Canada: Ontario rejects sharia law

Ontario rejects sharia law

12 Sept 2005

TORONTO - All forms of religious arbitration – including Islam’s sharia law, which was the subject of worldwide protest last week – will be outlawed in Ontario, the Premier said yesterday…

The government will introduce legislation this fall that prohibits existing religious tribunals, used by Christians and Jews to settle family law matters on a voluntary basis since 1991…

‘‘Ontarians will always have the right to seek advice from anyone in matters of family law, including religious advice,’’ he said. ‘‘But no longer will religious arbitration be deciding matters of family law.’’

I’m slightly confused, perhaps it’s because I don’t really understand the difference between Canadian law and religious law, though I can tell the two apart. What kind of cases would have gone to a religious arbitration?

Also, what does this mean for Canon Law, if anything?

[quote=Aureole]I’m slightly confused, perhaps it’s because I don’t really understand the difference between Canadian law and religious law, though I can tell the two apart. What kind of cases would have gone to a religious arbitration?

Also, what does this mean for Canon Law, if anything?
[/quote]

Canon Law applies within the jurisdiction of the Church. Common Law applies within the jurisdiction of states following the English Common Law tradition.

Family Law made attempts to not be adversarial, especially in Canada. And so alimony is not a concept specific to Canadian Family Law. Many family lawyers are also social workers. The court expects them to have tried to work out an amicable agreement between the parties before going to court. Often these agreements took the form of agreements in conformity to the faith of the parties.

Faith counsellors would often counsel an abused woman to return to her abusive husband or in the case of an abused husband to return to his abusive wife. This, of course, violates parts of the Criminal Code and parts of the Child and Family Services Act. This conflict was not being resolved in any timely, reasonable fashion. So McGuinty pulled the plug.

Okay, thanks Ani Ibi. That was rather enlightening.

Great news

Can you elaborate some on which specific applications of canon law will be disregarded or preempted by provincial law following this decision?

[quote=Digitonomy]Can you elaborate some on which specific applications of canon law will be disregarded or preempted by provincial law following this decision?
[/quote]

Actually I am not sure. But I do remember a greek woman I once knew was being counselled by her Greek orthodox community to return to her husband who threw a coffee table at her. Similarly an Islamic woman I knew was being counselled by her Islamic community to return to her husband who had abused her. The children in both cases were at risk.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.