The Toronto Star published an opinion by York University Professor, Harvey Simmons, a political scientist specializing in fascist movements in France. His piece was what could fairly be described as “Sharia-friendly”. The irony of a non-Muslim male making a career of decrying fascism and seeing no particular danger with legalizing Sharia in Ontario is just too rich to not write about.
Simmons was marking the 5th anniversary of the successful battle by Muslim women in Canada to defeat the proposal by Muslim male political activists to establish Islamic family arbitration councils whose decisions would be enforced through the mechanism of the Ontario Arbitrations Act – a statute that was really intended to deal with commercial matters. However, the Act was broad enough to permit religious arbitrations in the Christian and Jewish communities.
The Ontario Muslim males, who have much to gain by legalizing their doctrinaire power over Muslim females, thought, “Hey, why not us?” Why not indeed? They even got the foolish socialist politician, Marion Boyd, a former Attorney-General, to write a favourable report to the Ontario government. Funny how socialism can turn your thinking ability to mush. Shame on any woman supporting implementation of Sharia to the detriment of her sister citizens.
Professor Simmons seems to have been cooed by the blandishments of the late Syed Mumtaz Ali, the former President of the Islamic Society of Canada and the creator of the proposed “Islamic Institute of Civil Justice” that there would be nothing going on in these arbitrations that violated Ontario law. How can anybody familiar with women’s rights under Sharia accept such nonsense? There is no way the equal rights that all women enjoy in Ontario do not conflict with the Sharia.
Ironically, because religious arbitration now takes place mainly outside the scrutiny of the Ontario courts, there is no way to tell whether women are being treated well or badly in informal religious arbitrations conducted by imams, rabbis or, indeed, any other arbitrator chosen by the parties involved.
What rubbish! Women in Ontario have the right to have their family matters decided in accordance with the Family Law Act. That is where they may apply for justice and that is where they can expose any unfairness in any ad hoc religious arbitrations.
For a very good examination of the problems of reconciling the Sharia with the laws of a secular liberal democracy go to this site.