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Some clarifications (?)

Reader comment on item: Enforce Islamic Law in Canada?

Submitted by J.S. (Canada), Sep 28, 2005 at 15:18

First, the Sharia law proposal was put forward in *one* province in Canada (a "province" is like a "state" in the U.S.). Canadian law at the Federal level does not meddle with what's termed "family law" -- that includes divorces, inheritance, etc. Each province (read "state") in Canada has its own provisions with respect to Family Law. (Quebec, by the way, has passed legislation that prohibits Sharia Law -- but this was largely a political move, since under existing Quebec laws, Sharia couldn't have been implemented anyway.) So, it's as if Texas decided to set up a Dispute Resolution Board (a setting which could be used instead of going to a family law court) headed up by Muslims (so as to settle family dispute issues amongst Muslims or, for that matter, anyone else who wanted to be judged using Sharia principles.) (Canada has a Federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- similar to the U.S Constitution and its first ten amendments -- and Sharia law was not supposed to be violating this Federal Charter.)

Secondly (in my opinion) Canada has what (I believe) to be a problem in the area of Administrative Law. (An out-going lawyer of the Canadian Bar Association addressed some of these issues a few years back). These Tribunals, Arbitration Boards, etc., are not exactly democratic -- they tend to be neither transparent nor accountable. This is part of the problem with implementing Sharia Law in Canada (no oversight, who's going to be the Arbitrators?, how can you ensure the paricipation is "voluntary" -- not a Hobson's choice, etc.)

Thirdly, earlier I had mentioned a "pre-modern" mode of thinking...allow me to clarify this. Just as with "nationalism" -- there can be highly toxic, unhealthy forms/expressions (that's exemplified perhaps by a nationalism reflecting an "uber alles" mentality) -- but there can also be positive, creative, healthy expressions of nationalism. (Sometimes the two blur.) I would say the same is true for Traditionalist ("pre-modern") ways of viewing the world. What I believe is a toxic expression of pre-modernist thinking would be a Taliban-like mode -- that is one in which you'd have torture, floggings, beheadings, stoning of women, amputations, etc. That's the Dark Ages. But, conceivably, you could have another form of pre-modernist thinking (one that might, say, imbue scripture with a supernaturalist interpretation, etc.) which I don't think people should become outraged about...

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