Gulp! Did we almost accept Sharia law in Canada in 2005 ?!

Sorry if this has been discussed here, but I found no references to it...

You know how I am often bitching about my fellow Canadians being irritatingly way too tolerant... Well here's another example of how recent immigration patterns are stressing Canadian secularity to a fracture point. I wasn't living in Canada at the time this was happening, so I am only finding out right now :(  I realise it's a bit old, but IMO it's a lesson that needs to be digested, remembered, and valued. This is the kind of shit that people too easily forget and it comes back later to bite us in the butt.

Excerpt... read full CTV news item
here News Staff , Sep. 12 2005


Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, has allowed Catholic and Jewish faith-based tribunals to settle family law matters such as divorce on a voluntary basis since 1991.


The practice got little attention until Muslim leaders demanded the same rights.


Officials had to decide whether to exclude one religion, or whether to scrap the religious family courts altogether.


McGuinty said such courts "threaten our common ground," and promised his Liberal government would introduce legislation as soon as possible to outlaw them in Ontario.


"Ontarians will always have the right to seek advice from anyone in matters of family law, including religious advice," he said. "But no longer will religious arbitration be deciding matters of family law."[...]


As far as action atheism is concerned, I think it would be a good idea to keep a registry of which secular states/provinces/nations, allow faith based arbitration. This is mind blowing to me.

Tags: civil liberties, faith based arbitration, religious accomodation, womens rights

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Interesting article on Faith Based Arbitration, along with its inherent 'privatisation of law' and its consequences on women's rights in secular states.

from a website called "Rights and Democracy"

Behind Closed Doors:
How Faith-based Arbitration Shuts Out Women's Rights in Canada and Abroad

Arbitration privatizes justice in two ways: first, by using laws that are not democratically enacted and, second, by occurring in unmonitored forums.

I was living in Ontario at the time, and I was opposed, as were many.  I'd have been opposed to the other faith-based tribunals as well, but in 1991, I was eight years old and not quite into politics at that level.  It sort of flew under the radar until the Sharia deal.


Part of the issue was that all Canadian residents should be subject to the same law without discrimination based on the usual factors.  The bigger concern, given that this issue didn't affect me directly, was that those seeking more orthodox, religious judgments were appealing to a misogynistic moral authority.  Were the rights of Islamic women, Canadian women, going to be respected as equal?


Many Muslim women did publicly protest Sharia law when it was under consideration, as did some Muslim men.  I don't know how representative these demonstrators were of the Canadian Muslim population on the whole though.  Liberal Muslim groups, somewhat unsurprisingly, tend to have much smaller memberships than conservative Muslim groups.

I was unable to find a conclusion to this debate...  I understand that Sharia law was defeated, but has Ontario as yet removed the Jewish and Cath arbitration process? or are those still pending?

The Family Arbitration Act was amended in 2006 to remedy this issue.


1.  (1)  Section 1 of the Arbitration Act, 1991 is amended by adding the following definitions:

“family arbitration” means an arbitration that,

(a) deals with matters that could be dealt with in a marriage contract, separation agreement, cohabitation agreement or paternity agreement under Part IV of the Family Law Act, and

(b) is conducted exclusively in accordance with the law of Ontario or of another Canadian jurisdiction; (“arbitrage familial”)


Other third-party decision-making processes in family matters

2.2  (1)  When a decision about a matter described in clause (a) of the definition of “family arbitration” in section 1 is made by a third person in a process that is not conducted exclusively in accordance with the law of Ontario or of another Canadian jurisdiction,

(a) the process is not a family arbitration; and

(b) the decision is not a family arbitration award and has no legal effect.



Interesting article by The Economist on Faith based arbitration in Europe and the USA.

Sharia in the West

Whose law counts most?
Finding an accommodation between Islamic law and Western legal codes is difficult. But there are some ways forward

Oct 14th 2010


In the United States both secular and religious arbitration are firmly established, operating under a Federal Arbitration Act that gives robust standing to the procedure but also allows the parties to counter-appeal to ordinary courts on certain grounds (though America’s church-state separation stops courts hearing arguments about doctrine). Christian and Jewish arbitration is well-organised. The Muslim variety is lower-key and less formal, but so far not (barring outbursts from tea-partistas like Ms Angle) especially controversial.

The legal and political systems in continental Europe are most prescriptive and leave little room for cultural exceptions, at least in theory. But knotty issues of Islamic family law have arisen in courts all over Europe. Many residents of France and Germany remain citizens of their native countries. Courts usually deal with foreign passport-holders in the light of their home countries’ law, while also upholding the principle that outcomes must not violate “public order” (ie, outrage local opinion).


Whose law counts most?

Finding an accommodation between Islamic law and Western legal codes is difficult. But there are some ways forward

What the hell happened to equality before the law? Really it seems these religious nuts really want to live in the the dark ages. Can we not create a special country for them with a big ass wall around it? Pity Startrek's Prime Directive cannot be applied here.



@ Andries

Being from South Africa, you should know that "Can we not create a special country for them with a big ass wall around it?" doesn't work.


Not to be a dick  but Sharia means "Law". To say Sharia Law is to literally say "Law Law". Just found this out myself just recently.

More importantly the idea of tolerance of all religious viewpoints is one that we in the U.S. are proud of until it is a religion like islam which is culturally foreign.
When are we going to stop being hypocrites  and regard all religions for what they are. An obstacle to the real progress of a just and fair society for all mankind. I mean come on already. Why are we hanging on to this crap?


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