Da'wa too is jihad. Tactically, kitman and taqiyyah are Quranically sanctioned; so the following outrageous nonsense from the National Post and a Canadian news service on shari'a in Canada might cause some chuckles and some teeth gnashing too.
For those who forgot, dhimmitude full-blown is the best we can hope for later, so at the end of this installment we've tacked on the "Pact of Omar" to refresh your memories. The two pieces below are edited for length.
The unanimous resolution opposing"the establishment of so-called Islamic tribunals in Quebec and Canada," adopted recently by the Quebec National Assembly, has placed the spotlight on the Liberal government in Ontario and its pending decision relating to the use of Sharia (Islamic law) under the province's Arbitration Act.
The issue surfaced in 2003 when an organization calling itself the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (IICJ) was established in Toronto to provide arbitration services to Ontario's Muslims. The founder of the institute is Syed Mumtaz Ali, a Muslim lawyer originally from India, who argued that since Ontario's Arbitration Act permits religious groups to settle family matters by applying their respective faith traditions -- e.g., Orthodox Jewish groups -- the same right should be extended to Muslim communities.
The IICJ then went public with its proposal that Muslims should arbitrate family disputes in its forum -- and be bound by its decisions without recourse to Canadian courts.
In June 2004, the Ontario government requested former NDP provincial attorney-general Marion Boyd to review the Arbitration Act and make recommendations respecting the use of Sharia in Ontario. Boyd sought the middle ground. In her December, 2004, report to Premier Dalton McGuinty, she sought the middle ground by supporting the inclusion of religious law in arbitration regarding "family law matters" -- provided that certain, vaguely defined safeguards were put in place through legislation.
During Boyd's consultations, the most well-considered opposition to the IICJ proposal came from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW). The group's basis for opposing Sharia is reflected in its response to the recent Quebec decision: "Quebec has clearly understood that different laws for different citizens leads to discrimination and has nothing to do with multiculturalism or Charter rights."
The CCMW's concerns are well-founded. Mumtaz Ali has explained Muslims in Canada are obliged to follow both Sharia and Canadian laws. But the two are based on different premises, and cannot be reconciled.
Canadian laws originate with a democratically elected legislature, and are subject to revision. Sharia, by contrast, is based on the premise that Islamic laws are inspired by the Koran, Islam's sacred text. Since their origin is divine, they cannot be revised or amended by humans. Though there are different schools of Muslim jurisprudence, traditional Muslim scholars commonly insist on the sacredness of Sharia, and the idea that sovereignty in all matters belongs exclusively to God. [Allah.]
Sharia evolved between the eighth and 10th centuries [A.D.]....
By the end of the 10th century, however, there emerged a consensus among leading Sunni Muslim jurists that innovative legal prescriptions should be avoided; and that, henceforth, the task of religious scholarship would be to imitate the early jurists who'd founded the major schools of Muslim jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali -- the Shia branch of Islam has its own school of thought, known as Jafari). As a result, Sharia became, and remains, a closed legal system locked in an ancient era. Modern post-colonial efforts to reform Sharia have mostly failed. Instead, militant Muslims have demanded full implementation of Sharia rulings .
In recent times, the world has witnessed such implementation in various Arab and Muslim societies -- for instance, in Afghanistan under the Taliban, in Saudi Arabia under that country's tribal monarchy, in Pakistan under various military dictators, in Iran, and even in parts of northern Nigeria. The more egregious aspects of Sharia rulings -- such as stoning of women charged with adultery, amputating limbs for stealing, public lashings for taking intoxicants and bearing false witness, ritual decapitation for capital offence, the death sentence for apostasy -- have particularly captured the attention of the Western media.
But even putting aside such brutal punishments, Sharia's prescriptions for family matters show how incompatible it is with the values of our era. The inherent problem here is the sanctification of gender inequality . Sharia prescriptions rest on the Koranic verse, "Men are in charge of women" (4:34). Consequently, any IICJ ruling in an arbitration panel on marriage, divorce, child custody, guardianship, income and property settlement, if it is to be consistent with Sharia requirements, would -- by definition -- be in violation of the equality rights protected by the Charter.
Divorce, for instance, may occur by a simple act of repudiation by a man of his wife, or on charges of infidelity, or on the inability of a woman to bear a male child. The only obligation a man has is to observe a waiting period of three menstrual cycles to confirm if the woman is pregnant, and the payment of the amount of money for which the marriage was contracted.
Unlike in the West, under Sharia custodial rights presumptively belong to fathers. On matters of inheritance, a female child has only half the rights of a male child, and a widow's right is restricted to a prescribed fraction (it may vary according to different schools of Muslim jurisprudence) of her husband's assets. On these matters Sharia's prescriptions would contradict not only the gender equality mandated by the Charter, but also the Ontario Family Act, and numerous other statutes.
Of course, the IICJ knows all this perfectly well. And so what is behind its initiative? The answer, as even a cursory reading of the IICJ's Web site shows (muslim-canada.org), is that the group seeks to incrementally win recognition for the idea that Muslims should be permitted to live by their own laws, separate from every other Canadian. The IICJ thereby seeks to set a precedent for other nations with a Muslim minority. Boyd's endorsement of Sharia law, therefore, unintentionally provides a trojan Horse for the global project of Muslim fundamentalists.
The argument that Sharia and Canada's secular laws may coexist harmoniously is either a vain wish, or a cynical ploy. But it is not fooling the people who count. As Madame Fatima Houda-Pepin, a Moroccan-Canadian member of Quebec's National Assembly, reminded me in a recent interview, modern Muslim women in Canada, though unapologetic when it comes to their faith and confident of their status in society, generally recognize that their rights and freedoms are best protected under the Charter. It remains a puzzle to them, as it does to others, why any government would entertain the proposal of encouraging the use of Sharia in this country.
© National Post 2005
"Terror in Europe, Sharia in Canada spark Multiculturalism row"
By Bruce Cheadle
OTTAWA (CP) - It seems a long way from the London terrorist bombings to a public policy debate in Canada over family arbitration reforms.
But each has sparked a heated debate on both sides of the Atlantic over the merits of multiculturalism as state policy and the role of what some call "political Islam" in secular societies.
In Europe, there is deep introspection over the terrifying reality of "homegrown" terrorists attacking open societies from within.
In Canada, from Quebec to Alberta, there has been spirited public sparring over proposals to permit Muslim Sharia religious arbitration in civil disputes.
Alienation and integration are the themes that bond these two seemingly disparate debates.
Marion Boyd, a former Ontario attorney general, has recommended changing the province's 14-year-old arbitration act to continue permitting religious arbitration, but with new oversight mechanisms and safeguards.
Religious family arbitration, she argues, "is one of the ways to keep the alienation and the disaffection of people under some control."
Yet at the same time, Boyd says Canada must do far more to educate newcomers about the legal reality of the state.
"That's been a criticism for a long time from groups that are working to settle immigrants and refugees," she said in an interview.
"There just is far too little legal education. People don't understand what their rights and obligations are."
Compare that to a recent speech by Trevor Phillips, the head of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality.
Five days after the July 7 bombings in London, Phillips launched a new race relations guide while excoriating "the divisive and stultifying effects of old-style, corporate multiculturalism."
"Aren't we compelled to ask whether a policy which puts recognition of difference before equality merely ensures that - while we salve our consciences by paying lip service to diversity - we deny some people the same life chances as most of us?" asked Phillips.
He warned that British communities are "in danger of sleepwalking into a kind of passive co-existence in which a friendly distance today will become an armed stand-off tomorrow."
This apocalyptic language comes from the black, Labour-appointed head of a government agency.
Couldn't happen in Canada?
Boyd's report on Ontario arbitration of December 2004 sparked language almost as strong.
Alia Hogben, president of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, has called Sharia family arbitration "an abuse of multiculturalism."
Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress recently called it "multiculturalism run amok."
Homa Arjomand, an Iranian immigrant who's spearheading an international movement to stop the Ontario reforms, said Sharia family law exposes multiculturalism's flaw: "ghettoism. I'm talking about isolating minorities from mainstream society.
"That leaves them vulnerable to any kind of advertising or provoking or promoting," she said in an interview. "This is what I'm so worried about."
Indeed, all sides of the debate - whether in Europe or North America - have powerful reactions to the threat of domestic terrorism in the name of imported ideologies.
Wahida Valiante of the Canadian Islamic Congress, which endorses Boyd's reforms, says the repeated references to "homegrown terrorists" among Muslim communities incites hatred.
"'Homegrown! homegrown!' I mean, this is scary stuff," said Valiante.
"I don't know where the homegrowns are. I move around the community. What frightens us is if this rhetoric doesn't die down and the government takes no notice, we Muslims are in for a rough ride."
But, she added, "Canadians are definitely not going to buy into it wholesale. They're much more well informed. They're much more tolerant."
As B'nai Brith argued to Boyd, the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides for faith-based groups to run arbitration courts for family law matters.
"If we are truly to be an open and pluralistic society in Canada, then the different religious practices making up Canada's mosaic must be accommodated."
But as more than a few critics have noted, Islam does not accept the separation of religious and state power, and that brings a whole new set of issues.
The leading public advocate of Sharia family courts in Ontario, Syed Mumtaz Ali, has consistently argued that the Charter freedom to practice one's religion "connote(s) a completely different meaning when used in the context of Islam/Muslim religion."
Mumtaz Ali, who did not respond to interview requests for this story, makes the explicit case on the website of the Canadian Society of Muslims.
"There is no separation of state and church, the temporal and the spiritual, unlike the Christian system of secularism. For a Muslim, 'practice' of his/her religion ... is a full-time, 24-hour occupation."
Critics cite such beliefs as fundamentally at odds with assurances that Sharia-based family arbitration will always fall under the mantle of Ontario law and the Charter.
As the Law Commission of Canada noted in a summation of briefs received by Boyd last fall, Mumtaz Ali and his Islamic Institute of Civil Justice have a flawed perception of Charter rights.
"What is unique about Mumtaz Ali's characterization of this issue that is disturbing to many Canadians both Muslim and non-Muslim, is his vision that this process of family arbitration is but one step toward a separate system of justice for Muslims where they would be permitted to govern their own affairs in the realm of civil law.
"Religious freedom and multiculturalism do not imply a right to sovereignty . . . ."
Yet this view of "political Islam" holds a powerful appeal, especially for large Muslim communities isolated and feeling under siege within non-Islamic states.
This has become acute in some European cities, such as Amsterdam, where Muslim immigrants make up as much as 25 per cent of the population.
Paul Scheffer, an urban sociologist at the University of Amsterdam, believes Canada is 10 years behind the Netherlands in its discourse on multiculturalism's practical flaws.
The Islamist-fuelled slaughter of film maker Theo van Gogh - and the current trial in which the accused killer is refusing to acknowledge the Dutch court's jurisdiction - is simply highlighting a problem that's been discussed for several years, he said.
"People have never been told that their rights go together with obligations," Scheffer said from his Amsterdam home. "We have simply been looking the other way in the name of tolerance."
Islam, with its fundamental blurring of church and state, is particularly problematic in this regard, argues Scheffer.
"People have to re-invent what it means to be a minority in a secular environment. That's a very difficult and painful process of adaptation."
Scheffer says Canada has done a better job than Europe of integrating immigrants into the economy - he credits Canada's merit-based points system - but argues this country will be "the exception" if it avoids Muslim integration issues down the road.
Valiante, a national vice-president with Canadian Islamic Congress, counters that Canada has nothing to learn about multiculturalism from Europe, where she says too many intellectuals suffer from amnesia.
She held up the example of Spain in the middle ages under the Moors.
"It was one of the most golden ages in Europe, not only knowledge-wise but for how socially integrated the society was with the Jews and the Muslims and Christians living side by side. That is a historical fact."
But it is also a 600-year-old example.
[And an example anyone who knows the history would choose, if Muslim, to avoid bringing up at all. For further information regarding this idiot piece of taqiyya above by Valiante, search Bat Yeor and Robert Spencer on dhimmitude in Spain, read their books, and follow the daily exgesis at http://jihadwatch.org, among other sites of great worth.]
More fundamentally, it simply highlights that the enlightened Moors of the time allowed Christians and Jews to run their own separate legal systems (albeit while paying a special tax to the governing Muslims for the privilege). [This really shouldn't go unchallenged, but we rely on the knowledge of our readers to carry them over this bit of trash.]
In Scheffer's modern example: "Multiculturalism should lead, when you take it seriously, to legal pluralism."
That's precisely the kind of compartmentalized society that Canadians and Europeans both hope to avoid.
As Phillips told his British audience earlier this month, social cohesion is based on three elements: Equality; interaction; and participation.
"This is what we mean when we speak of integration," said, "not some mealy-mouthed process where new migrants are told to leave their identities behind."
The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule
After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslims leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to develop the notion of the "dhimma", or "protected person". The Dhimmi were required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a "pact" which formed the patter of later interaction.
We heard from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:
In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:
We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks' cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.
We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.
We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.
We shall not teach the Qur'an to our children.
We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.
We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.
We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.
We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.
We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.
We shall not sell fermented drinks.
We shall clip the fronts of our heads.
We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists
We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.
We shall not take slaves who have beenallotted to Muslims.
We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.
(When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, "We shall not strike a Muslim.")
We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.
If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.
Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: "They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims," and "Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact."
from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.
[This was a from hand out at an Islamic History Class at the University of Edinburgh in 1979. Source of translation not given.]