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September 08, 2005


I haven't read many of the pro-sharia law arguments; I think that having other religions allowed tribunals is a problem. My offhand opinion is that the solution could involve having judges need to ok the tribunal's recommendation; if it is unfair, it can be changed/vetoed by the judge. This would also need to be the same for other tribunals, which seems reasonable.

As I recall, there are no religious tribunals of any sort here in Quebec.

Thanks for this comment, Wolfangel - I'm really trying to learn more about the Canadian system and viewpoint so I always appreciate your input.

Sharia arbitration - good thing if both parties are wanting it. Allowing different *laws* for different people based on their religion - bad thing. India allows different laws for different religions, and a lot of problems arise from that (what happens if a Muslim converts - can he keep his three extra wives?) ... among others, which are womens' rights nightmares. I'll try to find links.

I wish I had more time to read up on this issue, as the implementation of Sharia in Ontario (or any other province, or state in the U.S., let's say) is bound to be problematic in that it seems like a huge step away from forms of government based on civil notions. Like, you, I believe that abolishing all religious courts is the best solution in countries whose consitutions and laws are based on social contracts and not editcs from divine sources.

Oh, by the way, some time ago, I read a post by Yule Heibel on this issue when she raid what Monique Gagnon-Tremblaey had to say about sharia in Quebec. Here is the URL for that post:


Ooops ... I see now, reading the comments form that post that we both had something to say about this back then!

Reading a bit more, it seems that it is unlikely that anything would happen such that judges would need to ok a tribunal's agreement, because the tribunal is just another sort of arbitration, though not binding, and the whole initial point of arbitration is to reduce caseloads for judges. And I find it hard to see how you could prevent religious arbitration in general, if you allow any arbitration: you can't prevent all non-atheists from running councils (nor should you).

Perhaps there are restrictions on what the agreements can be? I do not know enough about it. In general, the government can grant a civil divorce with or without a religious divorce, and a religious body the reverse. So I assume this is about things like support, assets, custody. You can always appeal arbitration -- but the point is, of course, that if you have to go to a court, there might be less reprisal from the community.

In the end, I end up with the same result: arbitration is fine, but the results need to be okayed by the judge. This leaves a huge loophole, though: in Islam and Judaism, the husband can refuse a religious divorce, and it is impossible (at least in Judaism, I know) for the husband to be compelled to give one.

"they have to have the political courage to recognize they're not going to satisfy everybody."

as with most moral/value based issues, this is true isn't it? how do you legislate if the values the legislation is based on are not those held by the people you are regulating?

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.