Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Careful With That Axe, Eugene

Thanks to TruePeers for sending this over to me:

Premier Dalton McGuinty said today Ontario will reject the use of Shariah law and will move to prohibit all religious-based tribunals to settle family disputes such as divorce.

His announcement comes after hundreds of demonstrators around the world this week protested a proposal to let Ontario residents use Islamic law for settling family disputes.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was reacting to a recommendation, by former NDP attorney general Marion Boyd, to allow Muslims to establish Shariah-based tribunals similar to Jewish and Catholic arbitration bodies

In Montreal around 100 people gathered Thursday to protest the tribunals. In Ottawa more than 100 others, mostly women, protested in the rain in front of the parliament building.

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

"If the Shariah 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.

Other protests were planned this week in Waterloo and Victoria, and in Europe in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, Goteborg, London and Paris.

Ontario has allowed Catholic and Jewish faith-based tribunals to settle family law matters on a voluntary basis since 1991, but the practice got little attention until Muslim leaders demanded the same rights.

It is good news that Canada has opted to quash the introduction of Sharia into their legal system. However, they are doing it by eliminating Jewish and Christian arbitration, which they have allowed for years. TruePeers comments:

The Judeo-Christian ethical system is the moral foundation of out liberal democracies. It is the moral foundation of Western Civilization. If we eliminate Sharia by also eliminating our own moral foundation, we will have cut our legs out from underneath ourselves: 

TruePeers also sends along this quotation:

  "The 'secular state' is a liberal state, but it is neither opposed to religion nor does it fancy itself the referee of religion.  It is liberal because it knows that it is temporary, not because it imagines itself to be neutral." - Douglas Farrow