416- 737-9500 www.nosharia.com
May 5, 2005
The Honourable Irwin Cotler
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of
From: Homa Arjomand
Coordinator, “The International Campaign Against Shari’a
Re: The Boyd Report: Dispute Resolution in Family Law
Dear, Mr. Cotler,
On December 20th, Ms Boyd filed her
report with Mr. Bryant’s office concerning the use of the Ontario Arbitration
, to settle family legal matters based on religious laws.
Although the specific issue that we are dealing with is the application of Sharia via the Ontario Arbitration Act, it is clear that the same attempt is being made to use Sharia across
Parts of Sharia,
that Islam considers to be under family law (provincial jurisdiction) is in
fact, under criminal law (federal jurisdiction). A forced consummated marriage
between a 40 year old man and a 13 year old girl would fall under the federal
criminal code, although the proponents of Sharia
Courts insist that it is really just family law.
It is essential that we have a unified and consistent approach for all of
The Campaign worked hard to inform Ms. Boyd and the general public about the past failures and future risks of permitting religious groups to continue to settle family legal matters based on religious laws. Details of these abuses and our concerns appear in our reports and our Resolution 04-11-01, which were filed with Mr. Brynt’s office and with Ms. Boyd.
We believe in a secular court and “one law for all”. We oppose the current two-tier legal system of secular and religious courts; where religious tribunals make binding rulings on family legal matters based on formal and informal religious laws, codes and values.
Therefore we’re deeply disappointed to read on page 133 of Ms. Boyd’s report that she has recommended that the Arbitration Act may continue to be used by religious groups to settle family legal matters based on religious laws:
1. Arbitration should continue to be an alternative dispute resolution option that is available in family and inheritance law cases, …
2. The Arbitration Act should continue to allow disputes to be arbitrated using religious law, … [page 133]
As Coordinator of the Campaign Against Shari’a Court in
We respectfully request such a meeting at your earliest convenience.