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Canada's Sharia Option By: Val MacQueen
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, May 10, 2004

"It's something nobody can change and we must follow," said Suad Almad at her women’s group in Toronto.  "We come to Canada and we become lost . . . We need our own court and we need our own law.” The speaker, a Somalian, was admitted to Canada as a refugee, thanks to the generosity of the citizenry of Canada, twelve years ago.  But that wasn’t enough.  Now she has decided that Canada’s tradition of one law applied equally to everyone isn’t to her taste.  

According to the Washington Post Foreign Service, up piped another woman at the same meeting, who also thinks Muslims should be judged according to their own beliefs.  “No stealing, no drugs, no sex without marriage. No pork. This is our law.  A man may take a second or third wife if he is able to support them financially. Yes, there is jealousy, but it is allowed under Sharia.  We are Somali and we are Muslim. When we go to court, the judge understands the secular system, but doesn't understand Sharia law.”

So after 12 years in the country, they apparently haven’t had the will to commit themselves to Canadian citizenship, although they do have the impudence to suggest that Canada amend its laws to suit them.


Well, we all thought the Netherlands or France would be the first to adopt some form of Sharia law as the thin end of the wedge of catering to Muslim immigrants who universally appear unable to fit in with their host societies.  Yet the Netherlands has just put a four-year moratorium on all immigration, including “asylum seekers”, has stopped schooling Muslim children in the home language of their parents/grandparents, and has closed down many of its Muslim community centers.  And France is banning the headscarf on school property and is shoveling undesirable imams out of the country at a rate of knots.


So Canada has become the first country in the West to kowtow to immigrant Islamic demands that they not only have a right to settle in the country and be free to practice their religion unhindered, but also the right to bring their own laws with them.


Syed Mumtaz Ali, the president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, began lobbying for a Sharia court around two years ago. He claims that the tribunals would allow Muslims to practice freedom of religion, as though they couldn’t before. “Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries like Canada are like wandering Bedouins.


“Although they are free to live according to the Divine Law to practice their faith unhindered in their homes and mosques, they have practically no say in the making of the laws of the land and governmental institutions do not cater to their needs.”  This, of course, is because we in the West have people we call “elected representatives” to formulate laws, after proper debate.    If you can’t get elected, you are not a lawmaker.


At the moment, the Sharia tribunals will be only for settling civil disputes between Muslims. 


Human Rights Announcements notes:  “Firstly, this is an issue of law and not religion per se.

Secondly, the scope of such a court is only in the sphere of personal family law so do not entertain thoughts on the criminal law aspects of the Sharia.”  Yet. Point number three begs the question, where have we heard that one before?   “Third, there are legal safeguards in place to ensure abuses of power do not occur.”  “Fourth, there is already legal precedent for this such as the Sentencing Circles of Canadian Aboriginal peoples.”


World News Net, however, does not take such a sunny view, saying, “Canadian judges soon will be enforcing Islamic law, or Sharia, in disputes between Muslims, possibly paving the way to one day administering criminal sentences, such as stoning women caught in adultery.”  This may sound a little panicky right now, but how many people 20 years ago would have believed that a civilized Western country would one day tack a Koran-dictated law into its system?  How many people 20 years ago had even heard of the Koran?


Among other Canadians who have retained their sanity, there are some Muslim women concerned that they will not be treated fairly in civil disputes with males.   Under Sharia, “a woman's testimony ... counts only as half that of a man. So in straight disagreements between husband and wife, the husband’s testimony will normally prevail. In questions of inheritance, whilst under Canadian law sons and daughters would be treated equally, under the Sharia daughters receive only half the portion of sons. If the Institute were to have jurisdiction in custody cases, the man will automatically be awarded custody once the children have reached an age of between seven and nine years.”   


Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario attorney general, said a 1991 Ontario arbitration law permits such arbitration according to religious principles, just as rabbis in Jewish communities and priests in Christian communities help to resolve civil disputes.


“People can agree to resolve disputes any way acceptable.  If they decide to resolve disputes using principles of Sharia and using an imam as an arbitrator, that is perfectly acceptable under the arbitration act.”  He added that both parties to a dispute had to enter into arbitration on a voluntary basis.


The system with rabbis as arbitrators to which Crawley refers is the Beit Din, which can settle civil disputes between Jews (and, as it happens, anyone else who asks for its help).  As these courts have been contributing to the peaceful settlement of civil disputes in Toronto, for example, for a couple of hundred years, they are regarded as benign and highly respectable.   In fact, there are instances of gentiles asking for their help and agreeing to be bound on decisions based on Jewish law.  Sharia tribunals are being ushered in camouflaged by the well-earned respectability of Beit Din.


Among Canada’s 600,000 Muslims, however, not everyone welcomes this move and fears that Muslim women, who only count as half a man under Sharia, have been addressed by nothing but platitudes of the “trust us” variety.  One of these is to train some Muslim women as arbitrators, although, given the above beliefs, it follows that a Muslim man would presumably be able to dispute a decision arrived at by a female arbitrator as her decision would only count for half as much as a decision from a male arbitrator.


There is disquiet about this move within Ontario’s Muslim community itself.  According to the Washington Post Foreign Service, Alia Hogben, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said she opposes the religious tribunals. “It is difficult to speak up because we don't want to feed into anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic stuff that is developing now.  We are religious Muslim women. We don't want to come across as anti-Muslim. On the other hand, we cannot be quiet about something that worries us.”


The same Syed Mumtaz Ali quoted above quickly moved to play the multiculti card, saying, “It offers not only a variety of choices, but shows the real spirit of our multicultural society.”  But blogger Instapundit notes, there is no free choice being offered Muslims.  Once these sharia courts exist, a Muslim cannot simply opt to go to a normal arbitration tribunal instead.   “On religious grounds, a Muslim who would choose to opt out … would be guilty of a far greater crime than a mere breach of contract – and this would be tantamount to blasphemy or apostasy.”  As Instapundit adds, “You are aware that blasphemy and apostasy are among the worst crimes in Islam, in many countries punishable by death.”


Canada has a rational, just, internationally respected legal system, put in place by elected representatives over the course of 200 years with the consent of its citizenry.  The introduction of a primitive form of law based not on justice, but on superstition, must be regarded by everyone outside the country as important proof that Canada has lost its moorings.  Airy protests to the contrary, they have handed Muslim immigrants the thin end of the wedge.  If we know anything about the attitudes of Islamic immigrants to the West, this will evolve over the ensuing years, under the banner of “religious freedom” (which they deny to everyone but themselves), into a full scale parallel legal system for Muslims within Canada.  And how long after that until, like an aggressive virus, it begins to eat into the body of its host?


Who would have guessed the first Western country to set its feet on the path of dhimmitude would be in the New World and not the old? 


Dhimmi Watch defines dhimmitude as: “The status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians.  Dhimmis, ‘protected people’, are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they ‘feel themselves subdued’ (Sura 9:29). This denial of equality of rights and dignity remains part of the Sharia, and, as such, are part of the law that global jihadists are laboring to impose everywhere, ultimately on the entire human race. The dhimmi attitude of chastened subservience has entered into Western academic study of Islam, and from there into journalism, textbooks, and the popular discourse. One must not point out the depredations of jihad and dhimmitude; to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today.'


Oh, Canada!

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