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Public Meeting, Saturday, June 26 7:30-10:00PM

Shari’a, A Threat to the Canadian Society

by Elka Enola

Islam, like all religions, has adherents ranging from fundamentalists who take every written word of their ancient religious texts as the literal contemporary truth, to people who are almost secular and who are fully integrated into the wider society of their nation state.

What distinguishes Political Islam from the other mainstream religions is the rigid application of Shari’a. Law.

The 4 most significant aspects of Shari’a for us to consider are:

1 Shari’a contains regulations concerning all aspects of human behavior including those which we, in Canada, consider to be under the criminal code as well as those, such as Family Law, which in Canada are governed by Provincial law.

2 Shari’a applies to all Muslims no matter where in the world they live.

3.Shari’a denies anyone the right to leave Islam. Those born into a Muslim home are considered, under Shari’a, to be Muslim forever

4.The laws of Shari’a supercede the laws of the nation state. In Muslim countries, the laws of the country must be in accordance with Shari’a. In non-Muslim countries, Muslims are to follow Shari’a as much as they can without breaking the law, and to make every attempt to alter the law so that it is in accordance with Shari’a.

What makes understanding Shari’a suddenly so significant is the fact that The Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (Canada) was founded last year to provide decisions under Shari’a law which could then be brought before the Ontario court for legal sanction. Under the Arbitration Act 1991, the courts would be obligated to enforce the agreements, provided they were not contrary to Canadian law.

But all this seemed so irrelevant. Currently, most mosques have imams who dispense Shari’a law. Currently any decisions they reach can be brought before the Ontario courts in accordance with the Arbitration Act. So the glaring question is: “What is the real purpose of the Islamic Institute?”

The most obvious purpose is to give Shari’a decisions a greater impact within the Muslim community, where members would be led to believe that Shari’a decisions really had the force of civil law behind them. This is important. If family law decisions agreed to under Shari’a reached the civil courts, most of those decisions would be thrown out. The intent, it seems, is to keep decisions detrimental to women, children, apostates and homosexuals, tightly within the Muslim community, and unchallenged.

To really understand the broader purpose of establishing the Shari’a Court, it is useful to learn what the leaders say and what they believe.

Syed Mumtaz Ali, President of The Canadian Society of Muslims is the main driving force behind the Islamic Institute / Court. The quotes that follow are from articles by him and can be found at http://muslim-canada.org . My comments are in caps and within parenthesis.

“As for Muslim’s (sic) living in non-Muslim countries like Canada, for instance, the Prophet p.b.u.h, has laid down the law that they are to be considered as if they are non-resident Bedouins. Such Muslims, therefore have to observe the Divine Law of Islam, no matter where they live”

Establish a Darul Qada - a judicial tribunal that will, in effect, operate as a private Islamic Court of Justice.”

( it is significant that only the Muslims call their tribunal ‘a court’)

“...apply our own Muslim Personal law, including family law (e.g. marriage, khula, divorce, custody, guardianship, mehr, division of property, wills and inheritance, gifts, waqf etc”

(it is interesting that the specific examples selected are all ones in which the Muslim law discriminates against females. The only way that can t be done in the context of Canadian law and values is to coerce females into accepting the Islamic decisions without recourse to secular law and, I would guess, without the awareness of their right to the more favourable secular law of the land.)

“According to Islam, as a consequence of this philosophy, despite the various ethnic racial and other differences, non-Muslims too are treated collectively as one people, one community, one nation, one Ummah...”

(So much for the Muslim understanding of the Canadian concept of Multiculturalism. This is entirely a we-they view of the world.)

“Blasphemy -It includes a denial of any of the essential principles of Islam. A Muslim convicted of blasphemy is sentenced to death in Muhammadan countries... If a boy under age apostatize, he is not to be put to death, but to be imprisoned until he comes to full age, when, if he continues in the state of unbelief, he must be put to death.”

The apostate has to choose between Islam and the sword; he cannot be given quarter, nor will he be allowed to become a dhimmi, i.e. a resident non-Muslim subject of the Muslim State, on payment of the yearly protection-tax.”

( Not exactly the Canadian way.)

“Every civilisation (sic) not the least the modern Western one - both in the communistic and capitalistic manifestations - has provided capital punishment against violating the integrity of what it considers its very raison d’etre; and one cannot deny that right to Islam. ”

(The reference to “communistic and capitalistic manifestations” clearly shows that the idea of killing blasphemers is not taken out of context from discussions applying to centuries ago, but rather is intended to be applied in our contemporary society.)

“It is well known that Islam provides a complete system for regulating every aspect of human life. The rules, obligations, injunctions and prohibitions laid down by or derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah produce a complete picture of the Muslim community, from which no part can be removed without the rest being damaged. “

(It is clear that Muslims such as those proposing the application of Shari’a law operate under the restrictions of Canadian Law with great difficulty. They truly believe they are doing something sinful. They truly would do anything to be allowed to live under full Shari’a.)

“The following additional differences and distinctions between the Islamic and western ideologies, philosophies of life and legal systems (including systems of punishment) deserve particular attention:”

“Islam does not believe in the principle of separation of the spiritual and the temporal, the sacred and the profane nor the church and the state.”

(Worth repeating. Islam does not believe in the separation of church and state.)

“Similarly unlike in the western system, Islam does not separate the treatment of the moral and the legal. Islamic law is essentially a code of moral standards which are to be observed in a Muslim Society and the function of the law is to enforce these moral standards even by punishments. Islamic Society’s standard of morality is indeed very much higher and strict (sic) than those of other societies.”

“Islam makes no distinction between private and public morality. The Islamic concept of PERSONAL FREEDOM is the complete opposite of contemporary western thought. According to Islam, personal freedom is available and permissible only in respect to matters which are NOT REGULATED by the injunctions and prohibitions laid down by the Qur’an and the Sunnah, for these are expressions of the inherent Divine Wisdom manifested through the Divine Will. ”

“Finally, the most important point of all is the concept of Sovereignty and legislative authority. A proper understanding of the Islamic concept of Sovereignty and its paramount significance (which permeates every aspect of human life), will help explain many differences between the Islamic legal systems and western legal systems: In Islam all (political, legal and popular) sovereignty belongs to God alone. Every Muslim is bound by his faith to acknowledge God as the sovereign in all spheres of life –––– moral, social, cultural, economic and political. Islam repudiates entirely the latest version of the philosophy of western democracy in which the west accepts the absolute sovereignty of the people, the absolute powers of legislation rest in the hands of the people, lawmaking is their prerogative and legislation must correspond to the mood and temper of their opinion.”

(This too bears repeating, Islam repudiates entirely the latest version of the philosophy of western democracy in which the west accepts the absolute sovereignty of the people...”)

It gets even worse. While Canadian law changes as needs change, under Islam the laws are ancient and immutable.

“Simply put, western constitutions are amendable, although with very rigid rules for very special circumstances. In Islam, however, the Shari’a (sic) (i.e. the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet) which may be regarded as a parallel to the western style of constitutional law, is not amendable - period.”

Finally, how does Syed Mumtez Ali, view his adopted country of Canada?

“In practice, the alleged liberal-mindedness of Canadians and their claim to world leadership as international brokers of peace and peace-keeping or as champions of fairness and equality, etc., etc., amounts to mere platitudes meant only for foreign consumption and packaged to please the ears of the international community.”

I do not believe our laws and regulations are able to deal with my Worst Case (but probable) Scenario which is based on what the proponents of The Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (Canada) say publically. In fact, I believe our laws are such that they can, and will be, twisted and turned upon us so that the out come will be one that damages Canadian values.

Stage One Using the Arbitration Act, the Shari’a courts appear to get legal sanction and many women and gays feel socially, economically and psychologically pressured to participate in and accept the decisions of the Shari’a court. This is the first stage in the consolidation of power.

Stage Two Multiculturalism is used as a vehicle for demands such as state financed Muslim schools where girls and boys are kept totally separate from each other from Kindergarten on and are given different curricula. This will guarantee that they will not grow up into the Canadian expectation of adults able to exist in egalitarian relationships whether in marriage, friendship or at work.

Stage Three Muslims now outnumber Christians and the majority rule of democracy is turned on its head as the majority Muslims make Shari’a the law of the land.

We must protect Canada from such a scenario.

I see the needed action as three pronged: The Muslim Community; The Governments and Non-Muslim Society.

1 The Muslim community should be responsible for educating Muslims, especially through radio and tv ads .

2 Governments should provide funds for Muslim women's groups. Governments should undertake a re-evaluation of Canadian and provincial laws to ensure that our civil laws are outside the reach of Shari’a.

3 The non Muslim sector of society must make sure that those Muslims and apostates who do reach out get the appropriate support that they need such as physical shelter, ESL classes, help in acculturation and job training.

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Last updated: 12/29/06.