The folly of sharia in
Headshot of Lysiane Gagnon
By LYSIANE GAGNON
Monday, September 5, 2005 Page A15 Globe and Mail
It was with nearly unanimous indignation that Quebeckers
learned that, thanks to the
>From the start, a Montreal-based coalition joined hands
lobby against the project. One of
the most outspoken opponents was Quebec Liberal MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin,
a Muslim raised in
This week, protest marches will be held in various cities,
Nobody believes that adulterous women are about to be stoned on Ste-Catherine Street, but the sanctioning of sharia-based civil rules by a liberal democracy -- a clear case of multiculturalism gone mad -- is ample cause for worry. The gradual implantation of sharia in Western countries is part of an extremist Islamist agenda.
"If Western countries accept such a regression, just
imagine the effect it will have on women who live in Muslim countries,"
says Michèle Vianes, a co-ordinator of the protest in France who is in close contact
with women's rights organizations in
There is no sound argument that can support such a move. In
her infamous review of
This reasoning makes no sense. To take an extreme example, incest is committed every day behind closed doors. Should the state step in and draw up rules to limit the damage?
We are asked to believe that the decisions of the religious panels will respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is oxymoronic, since sharia
-- in its various interpretations -- is inherently incompatible with a key element of the Charter: equality between men and women. It discriminates against women on such basic matters as divorce, inheritance rights and child custody.
Ah well, we're then told, there will be safeguards since the arbitrators'
decisions will be reviewed by Ontario Superior Court judges. But considering the backlog that hampers the mainstream legal system, one wonders why judges should be required to spend time reviewing a series of religious verdicts.
Faced with the likelihood that observant Muslim women -- or women married to observant Muslim men -- will be pressed to comply with the sharia-based process, Ms. Boyd devised a complicated, heavily bureaucratic and completely unrealistic formula.
Let's apply a little bit of Cartesian logic to the situation. If the sharia-inspired decisions are compatible with the Charter, why allow a sharia-based tribunal in place of a regular court? And if the sharia-inspired decisions are not compatible with the Charter, why allow a system that goes against Canadian values? There is a simpler, safer way to ensure fairness in our society: Let everyone, regardless of gender and faith, be judged by the same principles.
This system has occasionally been used by some
ultra-Orthodox Jews as well as by Muslims. B'nai Brith