontario passes new law family legal arbitrations must now use Canadian law

TORONTO – “I am so happy and very pleased to see this new law passed …now we are all treated under one law equally ”, said Ms. Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada.

In a press statement released from the Ministry of the Attorney General on February 15th, it stated, “Under this legislation, resolutions based on other laws and principles - including religious principles - will have no legal effect and will not be enforceable by the courts”.

Attorney General Michael Bryant said today, “when it comes to family law arbitrations in this province, there is only one law and that is Canadian law."

“Thousands of activists across Ontario worked very hard to end the injustice of faith-based arbitrations,” said Ms. Arjomand. “…but our work is not done, my concern now is to prevent religious arbitration from continuing underground and to assist women and children to get the full benefit of Canadian law when settling family legal matters”.

Community Education Targeted

Sandra Pupatello, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues said "In addition to this legislation, we will be working to develop new community outreach and education programs so that all Ontarians have the information they need to make the best choices offered to them by Canadian law."

Community activists and counselors had raised the issue of human and legal rights education for vulnerable and isolated communities. “I am very pleased to hear the government will invest in this need and I look forward to assisting in this effort.”, added Ms. Arjomand. “Education and awareness is essential for integration and enjoyment of one law for all”.

Children are Protected

According to the press statement, the Children's Law Reform Act (CLRA) has been amended “to ensure that violence and abuse are considered when determining the best interests of a child in the context of custody and access”. These new laws will improve the quality and the standard of children’s well being in Ontario…the world will take note, said Ms. Arjomand.

.Thank You to the Activists

“Once again I want to thank all the people who worked on the campaign. This victory was the result of the hard work of thousands of activists, across Ontario, Canada and Europe who volunteered their time and skills to help bring an end to faith-based arbitration and Sharia courts in Canada,” said Ms. Arjomand, “…to each and everyone of them I want to say thank you, we did this together. This is a great achievement for the women’s rights movement.”

Sharia Law and Political Islam

“We started with a handful of supporters and grew to a coalition of over a thousand volunteers and activists…together we defeated the forces of ‘Political Islam’ in Ontario, but this is just the first step.”, added Ms. Arjomand.

“We must not rest, we must continue to fight for human rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech and the benefits of a secular society not just here but also overseas…people in other countries who live under the burdens of Sharia and Political Islam…countries such as England, India, Iran, Iraq, Netherlands and Nigeria… these people are counting on us.”

Conference in Germany - Globalization of Political Islam

The International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada in conjunction with the Committee Against Stoning and Women’s Liberation are hosting a conference entitled “The Globalization of Political Islam and Women’s Rights”. The conference will take place in Cologne, Germany on March 8th, 2006.

Speakers include: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Homa Arjomand, Mina Ahadi, Christa Stolle,

Maryam Namazi, Azar Majedi and Fatma Blässer

About Homa Arjomand and the Campaign

Homa Arjomand is the Coordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada. She started her campaign in Toronto in October 2003 with a handful of supporters, and today it has grown to a coalition of 87 organizations from 14 countries with over a thousand activists. Homa is a Toronto based transitional counselor and was a human rights activist in Iranuntil she was forced to flee in 1989.

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