Canadians Protest Islam-Based Shariah Courts

Protestors gathered outside the Ontario legislature in September to oppose\n a proposal that would allow for the formation of Islamic shariah courts.

A group called the International Campaign Against Shariah Courts in Canada\n (ICASC) has worked to spur opposition to the proposal, saying it would lead\n to courts, based on certain readings of Muslim scripture, that would be used\n to oppress women.

Currently Ontario’s Arbitration Act provides for voluntary faith-based\n arbitration, which allows Muslims, Jews and members of other faiths to use\n the guiding principles of their religion in settling private disputes such\n as divorce, custody issues and inheritances outside the court system.

Groups, such as the ICASC, maintain that women will be coerced and pressured\n into settling disputes in the male-dominated religious courts.

“I know firsthand about shariah,” Homa Arjoman, spokesperson\n for the ICASC, told the Religion News Service. “These women (would) live\n under the hand of mullahs and sheiks.”

Arjomand, who the RNS described as fleeing her Iranian homeland on horseback,\n now counsels abused women and children in Toronto’s Muslim community.\n She told the news service that many of her clients had been victims of shariah.

“I have helped some to escape abusive relationships, polygamy and child\n marriages.”