Cat n' Dog
Flying almost under the radar in news dominated by Hurricane Katrina are efforts by left-wing women's groups to prevent sharia from becoming part of family law in Canada. CNS News reports:
Protesters will take to the streets this week in cities from Amsterdam to Victoria, all because of a bureaucratic proposal that would allow Islamic law to be used in Ontario family arbitration cases. ... Almost 100 organizations have banded together under the banner of the International Campaign against Shariah Court in Canada. On Thursday, they'll march in six European cities and at least five in Canada.
The Christian Science Monitor reported on the genesis of the Canadian sharia controversy in August 2004. It highlighted the fundamental dilemma facing Canadian politicians: whether to uphold multiculturalism and logically endorse sharia or to reject sharia and logically weaken the multiculturalist principle. In an article entitled Can tolerant Canada tolerate sharia?, author Susan Bourette wrote:
The Ontario government redrafted legislation in 1991, granting religious leaders the authority to mediate civil matters. The law, called the Arbitration Act, was designed to help unburden an already over-taxed court system. At the same time, they hoped it would enhance the country's official doctrine of multiculturalism, the notion that a society is made richer when ethnic groups are encouraged to share their cultural expression and values. Rabbis and priests have also used the act to adjudicate squabbles over everything from dietary rules to monetary disputes between parishes. But critics of sharia charge that, in this case, the principles of multiculturalism are being exploited to enforce oppression. They argue that the practice of sharia in Canada undermines the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it discriminates against women.
One of websites coordinating opposition is NoSharia.Com, which sees the proposed Canadian as part of a "universal attempt" by "political Islam" to gradually foist its principles on the West -- eroding the gains which the Left believes it has won. NoSharia.Com has found a clever way to prevent their position from cascading through their whole ideological system, and escalating into a wholesale opposition to "political Islam" by generalizing their argument as opposition to all "faith based" types of arbitration. Resistance to sharia becomes a special case of their general struggle against conservative and bigoted behavior.
Canadian Muslim spokesmen point out with some justice, that sharia had been used since 1991 "to mediate legal disputes, such as divorce and child custody", according to the Christian Science Monitor article, and yet had provoked no outcry. Only when "a Muslim group proposed creating a formalized tribunal" did "what had been going on quietly for more than a decade" become a flashpoint with the Left. They had not yet understood that peculiar feature of Western politics: while conservatives stayed up nights worrying about terrorist attacks, the Left lived in perpetual fear of any incursions into its sacrosanct domain of social policy. The Left might care nothing if a Middle Eastern dictator prepared radiological bombs to bomb an American city, but let someone propose banning abortions in the third trimester and all hell would break loose. Saddam might invade Kuwait with no consequences, but woe betide anyone who proposed creating a formalized tribunal to mediate family disputes based on Islamic custom. This curious asymmetry of interests subconsciously manifested itself in the recriminations over Hurricane Katrina. To the Left, using the US Armed Forces to fight terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan is improper use of resources better reserved for disaster relief. That's what aircraft carriers are for. Judyth Hill, writing in the aftermath of 9/11 seriously suggested that Americans respond to that attack by enfolding themselves in comforting domesticity.
Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
If Liberals could somehow be persuaded that Osama Bin Laden threatens their cherished social policy -- the ability to "make soup" -- then America might go to war against Islamic terrorism in peace.