On March 25th Homa Arjomand the coordinator of “the International Campaign against Sharia Court in Canada” arranged a meeting with Mr. John Gregory the crown Counsel of Ministry of the Attorney General.
At this meeting Fouzieh Radmer from “Women’s Rights in Middle East”, Mahmoud Ahmadi from“International Federation of Iranian Refugees”, Furugh Arghavan from “the campaign in defense of women’s right”, Mohammad Kazami from “ Children First” ,Elka Enola and Ernie Enola from“ The Humanist association of Canada” and “The Humanist association of Toronto” Homa Rouhi Sarlati from “ Iranian Women’s organization of Ontario”, Farida Sheralam from “South Asia Left Democratic Association” and Khayal Ibrahim &Kajal Aziz from “The Organization of women freedom in Iraq ”.
This meeting lasted over three hours and the following issues with case studies were presented:
We examined the legal barriers that would be faced by immigrant women from where Sharia has intense influence, if the Islamic Institute of Civic Justice were to be implemented in Canada. We considered the social reasons why battered women coming from so called Islamic countries remain in abusive relationships here in Canada, and why they are reluctant to report their abuse. In this regard we discussed the social pressure, the strict adherence to role and obligation that Sharia imposes on women.
We noted that these women have very little awareness about their rights in Canada and they are also unaware of any social, legal, health, or other services available to them. In addition to that, the “Institute of Civic Justice “ or “ Sharia court” is misleading Women to believe that the Shari’a court is “an official or government approved” body. That encourages them to choose the Shari’a Court, over the secular court system and instead of public and civil resources of all kinds.
We explained the risk, danger and consequences of disobeying Sharia law, of choosing not to attend the “Islamic Institute of Civic Justice” or deciding to opt out mid process.
We emphasized that political Islam with its recent organized attempt at consolidating power, is seeking state-sponsored frameworks within which to express its power and from which it will be able to unleash religions solicitation over Canadian secular society. Their aim is to use religion as a self-serving, politically strategic and one-sided manipulation of genuine human ideals.
We pinpointed specific consequences of this attempt on our civil society and listed some of the direct violation of social, political and civil rights that will come as whole package with this move.
We made clear the aims of political Islam in Canada and the effect it will have on women and children. We noted that even the mere suggestion of such religious tribunals, generates an atmosphere of fear that undermines hard –earned women’s rights.
At the end we requested not to grant recognition to Sharia law through tribunals set up under the Ontario Arbitration act 1991.
We were told that it is specifically because of our campaign, the public has been made aware of potential hazards of Shari’a tribunal, and that our concerns will be reported to Attorney Genera Michael Bryant.
We will not allow a shallow concept of “religion freedom” to translate into the bondage of thousands of women in Canada.
We demand the complete separation of Sharia law from the secular justice system, preferably by means of a specific act of government. We will not settle for less.