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Ontario Says No to Islamic Tribunals


The government of Ontario said in September it would not permit the use of private Islamic tribunals to settle family disputes between Muslims. Premier Dalton McGuinty told Canadian Press that he would nix the use of all religious law in family arbitration.

”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 told the national news agency.

In May, the neighboring province of Quebec also rejected the use of Shariah tribunals. McGuinty said religious arbitrations “threaten our common ground” and promised his Liberal government would introduce legislation to ban them in the province “as soon as possible.”

Ontario’s 1991 Arbitration Act, designed to take pressure off courts, permitted religious groups to operate faith-based legal tribunals provided both parties consent. Women’s groups and progressive Muslims feared the panels would discriminate against women, especially immigrants and members of closed communities, in matters such as divorce, child custody, and inheritance. (RNS)

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