Thursday, April 29, 2004

U.S.: Oh, Canada!

Many have pointed out that this is not really that big a deal, and that Sharia courts for private arbitration are no different from courts that judge according to Jewish law, as goes the comparison in this article (thanks to Jeffrey Imm for the link), or any other private, voluntary association.

It is the nature of Sharia that raises questions. The Jewish court, the article tells us, "deals with monetary, business and family disputes, but no criminal matters." But Sharia does deal with criminal matters. Who will decide, then, what elements of Sharia will come under the purview of these courts, and which won't? How will this decision be made? And once made, will it not be subject to revision in the name of multiculturalism, tolerance, and freedom of religion — resulting in an ever wider sphere of influence for Sharia?

Maybe that won't happen. But it would be reassuring to see from Canadian authorities some clear and satisfactory answers to such questions.
Toronto, ON, Apr. 28 (UPI) -- Muslims in the Canadian province of Ontario can soon turn to settling disputes in their own courts, known as sharia, the Washington post reported.

Muslim promoters of sharia arbitration said no cases have yet been decided but the process is set. Islamic leaders created an Islamic Court of Civil Justice last fall and it has chosen arbitrators who have undergone training in sharia and Canadian civil law.

"People can agree to resolve disputes any way acceptable," said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario Attorney General's office said in an interview. He said the arbitration act has a number of safeguards, including the requirement that parties enter into arbitration only on a voluntary basis, and any decisions by arbitrators are subject to court ratification.

Jewish courts, using similar methods, have long been operating in Ontario. Such a court, called a Beit Din, deals with monetary, business and family disputes, but no criminal matters.
Thanks to DhimmiWatch.

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