proposal draws protest
10 September 2005 8:56 AM GMT
Canada lets Jewish and
Catholic tribunals settle family disputes
proposal to allow Canadian citizens to use sharia, Muslim
religious law, for settling family disputes has drawn protests from
around the world.
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 Toronto
rights are not negotiable, and we will not tolerate the interference of
religion in our justice system."
western German city of Dusseldorf, about 25 people
protested at the Canadian consulate.
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.
Canadian embassy in The Hague,
about two dozen
people gathered to oppose the proposal.
protesters were born in
sharia is the law
is a sickness, and you don't open the door to invite sickness in," organiser Ebrahimi Poer said.
keep going until this idea is scrapped, and we'll oppose the establishment of
any religious court."
were scheduled in London, Paris,
Stockholm, Goteborg, Ottawa,
Montreal and Vancouver.
people rallied in front of the Ontario
legislative building, some of them shouting "Shame, shame!" as Arjomand quoted Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's promise that sharia
law in Canada
would not compromise women's rights.
he is naive, or he thinks people are stupid!" Arjomand
talk to us about sharia law, Mr. McGuinty. I am coming from a country where marital rape
is protected by sharia law"
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.
practice got little attention until Muslim leaders demanded the same rights.
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.
is what many demonstrators on Thursday wished for. One handmade sign
demanded "Canadian laws for Canadian citizens."
Much of the
rhetoric, however, focused on the oppression of women in countries where sharia is the law of the land.
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.
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
interpretations, sharia gives men more rights than
women in matters of inheritance, divorce and child custody.
example, sharia almost always grants custody of
boys over age 9 and girls older than 13 to their fathers.
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.
of the process is not a proof against a process, just as people wrongfully
imprisoned is not a proof against Canadian law," Shaikh
Sijka said she trusts sharia more
than she would trust Canadian courts.
you have a problem, you want to talk to a stranger?" she asked.
"No, you want someone you know."
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