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  • An irrational fear of all things Muslim?

    by Al-Hack
    16th September, 2005 at 4:18 am    

    I cannot be arsed to write a full piece on this, but this article by Haroon Siddiqui in the Toronto Star (via IW) shows how liberals sometimes work themselves into a lather just because Muslims are involved. He talks about the Sharia controversy in Ontario of course.

    Faith-based arbitration for Muslims was not going to be sharia, even if one proponent said so. The term suited the critics just fine. They raised the red herring and the platitudes flowed: Multiculturalism was eroding common values. The line separating church and state was being erased. Theocracy was being grafted onto Canada.

    As amusing as some of this has been at one level, at another it has been Islamophobic and deeply divisive, as Tory leader John Tory said Sunday.

    Without really understanding what was at stake here - people seem to have conjured up pictures of women getting stoned in public randomly. I thought only conservatives were capable of irrational hysteria.

    So, here’s the sum total of a year-long debate that has left Ontarians polarized: We will ban faith-based rulings from going to the courts where they were not going anyway. And we won’t allow the sharia that was not coming.

    We are into this la-la land because we are engendering an atmosphere of fear and mutual hostility that we used to consider un-Canadian.

    Not that anyone will get off their moral high-horse now.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Culture,Religion,The World

    10 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Jay Singh — on 16th September, 2005 at 12:40 pm  

      Yes - those liberal progressives seeking to defend secular and democratic and egalitarian values against the creep of religious codification - how bigoted of them.

      In a British context, talk about fiddling while Rome burns.



      These are the fruits of the tolerance paid towards communalist politics in Britain - the growth and spread of intolerance and bigoted and sectarian and extremist views as common currency - add these to the MCB’s recent wretched comments on Holocaust Memorial Day and you have a heady brew indeed.

      It really is time for all those who oppose communalism, religious based identity politics with all their persecution complexes and self serving hypocrisies and paranoias to take the gloves off and call them to account - starting from the top and working the way downwards - from the MCB, Sikh Federation and Hindu Forum to the pipsqueaks and fascists on University campuses and elsewhere.

      The problem is not with the liberals, my friends - you claim to stand for progressive secular values - then take up the challenge and start landing punches now. On the targets who deserve to be given bloody noses.

      Or are you going to cower in fear of those who hide behind the mask of liberalism or those who seek to erroneously cast you as bigots for standing up to the communalists? Their prime tactic and hysterical shield?

    2. Siddhartha — on 16th September, 2005 at 3:06 pm  

      Now that faith-based arbitration has been banned from the courts, I’ll wager folding money that it will continue to be practiced by Aboriginal, Islamic and Jewish communities, particularly in areas of family law.

      I can’t speak for the others, but for the Islamic community this is not necessarily a bad thing and in fact no different from how it has been dealt with since immigration began: Informally.
      The diversity of the Islamic community is both its biggest advantage and its biggest disadvantage in a multi-cultural context. Given that there are four Schools of Islamic Law (Madh’ab), the biggest problem with a Sharia implementation in a secular legal framework is which of the four to choose. And if you don’t choose to follow one, how would you arrive at a compromise given that there is no precedent of any country which arbitrates on a multiple Madh’ab legal system? This, in my opinion, would be just one of the problems. Islam is 1400 years old but has been rammed up close and personal to secularism in only the last 80. There is no consensus for a revision of legal tenets given the situation that it now finds itself in.

      A horrendous can of worms has been avoided by the Ontarian Muslims. The decision to ban all religious arbitration may be based on Islamophobic intentions, but ultimately it is to the benefit of workaday Muslims in Canada. There may be bitterness now due to the failure of some quarters to introduce Sharia - but that’s inevitable, but not universal.

    3. Al-Hack — on 16th September, 2005 at 3:37 pm  

      Good point well made Siddhartha - agree fully.

    4. Bopper — on 16th September, 2005 at 4:35 pm  

      “as Tory leader John Tory said Sunday.”

      is that really his name or a misprint? his fate was mapped out for him from birth if so.

    5. Turbanator — on 16th September, 2005 at 4:53 pm  

      It’s a real name ! -

    6. jamal — on 16th September, 2005 at 11:08 pm  

      To be honest, I wrote about this on my own blog and received some dodgy comments. Other sites linked to it to further provide very negative comments. All the 2oppressed women/stoning” arguements were there.

      What is apparant to me is that many non-muslims get scared when they hear the word Shariah. Instantly they conjure up the most negative images in their minds, and what could possibly be in store for them. They do have some level of justification due to the corrupted versions of Shariah throughout the world, but Its a joke to always refer to ONLY the negative, or to compare to a delusional image of a “great” western democracy, which has its faults too.

      I was listening to an Islamic talk today which had some interesting arguements on this issue. One i care to mention is that it apears that some non-muslims are want to have “fun” and pick and choose their morals and values based on what is “fun” to them. Islam is not a pick and choose religion and therefore they would not be able to do this with and shariah system and therefore do not like the shariah. To implement the shariah would be to spoil their state condoned “fun” of pubs, clubs and homosexuality, and to them these pursuits are better than piety.

    7. Don — on 17th September, 2005 at 9:59 am  


      You say, perhaps rightly, that the idea of shariah causes many non-moslems to ‘ conjure up the most negative images in their minds, and what could possibly be in store for them.’

      However, you then go on to say, referring to non-moslems, that ‘To implement the shariah would be to spoil their state condoned “fun” of pubs, clubs and homosexuality’.

      To me, that is a pretty negative image.

      Your use of quotations around ‘fun’ suggests to me (correct me if I am wrong) that you have in mind shagging in an alley and puking in a gutter. All rather distasteful, I’ll grant you. But ‘Its a joke to always refer to ONLY the negative’. My own idea of fun in a pub, perhaps sadly, is a couple of pints and a game of dominoes.

      You assert, again perhaps rightly, that ‘ some non-muslims are want to have “fun” and pick and choose their morals and values based on what is “fun” to them’.
      However, many secularists arrive at their own values and morals by more sophisticated thought processes. They don’t require guidance from anybody else’s religious convictions. As an atheist, ‘piety’ is not a concept I feel obliged to consider.

      Your issues with homosexuality are, of course, your own business.

    8. Gump — on 17th September, 2005 at 4:50 pm  

      if a person is secular and does not believe that government and religion should be mixed, then they would have a problem with any kind religious law being used in civil cases

    9. Old Pickler — on 18th September, 2005 at 1:19 am  

      It is a mistake to assume that suspicion of Sharia tribunals on the part of non-Muslims arises from a belief that stoning, amputation and the like are going to be introduced. Non-Muslims know that this is not the case. However, even if Sharia is confined to personal matters, divorce, child custody, alimony, inheritance and so forth, this is not insignificant, as it is still unjust.

      Whichever school of sharia law is used, and however narrow its scope, the law is grossly unfair to women in matters of divorce, child custody, maintenance and all areas pertaining to family life. A fundamental principle of Western democracy is equality before the law, and this includes equality of men and women. This is not the case in sharia law where men and women are treated ‘differently but equally’, which in practice means that women are treated as inferiors.

      It could be argued that Muslim women consent to be bound by arbitration. But in a culture where women are very much oppressed my their menfolk, and are Koranically bound to obey their husbands, how real is this consent? How free are these women to reject sharia courts and opt to be bound by the more just and equitable Canadian, or other Western law, under which men and women are equal?

      Sharia law, even in its mildest form, has no place in a civilised society. This was the right decision.

    10. Monty — on 26th September, 2005 at 10:41 am  

      For my part I do not object to religious arbitration concerning property, in any case where both parties consent to this method. That seems to me, to be a private and personal matter.
      But any case concerning the custody and support of children is another matter entirely. Society at large has a duty and a responsibility to ensure that the needs of children are paramount.

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