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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Can't Believe This Is Even Being Discussed

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty vows that the rights of women will not be compromised if sharia tribunals get the go-ahead to settle marital disputes for Muslims in the province.

Amid a growing international outcry against allowing such tribunals, Mr. McGuinty said the government will decide "shortly" on whether to permit Islamic law to be used in Ontario family arbitration cases.

"But whatever we do, it will be in keeping with the values of Canadians and Ontarians," he told reporters yesterday.

Because Canadians, and Ontarians especially, love a good public stoning on an idle Saturday.

Posted by RightGirl on September 7, 2005 in Religion | Permalink


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How far in the sand is this Dalton's head, not to mention those in his government? The stupidity of this idea can not be described.

Posted by: Strong and Free in AB | 2005-09-07 11:14:51 AM

Perhaps Dolton got the idea from the fact that our constitution makes us a frgmented nation that labors under 2 cultures ( now expanded to dozens) and 2 laws ( now expanded to several). We dug our own grave when we allowed Quebec to run courts under Napoleanic civl code and the rest of Canada under British common law...we now have half a dozen different quasi-judicial tribunal operating under different codes...Do I have to expalin that any nation which doese not share a common language, culture and law cannot stand the pressures of the nation within a nation fracturing syndrome that has destroyed greater nations than ours.

One Nation under a common vision and rule of law.

We have a fractured nation with cultures within culture and nations within nation and now the concept of total equality under one equally applied law is a dream.

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-09-07 11:57:55 AM

I don't understand why any "conservatives" would be against this.

For months now I've been reading in this very venue how the Goverment has no role to play in the definition or regulation of marriage.

Now, when the Government attempts to decrease their involvement in marriage by - gasp - allowing people to sort out their own marital problems, it is seen as a problem.

Posted by: Bob | 2005-09-07 1:54:21 PM

Dalton is trying to avoid a lawsuit, which he would lose since Jewish and Catholic organizations already run similar religious tribunals. It's one of those messy freedom issues; if you allow one religious organization to have it's own separate courts you can't deny the same right to another religion.

I say shut `em all down...

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-09-07 1:57:31 PM

I would not be against shutting down all religious courts. While I don't have an issue with people sorting out their own marital problems, I do have a problem with some Imam, Priest or Rabbi deciding what's best for my child, and having that decision be based on whose signature is on the monthly donation checks to the organization.

I'm surprised in turn that liberals are so disinterested in this - feminism is only important to the left, as long as we don't upset the Muslims (the cause celebre de jour)? That's a double standard I can't swallow.


Posted by: RightGirl | 2005-09-07 2:03:11 PM

My guess is that the Ontario gov't has already decided to go ahead with Sharia Law. It's a discriminatory and disastrous action - but- they'll go ahead, based on that feminist who set up these arbitration courts in the first place - Marion Byrd?? (I'm terrible with names)..

These were set up to relieve pressures on the courst but above all, to operate within the romantic utopian notion of 'multiculturalism'. So, Jewish and Catholic groups have the right to kthese 'arbitration courts' - where the decisions are made by some religious leader. These decisions are NOT, repeat NOT open to dissent.
So- the Muslim community , primarily the men, are arguing that they must have the same rights.

But Sharia Law is very specific; women are only worth 'half a man'; they are strictly to be ruled by a man. The rules about divorce, about sustenance etc, are specific and harmful to women. They are, in our modern world, discriminatory.

The notion that the Muslim woman can 'still go to the Ontario courts' if she is unhappy with the Sharia Law is utter nonsense. Don't these gov't mindless twits realize that IF she does that, she has effectively cut herself off - completely - from her family, her community, everyone. She, in order to use Ontario courts, has to first say that she rejects Sharia Law, and by extension, her religion. Then, her family will abandon her. It's an outrage what Ontario is doing.

All in the name of 'multiculturalism'. The people whom it will harm, and greatly harm, are first, - Muslim women. And then, Canadians, because it will prevent Muslim women and men, from integrating into the Canadian nation. So- why come here, if you refuse to use our laws???
And why allow them to bring a different legal system here?

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-07 2:16:55 PM

ET et al - Re "her family will abandon her....". They will do more than that. They will Kill her! Let's not mince words when protesting such truly vile proposed legislation.

Posted by: Eric MacLeod | 2005-09-07 2:33:12 PM

I do not think that the social structures constructed by the people of the region commonly known as Canada should tolerate any ideology that tolerates any notion that XX-chromasomed people are in any way not "equal upon principle" (as Lincoln put it) to XY-chromasomed people, and vice versa.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-09-07 2:34:28 PM

So much for freedom of religion, I guess.

You do realize that you are supporting the notion of the State deciding which religious beliefs are "good" and which are "bad". Is this really the precedent you want to set?

What happens when the State comes and says that Catholic teachings are "discriminatory" to gays, for example, and so shouldn't be permitted?

Do you really want the State to have more influence in deciding the terms of divorces? How child custody should be handled?

Why is it acceptable for the Catholic church to reject individuals who don't follow their tenets (e.g., refusing to give communion to politicians who support gay-marriage), but not ok for Muslims to reject individuals who follow their tenents?

Posted by: Bob | 2005-09-07 2:46:05 PM

This is simply political correctness gone mad. If it happened in any other place, I'd be appalled. But Ontarians elected The Great McGuinty, so now they're stuck with him and his shiara law. Only they can do anything about this. The question remains: Can Ontarians capable of holding anyone responsible?

Posted by: Scott | 2005-09-07 2:59:28 PM

Daltoon never does anything unless it helps to extend the power of government over ordinary people's lives.

In this case, I gather that the clerics will have to be trained and approved by the Ontario government, and probably paid by them too. That's trained as in "trained seal" and paid as in "bought and paid for". There is no difference between Ontario training and approving clergy according its own socialist, nanny-state criteria, and the Communist Chinese with their kennel of approved religions and religious leaders. Want to be Dalai Lama? The applications for Party membership are over there. Want to be a family court arbitrator? Better help get out the vote in the next election.

I would rather that Daltoon, his government and their family courts and octopus-like tentacles of power just go away; and I would let people refer such matters to whichever (ordinary) civil court, arbitrator or ecclesiastical council they choose.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-09-07 3:32:34 PM

In reply to Bob - I'm against any and all of the religious arbitrations.

I don't think that religion and politics go together; i.e., I'm in favour of the separation of 'church and state'.

I don't see how you can say that I support the notion of the state defining which religious beliefs are good/bad. My point is that the state has no business in religion. And vice versa. Therefore, the state cannot interfere in religious practices as long as they function within the religion and do not impinge on the political and/or legal rights of the individual.

If the Catholic church refuses to give communion to a politician who supports gay-marriage - that's the right of the church. The fact that the individual is a politician is not relevant. What is relevant only is whether the individual supports the beliefs of the Church. (I'm an atheist, so, am not involved).

Marriage is not a religious entity,though it can be; it happens to be an economic entity. As such, the State is involved. The state's involvement is in marriage as that economic reality.

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-07 3:53:24 PM


First, I think if you go through the archives of the Shotgun, you will find that you are quite alone here in asserting that marriage is not a religious entity. I can't recall, but were you one of the few standing up for the notion of gay-marriage as an "economic entity", and as such irrelevant to religious groups?

Second, I think you will also find that you are also quite alone in asserting that the State is better equiped to decide on which terms a divorce should be arbitrated than is the couple involved.

The fact is, it is their marriage and it is their kids - and you think that the State knows better what is best for them than they do themselves.

This is not less government, it is more government.

Posted by: Bob | 2005-09-07 4:09:43 PM

Um, what? Look, as ET wrote, "Sharia Law is very specific; women are only worth 'half a man'; they are strictly to be ruled by a man. The rules about divorce, about sustenance etc, are specific and harmful to women." That is not acceptable.

I'm sorry, I'm all for freedom of belief, but since I'm nominally libertarian, I believe that people are responsible for their actions.

Actually mistreating a subset of humans as a matter of ideology must be fought with all our strength.

You may be next.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-09-07 4:23:32 PM


I’m a Christian and I’m in favour of SSM.
However my real preference is that the government exit entirely the marriage business now that we have civil laws that look after civil unions and the sharing of benefits etc.

But with Sharia law what does it have to do with Queens Park? If Muslims want to subject themselves to arbitration parameters drawn up 1400 years ago, let them. But what does it have to with my MP or MPP or our courts? I don’t get it. Also if we need to abolish the grandfathered status of the Catholics and Jews in order to make it equal to Muslims, then abolish that too (even though it must have worked OK until now because I’d never even been aware if it).

I prefer to satisfy the Canadian obsessions of making everything equal by getting the government out of marriages, religious arbitration, health care etc. If goods and services can be found in the Yellow Pages then why do we need the government involved? I agree with you , we need less government not more.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-09-07 4:44:49 PM

Bob- whether I am alone/not is not relevant. I assure you, I don't make conclusions based on feeling alone/not.

Marriage is not, in its basic foundations, a religious entity. It is economic. The reason for this is because of our biological nature. First, of course, our species, as with the majority of species, requires opposite gender sexuality as a means of physical reproduction. This has the function of maintaining genetic robustness. Second, our particular species requires a LONG nurturance period - the longest of all species. That is because our knowledge of 'how to live' is not innate but must be learned. Therefore, the family emerged as this learning - and economic, nurturing unit.

There are different types of families. The biological unit is necessary but it's not really the only type of family. There are six basic types of kinship family structures - no need to go into them - but, the point is, they establish the family unit..large or small..as the economic unit. It is responsible for nurturing, raising, socializing...the next generation. The family itself, is embedded within a larger socializing unit - which can be the clan, or tribe, or class or society...

Since the family is an economic unit, then, the society must recognize its authority. It does this by marriage ceremonies which can or cannot also be religious ceremonies, which acknowledge who is a legitimate member of that economic unit. Other ceremonies, such as birth, death etc, have the same agenda.

Religion is a ceremony that acknowledges the family unit. I, myself, am an atheist, so, I'm not involved in any legitimacy via God. My point is the legitimacy of that family, by the society.

So, yes, the State is involved in the nature of the family. Very involved - because the family is not only the reproductive unit but also the nurturing unit.

No, I don't think that any one particular couple is better equiped than the state, via its legal system, to decide on the nature of the divorce. That would leave the family assets in the control of whoever shouted the loudest, or wept the longest or..lied the best..

No, I don't think that parents always know what is best for their children; a lot of parents can use and manipulate their children to 'get back' at a marriage partner etc.

I maintain that marriage is basically an economic system and as such, must follow the normative laws of the state.

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-07 4:47:57 PM

I am completely in favour of getting the state out of the marriage business. Why should one have to get a government stamp to certify one's relationship with another sentient human being? And, to the degree that there is such a notion as union for the purposes of civil law, then clearly that should be under the purview of civil law.

I also agree on the importance of the family, preferably nuclear. After the individual, it's the next most important level of human agglomeration.

But I fail to see how any of that is relevant to the disposal of ideological perspectives that promulgate mistreatment of women, or any other a priori taxonomical collection for that matter. (Note that things like race & gender are a priori taxonomical collections, religions and churches and most other things are not, rather, they are ad hoc taxonomical collectives.)

But what do I know? I still don't understand why one has to genuflect to municipal governments to get a license to do business with your fellows.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-09-07 5:21:00 PM


My comments (other than the ones titled ET, were not directed at you). They were directed at "conservatives" who take a hypocritical view of whether Government should have any role in marriage. If you think marriage as defined by the government is a purely economic partnership, terrific, I agree with you 100%. But many folks here seem to want the government to stay out of the marriage business in some contexts (i.e., don't redefine it to include SSM) while simultaneously wanting the government to become more involved in other contexts (i.e., prevent certain groups from adjudicating the terms of their own marriages/divorces).

To wit, Tony's confused comments perfectly illustrate my point.

He claims to be a "libertarian" who believes that, "people are responsible for their actions," and that he is "completely in favour of getting the state out of the marriage business."

At the same time, he advocates that the State prevent Muslims from disolving their own marriages however they see fit, thus not only injecting more government into marriage, but also robbing Muslims of their own responsibility for their own actions. In short, he is saying that Muslims are not responsible enough to make their own decisions, and so the State needs to make the decisions for them. This is a mighty slippery slope.

Do you not see a contradiction, here?

Posted by: Bob | 2005-09-07 5:39:03 PM

Tony - the reason the gov't/state is involved with marriage is because marriage, as a civil union, functions as an economic unit. This has nothing to do with 'a relationship with another sentient being'. This has to do with setting up an economic unit - which implies taxation definitions, etc.

The parents are economically responsible for the child. When they die, the child is assumed to inherit their goods. Therefore, since 'goods and services' are involved, the state is involved.

Bob- I disagree with your second view of marriage - after the economic definition, because you are then adding another level to the nature of marriage: a social/religious level. That's something entirely different. So, in my view, the State has to be involved with the civil union, which is an economic unit.

It is not involved with the religious unit UNTIL and UNLESS that religious definition of marriage conflicts with the civic definition. The religion has the right to refuse to marry people WITHIN ITS RELIGIOUS DEFINITIONS. So, if a religion refuses to marry SSM within its religious procedures - that's its prerogative.

However, if someone has been married - and this marriage has to be, first, civic and then, might be religious..well, if the couple decides to divorce, this has to follow the civic rules. If the religious rules contradict the civic - the civic takes precedence. Sharia Law, in both marriage and divorce, contradicts the civic laws of Canada. The civic laws take precedence.

You see, when someone is living in a state, they are first defined as a citizen of that state. The primary laws are the laws of the state. Not the laws of a subset of the population - i.e., of a particular religion.

So, I disagree with you. A Muslim does not have the right to make CIVIC decisions; he can only make RELIGIOUS decisions. And - if these religious decisions are contrary to the CIVIC Laws - then, the civic takes precedence.

It would be discriminatory, for example, for a citizen of ONE NATION, to be subject to different divorce rules - where, for example, under Sharia Law, she could be tossed out with nothing..and under Civic Law, she would have the rights to half the property gained during their marriage. Citizenship of the state takes precedence to membership in a religion.

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-07 5:59:59 PM

Bob, I got married in a church. That is legally binding as things stand now. I can’t go to my minister and ask, “that it be dissolved however I see fit”.
That’s because the practise of the church as we know it is not in conflict with the law. Where we are headed with Sharia law is in conflict with our “ social values” tried and tested over centuries. Marriage is a “social value” in this country. Many of our “social values” are about to get flushed. I know atheists that don’t agree with SSM because they think it’s a slippery slope of flushing all our values. I may have to re-think my social – liberal point of view if Sharia is the next item to go down; maybe these friends have been spot on and I’m too socially liberal About SSM and other issues.

Many Muslim women are freighted by Sharia. As RightGirl says “why is this even being discussed?” Well we all know why, because it’s part of the multi-culti agenda that Trudeau started – two solitudes couldn’t work, so let’s try 200 solitudes. Want to know what multi-culti looks like up close? Where extreme cultures don’t assimilate into the mainstream of the land? Then have a look at CNN down in NO. That’s what Canada will look like. And our political leaders will be chosen like incompetents like BlankO and the Mayor – on their ability to hand out patronage pork and deal in corruption. If that’s the criterion, then Canada has the right team in place.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-09-07 6:21:37 PM

It's funny that McGuinty said it would be consistent with "the values of Ontarians and Canadians." What are these values that he talks about? How will Sharia law be consistent with my values? I'm not Muslim. I wish the Liberals would define what these values are. Previously, Liberals said that Canadian values were free health care and, umm, abortion, or was it gay marriage, or a mixture: free gay abortions? Will Sharia law be consistent with abortion and gay marriage? McGuinty is an imbecile.

Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2005-09-07 6:47:59 PM

Oh piffle, Bob. (1) I never claimed to be a libertarian, I claimed to be nominally libertarian. I subscribe to no ideology, I am Tony. (2) I didn't say Muslims should be prevented from disolving their marriages as they see fit, I said that no ideology should be allowed to mistreat a priori taxonomical groups, such as, for example, people born into a particular gender or race.

And ET, I agree with you on the matter of the relationship between the state and the functioning of a civil union as an economic unit subject to the civil laws of the land. That's why I said that "to the degree that there is such a notion as union for the purposes of civil law, then clearly that should be under the purview of civil law." I do not, frankly, expect to enter into a real estate property transaction, for example, in modern society, without the state being involved in matters such as the adjudication of deeds, independent of my personal relationship with the seller or sellee.

I also agree with those who think that churches, like other clubs, should be able to set their own membership rules (within the limits imposed by criminal laws).

What I'm not happy with is the amount of resources wasted on arguing about the sanctity of the definition of the eight characters commonly known as "marriage". Why can't we agree to pick a few words to suit the situations? I'm more interested in your character, than in the characters of the words people label you with.

But none of this is relevant. The topic of the original article we are responding to is Sharia Law in Ontario. Whether one is libertarian or not, and however one defines "marriage" and "civil union", I fail to see how one can condone the jurisprudential relationship between men and women that is enshrined in Sharia Law. I consider that to be a criminal matter, not a civil matter.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-09-07 6:57:52 PM

Personally, I just do not want someone using the guise of "religious freedom" to abuse women and put children at risk. Period. To me, there is no political motivation behind it. Perhaps that's why it makes sense to me. If I were to assign political philosophy - be it libertarian, multi-culti, or conservative - then I would spend hours talking myself in circles. To me, this is a moral issue. I don't like woman being disposessed because they're women. I don't like children being traded like property. I do not believe in the harsher aspects of Sharia, including stoning, mutilation, and murder. I do not believe in many of the milder aspects, either, such as complete solitude enforced by a community that has turned its collective back on someone.

But for the record, may I point out that most Western laws on record are in some way derived from Jewish and Christian culture, i.e. the Ten Commandments. The big 10 were put in place to keep civil peace. They are words to live by, even if you remove the 2 religious ones (leaving 8). Call me a racist, or a bigot, or a xenophobe (or whatever the most popular turn of phrase is these days), but you can't have a civil society based on the rules of an uncivilised culture. This is not the Middle East. We have evolved, and I see no logical reason (other than the cult of multiculturalism, which bears no resemblance to logic) to allow us to take a step back 1000 years.


Posted by: RightGirl | 2005-09-07 8:13:56 PM

Awhile back, while driving around doing errands (hard to believe I know) I was listening to (I believe) Peter Warren -- the people phoning in to complain about Sharia Law were MUSLIM women with all sorts of hair raising tales about the gearduck and crowbar administration of justice by their brethren.

Please remember that. Muslim women. Dalton McGuinty and John Rawls' "Veil of Ignorance."

What a maroon.

Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-09-07 9:58:57 PM

The best part is the people of Ontario have only themselves to blame for all of this. So much for your precious "progressive" ideas. Look where they have led you. Fools.

Everytime I ask myself if Ontarians could get any stupider, I always know the answer: Yes. Why this continues to happen is bizzare.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-09-07 10:48:48 PM

Gloria Steinem sounded the war cry, "We don't just want to destroy capitalism," she said, "we want to tear down the whole fucking patriarchy."

"The fiction of fatherhood is a giant religion called Christianity."
- Jill Johnston in Lesbian Nation

It's the same Feminazi song and dance team, except the giant religion under attack is Islam. Feminism, re-invigorated by the Frankfurt School's Marxist anti-Christian notions is a tool in the battle to destroy the fundamental element in conservative societies, the family. Individualizing, pitting wife against husband, will homogenise, destroying any notion of group. A de-gendered man, having had his roots removed lacks any foundation save self-gratification. Freed modern man embraces the New World Order, Feminism [evidenced as horrifically in the abomination of women pastors/presbyters/priests as in No Fault divorce,] the Sexual Revolution, Queer Theory, atheism, and rampant consumerism, all of which bring cultural and spiritual death to families, all of which, in differing ways, (divorce, illegitimacy, crime) war ceaselessly to obliterate traditional Christendom or in this case Islam.

Is it any wonder Moslems want to retain Sharia?

Posted by: DJ | 2005-09-08 12:08:22 PM

While I'm not a big fan of feminism, DJ, are you saying that in order to avoid emasculating men, we are to sacrifice the safety of women?


Posted by: RightGirl | 2005-09-08 1:02:05 PM

When I first heard of this I assumed that this was a bad joke. I have lived in both the middle east and the far east in countries that were Muslim. I would like to hear of one example were the application of Sharia law has had a positive socio economic outcome in a society. In all of places I resided women were treated very badly. Most people of the Islamic faith who immigrate to Canada ( with the exception of the terrorists ) come here to escape the injustices of over zealous religous fanatics. Why do we feel that we need to expose them to what they wanted to escape? A quick survey of the Imam's and you will find that these are not muslims who are working to help integrate those of the Muslim faith into the mainstream Canadian Society and culture.These would be the folks running the paralell legal system! I agree that the paralell systems that were put in place that are tied to a particular religion need to go! Somebody allowed something to happen without really thinking it through. Alberta really needs to start making moves to distance itself from the Banana Republic called Canada before the Feds raid our coffers on Ontario's / Quuebec's behalf and Ontario's dreamers destroy this country via it's version of a progressive society!!!

Posted by: el | 2005-09-08 6:27:11 PM

Nothing that happens in this country surprises me.

I've read "Alice in Wonderland".

Posted by: Jack | 2005-09-08 6:44:44 PM

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