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. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, September 09, 2005

Separate, But Unequal, Courts??

I am perturbed that the Province of Ontario has even considered allowing (or requiring!) the use of faith-based law to settle some disputes.
A new faith-based court arbitration system in Ontario will not jeopardize women's rights, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday, despite concerns by a group spearheading a series of international demonstrations designed to pressure Queen's Park into rejecting Shariah courts in the province.
In many instances, tolerance, multi-culturalism, and this type of religious freedom clash with other freedoms. When that happens, I hope the other freedoms win.

Critics who organized last Thursday's protests in Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo, Montreal, Victoria as well as a half-dozen European cities, say Ontario has become the target of an International political movement by extremists to entrench Islamic law in Western democracies.

"This has nothing to do with the faith of Islam. It's political Islam," said Homa Arjomand, founder of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada. "Ontario is an easy target because we have multiculturalism."

For more details on Sharia Law and its conflicts with other freedoms, see this from the Toronto Globe and Mail [reg. req'd.].

The Emirates Economist has a quite different take on this situation. Quoting from the same article,

...the government is still in the process of reviewing a report by former New Democrat Attorney-General Marion Boyd, which concluded that Muslims in Ontario should have the same rights as other religious groups that use faith-based arbitration to settle family disputes. The government has been sitting on her report for nine months. . . . Christians and Jews have practised religious arbitration in Ontario since 1991, when the NDP government at the time made it law.

If other religions can practice religious arbitration, then I don't see how Ontario can legitimately continue to deny that right to Muslims. The alternatives are all or none.
This is one of those rare instances in which I disagree with the EmEc. When faith-based arbitration conflicts with civil law, the civil law of the country should take precedence. And, according to many of the details I have read, Sharia law does indeed conflict with much of Canadian law.
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