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mercredi 1er novembre 2006
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
Right now, both in Canada and Europe, some leftwing activists and feminists claim that refusing to wear the veil and denying Muslims Islamic tribunals is an ethnocentric gesture that is bound to encourage the aggravated racism of the Bush administration towards Muslims since 9/11. Some even say that patriarchy and misogyny are found in all religions and to make people believe that Muslims are the only ones who discriminate women is an act of racism against Islam. They ask, why if Jews and Catholics have arbitration tribunals, the Muslims are denied the same ?
Such an argument comes down to a refusal to see that the groups who are denouncing the establishment of Islamic tribunals are opposed to all religious arbitration tribunals dealing with family rights, be it Muslim, Jewish or Catholic, and to oppression of women in whomever’s God name.
While the Canadian left has supported Afghan women against the Taliban’s fundamentalism and protested against the stoning of Iranian women by the Islamic Republic of Iran, it keeps a blind eye to Muslim women in Canada who express their fear of the potential establishment of tribunals based on the Charia law (Qur’an’s law) when it comes to judging cases which come under family law.
For fear of being called racist, some members of the left hide behind a blind support to the ethnical minorities representatives, provided they are against imperialism, their abstract altermondialism being more important than the very evident loss of rights that threatens Muslim women. Aware of the many ways in which the immigrants are being discriminated in Canada or elsewhere, the progressive forces have given up any criticism when it comes to them, for fear of being accused of islamophobia or racism. The promoters of the Islamic courts take advantage of this for carrying their cause in the name of leftist values, such as equality, anti-racism and freedom of thought.
Left wing intellectuals do not have to become the "Pontius Pilates of the mind" as the Iranian writer Chahdortt Djavann puts it and, in the name of cultural differences, they do not have to abandon women to the religious law of their community. Moreover, asks the same writer, since these are old culture traditions, why not make stoning and excision or wed locks between minors and old men admissible ? It is about time we refused in a straight forward manner "that culture is an alibi to religion and religion to sexist discrimination". (1) I have asked spokesmen for Muslim groups in Canada for their opinion on the subject.
Parallel tribunals would be harmful to women
In the opinion of the president for the Iranian Women’s Association of Montreal (AFIM), Elaheh Chokrai, everybody has a right to practice his/her religion as he/she wishes, but in no way can religion be mixed up with politics. We have to keep on fighting for churches, synagogues and mosques to stay clear of law and politics. We do not need parallel tribunals. If improvements can be done, if there is a flaw in the Chart of Rights, we won’t solve it by referring to these 1400 year old laws." According to Elaheh Chokrai, "Parallel tribunals would be harmful especially to those who have less means, to women who after-all must stay home to take care of their children and find it more difficult to find jobs in our world."
"The Charest Government", she exclaims, "considers that people will candidly accept that it is fully financing the Jewish schools in order to better integrate the Jewish community. If the Jews have not succeeded integrating in the last 300 years, will paying them 10 million dollars a year help them integrate ? Far from it, it will isolate them. There are Greek schools, Jewish schools and Muslim schools that must remain private while public schools and tribunals must be secular. How can one imagine that in refusing the establishment of Islamic tribunals one will encourage islamophobia ? Did separating the Catholic Church from the State bring on fear christianophobia ? (2)
The non Muslim left is being duped
As for Tarek Fatah, the president of the [ex-] Canadian Muslim Congress (CMC), he thinks that it is more likely that the very establishment of Islamic tribunals brings on racism. He claims that "in August 2004, we have delivered a memoir to the Boyd Commission and told it that if it encourages the establishment of Islamic tribunals based on the Charia, it would only be helping the racist social stratas of society within the non Muslim Canadians who have no higher hope but to exclude Muslims from the whole society. We wrote in our memoir that Islamic tribunals isolate the Muslim community which originates from 5 different continents of 1.3 billions people, a large span of sects, languages, cultures and traditions, each of which is being consigned to a lesser class compartment as far as human and family rights are concerned which is a sector under the public jurisdiction.
"These discriminations and seclusions which are insidious to the point of being invisible cannot but serve the political and extremist agendas of some stratas of the Canadian Muslim promoters for Islamic law ; they contradict Canadian values and serve the reactionary, intolerant and racist stratas of the Canadian non Muslim society whose only wish is to marginalize Muslims All of which is being played behind the mask of religious tolerance and reasonable conciliation. (3)
Tarek Fatah, a neo-democrat like most members of the CMC, adds that "Many people who belong to the left are moving blind in a mine field." For him, this is all about a sense of laziness trying to be perceived as multicultural tolerance. It is racism that requires separate laws in one single State. The sooner we become aware of this slippery slope to isolating the Muslim community, says Tarek Fatah, the better it will be for the New Democratic Party (NPD) which keeps close ties at all levels with the Muslim rightwing.
While the NDP’s goal is fighting for the weak and the rights of minorities, the Muslim rightwing uses the concept to grab concessions from it, as previously seen in the Marion Boyd report. In fact, says Tarek Fatah, 49 out of the resolutions in the Boyd report come from the right wing religious group led by Syed Mumtaz Ali, the solicitor from Toronto who is at the root of the project for the establishment of Islamic tribunals all over Canada.
Mr Fatah "regrets that no Jewish group has criticized the Government for legally approving rabbinical courts. The Bnai Brith actually justifies the existence of religious arbitration courts and does not hesitate about joining the Islamic fundamentalists to defend their common interests." Mr Fatah adds that this is a way for these groups to perpetuate the patriarchal and religious order within family and community. He ascertains that, since 9/11, the right wing Muslims are very well organised and "are highly successful in manipulating the left as well as the NPD. But not everybody is duped ; only the non Muslim left is !"
Rising of political Islamism in the West
Homa Arjomand is in charge of the No Charia movement in Canada. She reckons that the establishment of Islamic courts in Canada has nothing to do with Islam as faith, but is a movement that is part of political Islam. This movement first started acting in Northern Africa and in the Middle East and it has now spread to the West. I, for my part, declares Arjomand, would like to stress the fact that this movement seeks to gain more influence with the Western political parties that are in power and, of course, with the Bush Administration. The 9/11 tragedy is actually part of the strategy to seek the political recognition of the whole world."
"The word Islamophobia was invented to dupe people" says Ms. Arjomand. She, like many others, thinks that "there is good reason to fear political Islamism. Not a day goes by without this movement disturbing the public by murdering men or women fighters for their freedom of thought. In countries where this movement is established, it has become a normal thing to cut hands, hang, stone to death, whip in public, enforce the burqa on women, abuse children morally and sexually. In countries like Canada where this movement has not yet reached enough power, fundamentalists try to establish courts based on the Charia. Speaking of Islamophobia is meant to help prevent citizens, men and women, to resist such a movement.
In Ms. Arjomand’s view, it is clear that it is an act of racism to create two separate legal and ruling systems for Canadian men and women. It is necessary to fight discrimination against the most vulnerable areas of our society, women and children. We must refuse the division of our society into a majority and minorities. We must insist on one law for all, independent of gender, race, ethnic group, etc. (4)
Pure multiculturalism is dangerous
Alia Hogben, director general of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women (CCFM), was very disappointed to find out that the establishment of Islamic Courts in Canada had been endorsed by a feminist who belonged to a leftwing party (the NDP) which had previously issued the Arbitration Act in Ontario, in 1991. While celebrating the 15th anniversary of Canadian multiculturalism on February 6, 2004, Ms. Hogben declared : "If not based on values and laws that are shared by all Canadian men and women, pure multiculturalism is dangerous and can bring the division of the various ethnic groups. We are also aware that extreme forms of cultural relativism undermine the common Canadian identity. We support none of the groups that not just insist on the safeguard of their original cultural identity but seem to promote changes that could damage the common values. Unfortunately, some people believe that multiculturalism gives them the right to shift the balance between the celebration of diversity and the reinforcement of the Canadian common identity".
"The recent motion to establish courts based on the Charia in Canada takes its support on the discourse for the defence of religious rights and individual rights. The answer that is given to this by the Canadian Council for Muslim Women is that Muslim women are better served by Canadian law and that they should be treated, as equal under this law, without distinction. It is not up to Muslims, as Canadian citizens, to practice the Charia and we are worried of the consequences for Muslim women. Here is an example of diversity that has gone wrong, letting division take over cohesion." (5)
CCMW recognizes that "other religious groups use arbitration courts to settle their litigations but, according to its perception, the use made by rabbinical courts of religious laws mainly concern commercial litigations. The Arbitration Act is not used for Jewish divorce cases or "Get". The same applies for Catholic or Anglican confessions. As for the Ismaelian Muslims, they have established their own arbitration commission, subjecting it to Canadian laws." (6)
Ms. Boyd has heard the promoters of religious arbitration courts claim that they appeal to freedom of religion. The CCMW believes that "according to the Canadian chart of rights and freedoms, the right of the individual - in this case the rights of women - must be considered first and primordial, because it protects fundamental individual rights. These rights include an equal treatment in the eyes of the law." The CCMW has also informed Ms. Boyd that "the main opposition to the use of religious courts in cases of family rights is due to the inherent inequality between men and women in most religious contexts, and to the inequality of power that results from it when litigations arise between them." (7)
All these testimonies demonstrate that, as Tarek Fatah used to say : "The perception of a form of racism in the opposition to Islamic courts often arises from leftwing non-Muslim spheres." In the name of Canadian multiculturalism, the leftwing party chooses to put the right to freedom of religion, referred to by the Muslim right-wingers for justifying the establishment of Islamic courts, before the protection of rights that are specific to women which are threatened by such courts.
March 8, 2005
Translated for Sisyphe by Sylvie Miller
On Sisyphe, November 17, 2006