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Media Response

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

SHARIA/faith based COURT IN CANADA

Aljazeera Net, Globe and Mail 12/09/05, London Free Pres, CBC NEWS, The Brandon Sun, Toronto Now,National Post , Columbia Daily Tribune,

Elle Magazine, Globe and Mail, Chicago Sun-Times, Toronto Star, National Post Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail sept,8th, WeNews Correspopondent

Aljazeera Net

Canada sharia proposal draws protest by Saturday 10 September 2005 8:56 AM GMT

Canada lets Jewish and Catholic tribunals settle family disputes

A proposal to allow Canadian citizens to use sharia, Muslim religious law, for settling family disputes has drawn protests from around the world.

"The rise of sharia in Canada is not a coincidence. It is part of a global movement and it is a threat," said Homa Arjomand, who organised the Torontoprotest.

"Women's rights are not negotiable, and we will not tolerate the interference of religion in our justice system."

In the western German city of Dusseldorf, about 25 people protested at the Canadian consulate.

'Religion is sickness'

"If the sharia is used in Canada, I also feel threatened here," said protester Nasrin Ramzanali, who said there should be a clear separation of church and state.

At the Canadian embassy in The Hague, about two dozen people gathered to oppose the proposal.


Some protesters were born in Iran, where sharia is the law

"Religion is a sickness, and you don't open the door to invite sickness in," organiser Ebrahimi Poer said.

"We'll keep going until this idea is scrapped, and we'll oppose the establishment of any religious court."

Demonstrations were scheduled in London, Paris, Stockholm, Goteborg, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.

Women's rights

About 300 people rallied in front of the Ontario legislative building, some of them shouting "Shame, shame!" as Arjomand quoted Ontario Premier DaltonMcGuinty's promise that sharia law in Canada would not compromise women's rights.

"Either he is naive, or he thinks people are stupid!" Arjomand said.

"Don't talk to us aboutsharia law, Mr. McGuinty. I am coming from a country where marital rape is protected bysharia law"

Mahmoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Federation of Iranian Refugees

McGuinty has said the government will decide soon whether to allow sharia tribunals. Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, has allowed Catholic and Jewish faith-based tribunals to settle family law matters on a voluntary basis since 1991.

The practice got little attention until Muslim leaders demanded the same rights.

Now officials in Canada - where multiculturalism is a deeply held value - must decide whether to exclude one religion, or whether they should scrap the religious family courts altogether.

That is what many demonstrators on Thursday wished for. One handmade sign demanded "Canadian laws for Canadian citizens."

Iran

Much of the rhetoric, however, focused on the oppression of women in countries where sharia is the law of the land.

"I come from Iran, where sharia has ruled for 27 years, a country that is anti-woman in the fullest sense of the word," said Mahmoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Federation of Iranian Refugees.

"Don't talk to us about sharia law, Mr McGuinty. I am coming from a country where marital rape is protected by sharia law."

Sharia comes from several sources including the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and it governs every aspect of life.

Under most interpretations, sharia gives men more rights than women in matters of inheritance, divorce and child custody.

For example, sharia almost always grants custody of boys over age 9 and girls older than 13 to their fathers.

Trust

On the outskirts of the Toronto demonstration, pro-sharia activist Mubin Shaikh and his wife, Joanne Sijka, verbally sparred with protesters. Shaikh said the misuse of sharia does not mean it should be excluded from Canadian civil law.

"Abuse of the process is not a proof against a process, just as people wrongfully imprisoned is not a proof against Canadian law," Shaikh said.

Sijka said she trusts sharia more than she would trust Canadian courts.

"When you have a problem, you want to talk to a stranger?" she asked. "No, you want someone you know."

Agencies By

You can find this article at: http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/98C5696C-6E80-4F49-B799-AB6FEAA3F968.htm

__

Globe and Mail 12/09/05

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2005/09/05/1202593-sun.html

Protests target Ontario Shariah proposal

CP and Free Press staff 2005-09-05 03:56:14

OTTAWA -- Protesters will take to the streets this week in cities from Amsterdam to Victoria, all because of a bureaucratic proposal that would allow use of Islamic law in Ontario family arbitration.

The long-delayed decision on whether to formally include -- and regulate -- Shariah religious arbitration in the province has raised alarms among Canadian and European women's groups, dissidents from hardlineIslamic states such as Iran, human-rights activists, writers and humanist advocates.

Almost 100 groups have banded together under the banner of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada.

On Thursday, they'll march in six cities in Europe and at least five in Canada.

Protests are planned in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal and Victoria, as well as Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, London and Paris.

Former Ontario attorney-general Marion Boyd, the longtime London politician who wrote the proposal that's sparking the protests, said yesterday she understands the fears of people from countries such as Iran,Pakistan and Afghanistan, with their harsh Shariah law practices.

But that cannot happen in Canada, with its vastly different system of separate criminal and civil law, insists Boyd.

Sohaila Sharifi, an Iranian emigrant organizing a protest in front of the Canadian High Commission in London, said the Ontario situation is emblematic of a global battle between secular societies and "political Islam."

"If they win this fight in Canada, there is always the possibility that they would see it as a victory that could bring them one step forward," Sharifi said by e-mail.

"They would use the same argument to establish the same religious system here in Europe and elsewhere."

The "they" in question represent an odd, informal coalition of hardline Islamic fundamentalists, mainstream Muslim groups and Boyd, who studied the issue for the province and came up with the proposal.

But Boyd's vision of provincially regulated religious arbitration -- an existing 15-year-old system that would be further tightened under the mantle of Ontario family law and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- bears little resemblance to the Shariah law being debated by the warring camps.

Boyd said things are different in places such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Shariah law is fully operational.

"There's no distinction there between civil and criminal law, so you can be punished criminally for a civil issue like adultery or fornication," she said. "People have reason to be fearful of that, because they have experienced the excesses of that kind of regime."

In Canada, criminal law is entirely separate and no arbitration decision could break the law, said Boyd. "Our entire constitution stands against that possibility."

The Boyd report was prompted by a retired Muslim lawyer, who, in 2003, announced he was setting up the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice to train arbitrators to use Ontario's existing arbitration legislation. But SyedMumtaz Ali's view of Shariah was unabashedly fundamentalist and political.

The province ducked for cover by asking Boyd to examine the issue. It has sat on her report since last December.

In the meantime, opponents have dug in.

"The volatility of the debate has a lot to do with what people have experienced . . . in countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, where there is no doubt that Islamic law -- particularly these medieval rules of law -- are being enforced in various ways and have the effect of discriminating against women," said Anver Emon, a U.S. scholar in Islamic law at the University of Toronto.

But Emon said both extremes in the debate are defining Islamic law as a medieval model that won't fit in the modern Canadian context.

"What's interesting is both of these (warring) groups have the same conception of Shariah: it's these medieval rules," he said.

___

London Press

Protests target Ontario Shariah proposal

CP and Free Press staff 2005-09-05 03:56:14

OTTAWA -- Protesters will take to the streets this week in cities from Amsterdam to Victoria, all because of a bureaucratic proposal that would allow use of Islamic law in Ontario family arbitration.

The long-delayed decision on whether to formally include -- and regulate -- Shariah religious arbitration in the province has raised alarms among Canadian and European women's groups, dissidents from hardlineIslamic states such as Iran, human-rights activists, writers and humanist advocates.

Almost 100 groups have banded together under the banner of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada.

On Thursday, they'll march in six cities in Europe and at least five in Canada.

Protests are planned in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal and Victoria, as well as Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, London and Paris.

Former Ontario attorney-general Marion Boyd, the longtime London politician who wrote the proposal that's sparking the protests, said yesterday she understands the fears of people from countries such as Iran,Pakistan and Afghanistan, with their harsh Shariah law practices.

But that cannot happen in Canada, with its vastly different system of separate criminal and civil law, insists Boyd.

Sohaila Sharifi, an Iranian emigrant organizing a protest in front of the Canadian High Commission in London, said the Ontario situation is emblematic of a global battle between secular societies and "political Islam."

"If they win this fight in Canada, there is always the possibility that they would see it as a victory that could bring them one step forward," Sharifi said by e-mail.

"They would use the same argument to establish the same religious system here in Europe and elsewhere."

The "they" in question represent an odd, informal coalition of hardline Islamic fundamentalists, mainstream Muslim groups and Boyd, who studied the issue for the province and came up with the proposal.

But Boyd's vision of provincially regulated religious arbitration -- an existing 15-year-old system that would be further tightened under the mantle of Ontario family law and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- bears little resemblance to the Shariah law being debated by the warring camps.

Boyd said things are different in places such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Shariah law is fully operational.

"There's no distinction there between civil and criminal law, so you can be punished criminally for a civil issue like adultery or fornication," she said. "People have reason to be fearful of that, because they have experienced the excesses of that kind of regime."

In Canada, criminal law is entirely separate and no arbitration decision could break the law, said Boyd. "Our entire constitution stands against that possibility."

The Boyd report was prompted by a retired Muslim lawyer, who, in 2003, announced he was setting up the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice to train arbitrators to use Ontario's existing arbitration legislation. But SyedMumtaz Ali's view of Shariah was unabashedly fundamentalist and political.

The province ducked for cover by asking Boyd to examine the issue. It has sat on her report since last December.

In the meantime, opponents have dug in.

"The volatility of the debate has a lot to do with what people have experienced . . . in countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, where there is no doubt that Islamic law -- particularly these medieval rules of law -- are being enforced in various ways and have the effect of discriminating against women," said Anver Emon, a U.S. scholar in Islamic law at the University of Toronto.

But Emon said both extremes in the debate are defining Islamic law as a medieval model that won't fit in the modern Canadian context.

"What's interesting is both of these (warring) groups have the same conception of Shariah: it's these medieval rules," he said.

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CBC News

Global groups unite against Islamic arbitration in Ontario

Last Updated Sun, 04 Sep 2005 22:09:12 EDT

CBC News

Almost 100 organizations around the globe will protest Thursday against a proposal that would allow Islamic law to be used in family arbitration and mediation cases in Ontario.

Canadian and European feminist groups, dissidents from some Islamic states such as Iran, human-rights activists, writers and journalists will march Thursday in six European cities, and at least five Canadian ones. Protests will take place in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Victoria, and in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Gutenberg, Stockholm, London and Paris.

Speakers at the Canadian events will include journalists June Callwood, Irshad Manji and Sally Armstrong.

Sohaila Sharifi, an Iranian emigrant who is organizing the London protest, said the protests are part of a global battle between secular societies and "political Islam."

"If [hardline Muslims] win this fight in Canada, there is always the possibility that they would see it as a victory that could bring them one step forward," Sharifi said in an e-mail exchange with the Canadian Press.

"They would use the same argument to establish the same religious system here in Europe and elsewhere."

The Ontario proposal was developed by the former Ontario attorney general, Marion Boyd, and has been embraced by many Muslims - both conservative and mainstream.

It would make it legal for Muslims to seek Islamic arbitration and mediation for family disputes such as divorce, custody and inheritance cases. Boyd says this isn't the same as Shariah law, which - as practised in the Middle East - allows the death penalty for adultery, requires alimony to be paid for only three months, and tends to award custody of children to their fathers.

When the report was first released in Dec. 2004, critics said allowing Islamic arbitration would effectively legalize the suppression of Muslim women - while supporters argued it would be consistent with Canadian values of multiculturalism and tolerance.

At the time, Marilou McPhedran, lawyer for the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said the report set the stage for the adoption of Shariah law inOntario. McPhedran said it gave "legitimacy and credibility to the right-wing racists who fundamentally are against equal rights for men and women."

The report also angered Tarek Fatah, with the Canadian Muslim Congress, who said it would create "an under-class of underprivileged people who can go into their ghettos and deal with issues and not bother them."

Boyd was asked to review Ontario's Arbitration Act after the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice requested religious-based arbitrations, similar to those that have been used in Ontario for the past 15 years. Currently in Ontario, both Jews and Catholics can choose religious arbitration if they like.

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The Brandon Sun: Online

International protests against Shariah tribunals in Ontario set for Thursday

Sunday, September 4th, 2005 By:

OTTAWA (CP) - Protesters will take to the streets this week in cities from Amsterdam to Victoria, all because of a bureaucratic proposal that would allow Islamic law to be used in Ontario family arbitration cases. The long-delayed decision on whether to formally include - and regulate - Shariah religious arbitration in the province has raised alarms among Canadian and European women's groups, dissidents from hardline Islamic states such as Iran, human-rights activists, writers and humanist advocates. Almost 100 organizations have banded together under the banner of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada. On Thursday, they'll march in six European cities and at least five in Canada. Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Victoria all have protests planned, along with Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Gutenberg, Stockholm, London and Paris. Sohaila Sharifi, an Iranian emigrant who is organizing the protest in front of the Canadian High Commission in London, said the Ontario situation is emblematic of a global battle between secular societies and "political Islam." "If they win this fight in Canada, there is always the possibility that they would see it as a victory that could bring them one step forward," Sharifi said in an e-mail exchange. "They would use the same argument to establish the same religious system here in Europe and elsewhere." The "they" in question represent an odd, informal coalition of hardline Islamic fundamentalists, mainstream Muslim groups and a former NDP attorney general from Ontario who studied the issue at length and came up with the current proposal. But Marion Boyd's vision of provincially regulated religious arbitration - an existing 15-year-old system that would be further tightened under the mantle of Ontario family law and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms - bears little resemblance to the Shariah law being debated by warring camps. The Boyd report was prompted by a retired Muslim lawyer, who in 2003 announced he was setting up the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice to train arbitrators to use Ontario's existing arbitration act. But Syed Mumtaz Ali's view of Shariah was unabashedly fundamentalist and political. The Ontario government ducked for cover by asking Boyd to examine the issue. It has sat on her report since last December. In the meantime, opponents have dug in. "The volatility of the debate has a lot to do with what people have experienced . . . in countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, where there is no doubt that Islamic law - particularly these medieval rules of law - are being enforced in various ways and have the effect of discriminating against women," said Anver Emon, an American scholar in Islamic law recently hired by the University of Toronto. But Emon said both extremes in the debate are choosing to define Islamic law as a medieval model that simply will not fit in the modern Canadian context. "What's interesting is both of these (warring) groups have the same conception of Shariah: it's these medieval rules," he said. "Both of them adopt the same definition and both adopt the kind of fundamentalism about the law that you find in the Wahhabi circles: that Islamic law is nothing more than this strict, really rigorous, fundamentalist, literal reading of the Qur'an, the traditions of the prophet and these medieval rules. "My retort is, certainly the process of Shariah is a very different conception than simply the rules of Shariah." Emon said there's an entire medieval legal theory in Islamic law "that no one seems to be talking about." That theory, said Emon, explains Islamic law as an interpretive process in which the norms and cultures of society are constantly engaged to construct a legal system. But try telling that to advocates such as Michele Vianes, president of the Paris-based group Regards de femmes. In France, proponents of Shariah courts have served to isolate young Muslim girls, for instance, by insisting they must not consort with males, even in school classrooms. Political Islam doesn't recognize secular law, Vienes said in an interview. "For all Europeans, women particularly, we think Canada is a country where women's rights are very strong. For us, it is unbelievable that Shariah institutes are possible in Canada." Their protests this week, she said, are aimed both at sending a clear message to their own governments and to the current attorney general of Ontario. "We hope that all together we can make a difference, change the law in Ontario and (make) Mr. Michael Bryant change his mind."

© 2005 The Brandon Sun

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Toronto Now

http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/current/news_story8.php

News

SHARIA SHOWDOWN

HEAVY SECURITY, KORANIC SPARRING MARK VISIT OF RADICAL DUTCH MP

Imagine public speaking while you are under a death threat.

That's what three heavily guarded speakers were forced to do August 12 at U of T's Earth Sciences Building at a meeting of 400 hosted by the International Campaign Against Sharia Court.

U of T police, bolstered by the RCMP and personal bodyguards, kept a wary watch as Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Canadian TV host and writer Irshad Manji and Iranian-born social worker Homa Arjomand urged Ontario not to establish sharia law courts.

Although Manji, a lesbian Muslim reformist and author, has had her share of death threats for writing The Trouble With Islam (and not just for the prose), it is Ayaan Hirsi Ali who must live under 24-hour security. At the age of five in Somalia, she was genitally mutilated a cultural, not an Islamic tradition. Hirsi Ali later escaped an arranged marriage and fled to Holland, where she became an MP and established the Islam Reform Project.

She wrote the script for the film Submission, directed by Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh (grand-nephew of Vincent), who was murdered last year by a Muslim fundamentalist. A note stabbed to his chest threatened her as well. Time magazine selected Hirsi Ali as one of the most influential people of 2004.

But despite the charged atmosphere, this meeting's only clashes are a few feisty verbal exchanges when sharia court enthusiasts berate the panel. Three heavily veiled women in the audience one with even her hands covered are furiously taking notes and shaking their heads.

The oldest veiled woman comes to the mic. "Do you speak Arabic?" she asks Hirsi Ali sharply. This is to become a motif; apparently, Muslims who speak Arabic are better interpreters of the Koran than non-Arabic-speaking Muslims. "No,'' responds Hirsi Ali.

"Well, if you spoke Arabic you would know that Islamic law says "leave,' not "beat,' the wife," says the woman at the mic, addressing a section of the code that most scholars interpret as giving a husband the right to beat his disobedient wife.

"Then why," asks Hirsi Ali, regal in a red suit and heels, her posture impeccable, "does it not also say that women may "leave' their husbands?" The audience erupts in hoots and applause.

Indeed, sharia law, a code meant to cover religious rituals and everyday life, is all about how scholars construe the Koran. That's why there's not one code but several, depending upon the country. But do we really want official recognition here of a system with a built-in bias against women? Canadian women with fewer divorce rights than men? Canadian women facing an inbuilt bias in favourof husbands getting custody of older children in divorce? Canadian women with fewer inheritance rights than their brothers?

In one way, this is all too late. The proposal for courts only extends the already existing use of sharia law, which, along with other faith-based family dispute resolution processes like the one for Orthodox Jews, was made legal by the 1991 Arbitration Act.

But this act is exactly what sharia court detractors want rescinded. On September 8 they are heading to Queen's Park to join embassy protests in a number of European cities demanding that the Ontario Libs get rid of all religious meddling in the judicial system.

Sharia supporters respond that they feel secure that women's rights will be completely protected in the proposed tribunals: the system is completely voluntary, claimants can appeal any ruling, and the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms always takes precedence.

But Hirsi Ali and Arjomand argue that while that's all very nice in theory, few devout Muslim women, many of whom are newcomers, would challenge a sharia ruling. "I work with abused women,'' says Arjomand, "and I know they have no opportunity to say no to their husband, brothers or these arbitrators. These women have no choice but to stay in an abusive relationship or commit suicide.''

Says Hirsi Ali in her calm Somali-accented English, "Women in minority communities are very, very dependent on their families, clans and religious communities. They cannot stand up to that [sharia], and it would be wrong, really wrong, for a liberal democracy like Canada to allow it.''

As she speaks, a particularly frightening stone-faced female bodyguard looms just inches from her.

A man from Iran whose name is Islam stands up. "It is not a linguistic problem about what the Koran says," he asserts. "The beating of women is a physical, realistic oppression. You see it everywhere in Islam."

Another participant, a divertingly good-looking young man, complains that Manji doesn't even pronounce "jihad correctly.'' Manji defends herself, saying she reads the Koran in Arabic.

Addressing the questioner, Hirsi Ali says, "I am fascinated by your sense of priority. There are millions of Muslim women who are subjugated, and people like you say it is in the Koran. Here I have this strong, handsome, highly educated gentleman. [Hirsi Ali is clearly practised in dealing with men.] You! And you come and attack three women who have done nothing else but put the lens for the first time on all those women who are oppressed. I'm really fascinated by men like you. You never, never bring up the subject of the oppression of Muslim women. Is it because you have a stake in that?''

The applause and hooting is extended. The young man stalks out.

When Irshad Manji gives her address, she calls for a reinterpretation of Muslim law before sharia law should even be considered. "Muslims who wish to live "by the book,' as we say in this country, have no choice but to make choices about what to emphasize in the Koran," she says. "Selectiveness is inevitable, and that's good news, because it means that alternate interpretations are possible. We self-defining, moderate Muslims have got to be vocal about what those liberal interpretations are.

"There are female-friendly passages in the Koran. Women have every right to reject marriage, and the Koran actually encourages them to impose conditions on the terms of marriage,'' says Manji, the only one of the three who is not a secularist.

A recurring concern for many activists against sharia, especially for Jews, is that the campaign may in this post-9/11 climate be construed as wholesale racism against Muslims and Arabs. But Hirsi Ali is reassuring. Sensitivity to this issue, she says, should not block the anti-sharia movement.

Hirsi Ali, who now defines herself as secular, says she is constantly accused of racism by Dutch intellectuals. "Has political correctness gone too far and stopped us from challenging?" she asks. Are we really going to tolerate the subjugation of women in the name of respecting someone else's culture?

"I come from Somalia. In Somalia, female genital mutilation is high culture. Would you say to a Somali minority [that it's all right to] practise female genital mutilation in Canada?"

**

news@nowtoronto.com

NOW | SEPTEMBER 1 - 7, 2005 | VOL. 25 NO. 1

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National Post

http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/toronto/story.html?id=f17e8a90-ff72-40e0-96f5-adcefe614e40

Sharia wouldn't harm women's rights: McGuinty

Canadian Press

September 6, 2005

TORONTO -- The rights of women "will not be compromised'' if Ontario becomes the first Western jurisdiction to allow Muslims to use a set of religious rules known as Shariah law to settle civil and marital disputes, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.

"Whatever we do will be in keeping with the values of Ontarians and Canadians, I can say that much,'' McGuinty said after visiting a local school for the first day of classes.

"I'm not going to say any more than that at this point in time. People will just have to be patient.''

A report by former NDP attorney general Marion Boyd recommends Ontario allow Muslims to establish Shariah-based tribunals similar to Jewish and Catholic arbitration bodies already operating in the province.

The government has had Boyd's controversial report in hand since December, but McGuinty was offering no clues Tuesday about when or even if the province will act on its recommendations.

Attorney General Michael Bryant was still examining the report, he said.

"I know that he's reviewing it and at some point in time he's going to come forward with some recommendations for us,'' McGuinty said.

"And then we'll act on it at that point in time.''

Conservative justice critic Bob Runciman said he couldn't understand why the Liberal government decided to tackle the Shariah issue in the first place when there was little call for it from Muslims inOntario.

"I'm not sure why they put their toe in the water,'' Runciman said. "I don't know that there was an enormous demand for it to occur.''

The New Democrats believe Ontario should follow Quebec's lead and exempt all family law matters from the province's Arbitration Act so courts would never have to enforce rulings from a religious tribunal that could infringe on Charter of Rights guarantees.

"The public courts should not be used to enforce anything other than the public law,'' said NDP justice critic Peter Kormos.

"That doesn't prevent anybody from going to their imam or their rabbi ... to resolve their differences, except that it (would) be voluntary compliance.''

Opponents claim the push for Shariah is part of an extremist Islamic agenda, and say it discriminates against women in basic matters such as divorce, inheritance rights and child custody.

Almost 100 organizations have banded together under the banner of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada and plan protests around the world.

On Thursday, they'll march in at least five Canadian cities: Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Victoria. Protests are also planned in six European cities: London, Paris, Amsterdam,Stockholm, Goteborg, Sweden, and Dusseldorf, Germany.

The Boyd report was prompted by a retired Muslim lawyer who in 2003 announced he was setting up the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice to train arbitrators to use Ontario's Arbitration Act.

But Syed Mumtaz Ali's view of Shariah was considered unabashedly fundamentalist and political, unlike Boyd's vision of provincially regulated religious arbitration under the mantle of family law andCanada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

© Canadian Press 2005

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Elle Magazine,

Pas d’immixtion religieuse dans le système judiciaire Intervention de Michèle Vianès, présidente de « Regards de Femmes » lors du rassemblement du 8 septembre, devant l’Ambassade du Canada à Paris Au nom de Homa Arjomand, co-fondatrice de l’International Campaign against Sharia Court in Canada, de toutes les associations, y compris musulmanes, qui exigent une même justice pour tous les canadiens et dénoncent le racisme de ceux qui voudraient les enfermer dans une «pseudo-loi familiale musulmane » qui n’existe pas et surtout au nom des femmes à qui on ne doit plus imposer le jugement de chefs religieux autoproclamés en cas de conflits familiaux, je vous remercie de votre présence. Les rassemblements d’aujourd’hui, celui de Paris en particulier, par la diversité des personnes présentes et des associations partenaires, illustration concrète de la laïcité, par les centaines de courriers remis à l’Ambassade, provenant de France, mais aussi de Suisse, de Belgique, du Maghreb et même du Québec, sont observés attentivement. Par le gouvernement Canadien, celui de la Province de l’Ontario, mais également par les chefs de l’Islam politique. Les journalistes canadiens sont étonnés que nous nous préoccupions de ce qui se passe chez eux et de notre solidarité. Oui, nous sommes concernés lorsque des chefs religieux privent des femmes de leurs droits fondamentaux au nom de principes théocratique patriarcaux. Face à l’oppression religieuse, comme héritières et héritiers de Voltaire, nous ne tolérons l’intolérable, ni ici, ni ailleurs. Quant à la solidarité, nous sommes toutes et tous concernés par les tentatives de l’islam politique de saper les fondements des Etats de droit. C’est la même stratégie de manipulation que celle développée chez nous par le prédicateur Tariq Ramadan qui demande à ses adeptes de rendre visibles les différences « pour gêner la France ». Au nom du droit à la différence perverti en différence des droits, ils voudraient que nous les laissions tranquillement opprimer leurs coreligionnaires, à commencer par les femmes. Ils cultivent ainsi le ressentiment et le mépris, voire la haine, de tous ceux qui ne partagent pas leur vision totalitaire et globalisante de l’islam, prépare les jeunes les plus fragiles à se radicaliser et fait le lit du terrorisme. Quelques mots sur cette loi d’Arbitrage. Par un souci d’économie budgétaire visant à désengorger les tribunaux, l’Ontario a adopté en 1991 une loi d’arbitrage permettant le règlement extrajudiciaire des différents, dans un souci de justice « expéditive », moins onéreuse et confidentielle. Le Procureur général était alors Madame Boyd, principale auteur de cette agression contre le droit. La même a été chargée d’évaluer les effets de ses dangereuses élaborations. Cette loi n’exige des arbitres ni compétence particulière, ni neutralité. Ils sont autorisés à régler à l’amiable les litiges de droit familial et successoral, en fonction de croyances religieuses, de pratiques sectaires ou sous la menace fondamentaliste. Dès lors qu’un arbitre tranche un litige, sa décision est finale et en pratique exécutoire. L’Etat n’est plus source de la loi. L’individu disparaît. Il cesse d’être sujet de droit au profit d’une communauté ethnique. La « vieille Europe » en a fait l’expérience dans les années 1930 et 40. Ces héritières et héritiers jeunes s’en souviennent. Depuis 1995, des « juridictions » shariatiques rendent des sentences arbitrales en Ontario. En 2003, en Ontario, les adeptes de l’islam politique ont annoncé, dans leur stratégie de légitimation en Occident, la création d’un « Tribunal de la sharia », l’Institut islamique de Justice Civil (IIJC), au grand dam de Madame Boyd qui aurait préféré le secret sur les conséquences de sa loi. Pour l’avocat des islamistes, M. Ali, « l’interdiction d’appliquer la sharia est levée et les « bons musulmans » ont l’obligation, en vertu de leur foi de ne s’adresser qu’à cette instance pour régler leurs différents[1] ». Le « Conseil islamique des imams » a déclaré « que les arbitres se fient à leur intuition, leur bon sens. Ils sont tombés justes puisque leurs décisions n’ont pas été portées en appel devant un tribunal judiciaire[2]. » Il est probable que la notion de « bons musulmans » ait muselé ceux qui se considèrent comme pieux. Les associations de femmes musulmanes canadiennes se sont insurgées contre ce désir de les enfermer dans des rapports sociaux de sexe archaïques patriarcaux. Il leur a été déclaré que le gouvernement n’avait pas le mandat d’intervenir pour empêcher le projet de suivre son cours, puisque l’IIJC se fonde sur la loi sur l’Arbitrage ! L’Etat de droit a-t-il disparu au Canada ? Une grande campagne nationale et internationale a été lancée à l’initiative de Homa Arjamand, canadienne d’origine iranienne (pétition sur le site www.nosharia.com). Le combat a été relayé par les associations de femmes, musulmanes ou non, canadiennes ou d’ailleurs. Les régressifs de toutes les religions, catholiques intégristes, juifs orthodoxes, fondamentalistes protestants, islamistes, bouddhistes, hindous, sikhs, et sectes en tous genres ont le même objectif : le retour à la vocation démographique et domestique assignée aux femmes, la satisfaction sexuelle du mari. Il faut souligner de plus que l’offensive des extrémistes, notamment musulmans, organise un abus de faiblesse à l’égard de femmes récemment immigrées qui maîtrisent mal les institutions et la langue du pays. Le gouvernement a été contraint de demander l’avis du Procureur général et de la Ministre déléguée à la condition féminine. Ces derniers ont donc confié à Madame Boyd l’enquête sur l’arbitrage par les tribunaux religieux en matière de droit familial et successoral. Le barreau canadien a dénoncé de multiples vices dans les arbitrages, en particulier les décisions discrétionnaires, l’absence d’obligations de sentences arbitrales écrites, le secret de la procédure et de l’issue de l’affaire.. . Et surtout la non-conformité avec les principes d’égalité hommes/femmes, puisque selon la sharia, la femme n’est pas l’égale de l’homme, elle joue un rôle complémentaire, mais doit être traitée… de manière « équitable » ( ?!). Il s’agirait du « relativisme culturel », appellation captieuse de la barbarie. Les femmes musulmanes auditionnées ont rappelé qu’il y avait de nombreuses interprétations de la sharia et que le modèle patriarcal perpétué par les traditions s’opposait frontalement aux principes du droit canadien. En particulier la possibilité d’épouser 4 femmes, la répudiation unilatérale par le mari, les enfants « appartiennent » à la famille paternelle, l’époux peut « corriger » son épouse, les femmes doivent obéissance à leur mari et demander des autorisations pour se déplacer, avoir un tuteur de mariage, pas de pension alimentaire, le témoignage d’une femme vaut seulement la moitié de celui d’un homme, donc le témoignage du mari l’emportera sur celui de sa femme, etc. Homa Arjomand a déclaré : « Nous avons besoin d’un Etat laïque et d’une société laïque qui respectent les droits de la personne. Il est crucial de s’opposer à la loi de la sharia et de subordonner l’islam au laïcisme et aux Etats laïques qui reposent sur le principe selon lequel le pouvoir appartient aux personnes et non à Dieu. La sharia n’est pas seulement une religion, elle est aussi intrinsèquement liée à l’Etat. Elle contrôle tous les aspects de la vie de individus, depuis la menstruation des femmes. L’individu n’a d’autre choix que d’accepter la règle s’il veut éviter des conséquences extrêmes car les non-croyants ne sont pas tolérés.[3] » Tout ceci n’a pas empêché Madame Boyd de conclure qu’ « aucune preuve ne ressort de l’étude pour suggérer que les femmes souffrent systématiquement de discriminations à la suite d’arbitrage en droit des familles[4] ». Elle se contredit puisqu’elle énonce en même temps 46 recommandations qui prouvent –a contrario- les dénis du droit des femmes, des jeunes filles mineures et des enfants. Depuis les protestations nationales et internationales s’amplifient. Le gouvernement de l’Ontario a remis sine die sa décision, en juin 2005 --------------------- Nous dénonçons aujourd’hui ce qui se passe en Ontario. Mais en Europe aussi, malgré la sécularisation de la société, les intégristes religieux tentent d’assujettir les femmes, plus particulièrement les jeunes, pour influer sur le politique. En France des femmes sont également soumises à des « obligations shariatiques ». En effet, en ne respectant pas la Constitution, les lois, en utilisant des lacunes dans le droit, la compassion insensée de certains, des islamistes peuvent opprimer leurs coreligionnaires, à commencer par les femmes. Un tribunal de première instance croit pouvoir considérer que si un religieux rappelle qu’il est permis dans le Coran de battre sa femme et donne les recettes pour le faire, il s’agit simplement du droit de pratiquer sa religion. (Nous avons fait appel de ce jugement). Les femmes étrangères vivant en France ou Françaises, lorsqu’elles retournent dans le pays d’origine de leur famille, se voient opposer le droit personnel de ce pays. Les accords bi-nationaux, acceptables lorsque l’état du droit est équivalent et leurs applications réciproques, ne le sont plus lorsqu’ils ont lieu avec des pays qui ne reconnaissent pas l’égalité des droits hommes-femmes ou qui pratiquent l’excision des fillettes. C’est pourquoi mariages de « jouissance », « pour les papiers », « d’intérêt », forcés, répudiation unilatérale par la volonté du mari, polygamie contractée à l’étranger, enfants confiés à la famille paternelle selon la filiation islamique, concernent des femmes et des enfants français ou vivant sur le territoire. Les tribunaux d’arbitrages privés religieux pour le droit de la famille et des personnes sont inacceptables (ils sont interdits a priori dans le code civil du Québec). Pas d’immixtion d’institutions religieuses dans le système judiciaire. Taslima Nasreen, prix Nobel, affirme : « Nous avons besoin de la laïcité, nous avons besoin des Lumières ». Face aux obscurantistes, nous gagnerons. La loi d’arbitrage pour les litiges de droit familial et successoral en Ontario doit être abolie.

[1] Rapport Boyd [2] id. [3] Ib. [4] Ib.

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