…and Jewish rabbinical authority as well…and British Jews aren’t faring much better
Some months ago, we discussed Ontario’s consideration of giving equal weight under the law with respect to civil matters to Islamic shariah law. After some deliberation and considerable discussion and protesting in Ontario, it appears that Ontario’s current government has rejected the proposal.
However, it appears that in coming to this decision, Ontario’s government has decided to also eliminate the jurisdiction other faiths, including Christian groups and Jewish groups, held over their own civil affairs.
In a telephone interview with the national news agency, McGuinty announced his government would move quickly to outlaw existing religious tribunals used for years by Christians and Jews under Ontario’s Arbitration Act.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the debate has gone on long enough,” he said.
“There will be no Shariah law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians.”
McGuinty said religious arbitrations “threaten our common ground,” and promised his Liberal government would introduce legislation “as soon as possible” to outlaw them in Ontario.
“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.”
The Jewish community seems to have been blindsided by this decision.
“We’re stunned,” said Joel Richler, Ontario region chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“At the very least, we would have thought the government would have consulted with us before taking away what we’ve had for so many years.”
Richler said the current system – in place since 1992 – has worked well and saw no reason for it to be changed for either his or other communities.
“If there have been any problems flowing from any rabbinical court decisions, I’m not aware of them,” he said.
In other news, advisers to British PM Tony Blair are recommending that future Muslim terror attacks like the one in London, might be prevented if he accepts their recommendation to eliminate a Holocaust memorial day and replace it, as per the suggestion of some leading British Muslims, with a Genocide Day that will include – of course – mention of a genocide against the Palestinians.
A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that â€œwestern lives have more value than non-western livesâ€. That perception needed to be changed. â€œOne way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day.
â€œThe very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.â€
The recommendation, drawn up by four committees including those dealing with imams and mosques, and Islamaphobia and policing, has the backing of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
He said: â€œThe message of the Holocaust was â€˜never again’, and for that message to have practical effect on the world community it has to be inclusive. We can never have double standards in terms of human life. Muslims feel hurt and excluded that their lives are not equally valuable to those lives lost in the Holocaust time.â€
Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, said: â€œThere are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That’s pretty genocidal to me.â€
Hmmm, I don’t know that there’s anything that will change the pace of change in countries where the Muslim community has achieved prominence, but perhaps the Jewish community should stop feeling blindsided. In Ontario, the community actually supported the idea that Sharia should be adopted for fear that our own rabbinical tribunals and leaders would lose their authority. In England, the Jewish community is opposed to the change in this commemorative day. In both cases they have little influence and even if they manage a short term gain, will ultimately find themselves on the losing side.