September 27, 2005

Is Islam Influencing Your Life?

Daniel Pipes has an interesting opinion piece in which he discusses some of the things that have happened throughout the world as a result of the influence of Muslims. The article focuses on the recent decision in Canada to outlaw faith based arbitration which is a topic that was covered by Q last week in this post.

This was also touched upon by Miriam in two separate posts here and here.

I find this all troubling for a variety of reasons. Just for the heck of it let's start with Pipes and take a look at what he said. The piece begins by outlining what Canada's 1991 Arbitration act offered.
"Called the Arbitration Act, it stipulates that if two parties agree to engage a commercial, religious, or other arbitrator to settle a civil dispute, the provincial authorities will then enforce the verdict, so long as it is in accord with Canadian law.

"People can use any arbitrator they want and can use a religious framework if it is mutually acceptable," notes Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. "If the award is not compatible with Canadian law, then the court will not enforce it. You can't agree to violate Canadian law."

Over the years, Jews, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mennonites, and aboriginals, among others, made use of arbitration to settle family law questions without using Ontario's court system. The system quietly worked. "If there have been any problems flowing from any rabbinical court decisions, I'm not aware of them," observed the Ontario region chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Joel Richler."

It appears that the program worked well and that there were no notable hangups until 2003 at which time a Muslim group proposed establishing a Muslim board that would use Sharia to make decisions.

According to Pipes this was met by opposition by Muslim women who feared that the use of Sharia to oppress Muslim women. In time the opposition was victorious and it was announced that the Canadian government was going to repeal the Arbitration act entirely so that there would not be any question of favoritism whatsoever.

Pipes maintains that this is one of a series of events created by the influence of Muslims.

"That Orthodox Jews and others might lose out points to an emerging pattern, whereby efforts to integrate Muslims into the West upset a benign status quo. Other recent examples:

  • French nuns for the first time must take off their cowls for identity card or passport pictures because of anti-hijab legislation. Likewise, French schoolchildren may not wear crosses or Stars of David to class.
  • Large populations – British underground riders, American airport passengers, Russian theater-goers – must undergo extensive security checks, thanks to Muslim terrorists.
  • Danes marrying foreigners face extensive restrictions to bring them into Denmark because of immigration abuses (the "human visa" problem) involving Muslims.
  • Santas, Nativity plays, Christmas carols, and Bibles are banned in Western countries so as not to offend Muslim sensitivities.

Unremarked upon by most Westerners, Islam's presence has started to change their way of life."

I am troubled by this for a variety of reasons. As a Jew I am part of a group that has been singled out and discriminated against. There is a history of oppression and it would be insensitive and uncaring of me not to be aware of this in relation to others.

However, it would be a kneejerk reaction to say that it is wrong to single out others strictly because they could be harmed by that. In my estimation it is important to consider all sides and then to make a decision that is based upon current and historical events and what you think may happen.

I'd like to return to the title of this post Is Islam influencing Your Life and answer that it is radical Islam that is influencing my life and that I am cautiously optimistic that we will see the emergence of the moderates as a much stronger influence on Muslims because right now we are engaged in an ideological battle with the fundamentalists and without help from the center we are not going to see real change.

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3 comments:

Anne said...

The Inland Empire has a small but very open moslem community. Since I never know when I might run into one, I have to wear my Star of David all the time now. Outside my shirt. As flagrantly as possible.

Screw 'em and their sensibilities. Mine are offended when they fly planes into skyscrapers.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Good title for the post. It's true, radical Islam has changed life for all of us in some respects.

One small correction on the content of your story. The laws concerned are under provincial jurisidiction, so it was the Government of Ontario (not Canada) that decided to revoke its 1991 Arbitration Act.

I'm not sure what they do in other provinces, except that Quebec has turned a big thumbs-down on faith-based arbitration too.
Q

Jack's Shack said...

IE,

:)

Q,

Thanks for the correction, that is important.