Heather Mallick blames U.S. Republicans and the Canadian Right for the tendency to atomize and privatize Canadian law; I rather think the blame lies with the multiculturalist ethos. But she makes some excellent points about how the idea of Sharia “mediation” threatens women. From the Globe and Mail, with thanks to Mentat:
The news that Ontario will permit civil disputes such as divorce to be mediated under sharia or Islamic law is about the best idea since female foot-binding. It’s not just, but it is restful. A woman with tiny claw-like feet isn’t getting off the couch to hire a lawyer. And it’s cheap: No court hearings, no going halfsies on the family home, no squabbles over custody, no fighting over wills.
For sharia law is already written. By a deity. And if you’re a Muslim woman who makes the choice of going to Canadian courts rather than signing away her rights under sharia, you’re offending one of the bigger gods, as I understand Islam.
This is interesting, not just because it’s vile, but because it’s part of a worldwide move toward privatizing everything, including the legal system. Ooooh, now we can go law-shopping. …
The National Post likes sharia “mediation,” even mocking The Globe and Mail for thinking it a front-page story. If the Post likes something that makes Muslims look different and bad, and it harms women, trust me, it’s positively cyanotic. Save time, Muslim women, and bite the capsule now.
Journalist Paula Todd, on TVOntario, was on to the story early. She mapped it out for Ontarians, and I will trace her map for you so this sub-legal disease doesn’t spread cross-country.
She interviewed Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, who pointed out that sharia law isn’t monolithic, but is applied differently throughout the Islamic world (which is where stoning women to death comes in).
But it has one common thread: patriarchy. In a will, a wife might get a quarter of the estate at the most. She cannot divorce her husband, but he can divorce her. She would get three months to a year of alimony, maximum. Note “alimony,” as opposed to child support, because she won’t get the kids if the husband wants them.
Opposite her sat Ali Hindy, a local imam. No, not David Bowie’s wife, but a Muslim god’s deputy, in this case a grey-bearded man exuding utter certainty and self-satisfaction. Ms. Hogben looked distressed to be defying both man and god. I applaud her bravery in daring to disagree.
“The man with a hammer interprets every problem as a nail,” American scholar Stephen Holmes writes in the current London Review of Books. And in this case, Canadian law is what moderates the hammer.
The imam said that if the woman were unhappy, she could go to the Canadian courts. “You can take more.” Pause. “You are disobeying god.”
So a timid woman in a new country, who has never disobeyed a man or her god in her life, is going to find the money (where?) to defy her entire culture and ask for a divorce, half the assets, shared child custody and support, and a place to live while she takes out student loans to get a degree and, years later, a job. Add a burqa to the equation, leaving her unemployable, and she’s done and dusted.
If you believe sharia mediation is plausible, then John Ashcroft’s secretly an opera singer with three breasts. He’s sleeping with Andrea Bocelli, and their love child, Rocco Ray Ashcroft, is being raised by Noam Chomsky in a rooming house in Bruges.
Have I now made it clear that allowing vulnerable women to be bullied into destitution and despair in a Liberal province is an absurd and fantastical idea that will end in tears? And blood, doubtless female?
Timing shouldn’t matter when it comes to principle, but it does here. Speaking as a paranoid “my coffee smells of bitter almonds” type who just made an off-the-record-or-else speech at a Vancouver journalism conference and was later told that a man from the Seattle branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was sitting in the front row, I can only say this: Canada, where I was born to immigrants, is as friendly a country to foreigners as can be found. But multiculturalism to the extent of cutting new Canadians off from the legal mainstream is like hacking off your own leg.
It doesn’t grow back.